SERVICE NUMBER

alun

Newbie
HI. I HAVE RECENTLY FOUND MY UNCLES' (EX ROYAL MARINE) DOG TAGS. HIS SERVICE NUMBER STARTS WITH 'PO' FOLLOWED BY NUMBERS AND A LETTER. CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT 'PO' STANDS FOR. I'VE ASKED AROUND AND A FRIEND WHO JOINED THE MARINES LAST YEAR TOLD ME THAT THE NEW ISSUE SERVICE NUMBERS DON'T START WITH A 'PO'?? CAN ANYONE ASSIST. CHEERS.
AL.
 

spider_monkey

Lantern Swinger
In early September 1914, for the first time in 250 years of RM history, short service recruitment began. The RMLI Divisions Plymouth (Ply), Portsmouth (Po) & Chatham (Ch), all opened enlistment for three years/duration of war (also the RMA) – THIS IS WHERE THE 'PO' COMES FROM -Portsmouth Division.

For your additional information Long-service enlistment continued, but with a wider acceptance of candidates than pre-war preferences would have allowed; that is to say, almost anybody would now be accepted, due to the urgency of the required numbers & competition between the services for volunteers. Before the war, only men of proven good character were enlisted. A man/youth wishing to enlist for long-service would have to wait while letters & enquiries were sent from the RM Recruiting Officer to the local Police & former employers to affirm his good character. Only on receipt of these references could his enlistment proceed. This practice continued until November 1914 but would then appear to have ceased. Recruits were so badly needed that any size or shape could now join the Corps. This new policy was really put into action with the transfer of 600 men of "Kitchener's Army" to RMLI short-service. Training for the short-service RMLI differed greatly from their long service counterparts.

Short-servicemen were trained for just over six weeks in infantry skills only, before joining their respective battalions in the RM Bde. They received no examination certificates for their attainment of the required standards in Musketry or any other drills. Their training was undertaken at the Division's home barracks, unlike long-servicemen, who were sent to the Recruit Depot at Deal on enlistment, where they were trained & tested in Naval Gunnery, Musketry, School Certificates (3rd, 2nd or 1st Class) & swimming. The results of all these examinations were entered on their service sheets & certificates issued for some. Long-service training took nearly six months to complete, before they were dispatched to their Parent Division's barracks to await their postings.

Before the war, long-servicemen were trained at Deal for a whole year, so their six months of training was actually a shortened course, to facilitate their early disposal for active service. At the end of 1914 the Royal Marines had over 10000 men serving in the Fleet, with a further 4500 in the RM Bde. & many others serving in numerous foreign stations or home base commitments. Almost all the short-service RMLI were committed to the ranks of the RM Bde, making up about a quarter of their numbers, the rest being long-service RMLI.
 

alun

Newbie
THANKS FOR REPLY. MY UNCLE DIDN'T JOIN UNTIL THE LATE SIXTIES I BELIEVE. IF THAT WAS THE CASE SHOULD HE HAVE HAD 'PO'IN HIS SERVICE NUMBER.
AND REGARDS TO THE NEW ISSUE NUMBERS FOR MARINES, DO THEY STILL PREFIX WITH 'PO'. MY MATE WHO'S BEEN IN TWELVE MONTHS TOLD ME THE NEW SERVICE NUMBERS DIDN'T, I'M SURE....IF THIS IS THE CASE, WHEN DID THE SERVICE NUMBERS WITH 'PO' CEASE TO EXIST??
REGARDS

AL
 

spider_monkey

Lantern Swinger
Al,

I joined the Corps in the early 90's and my service number started with PO; that continued to be the case up till quite recently. The reason for the lack of PO in your mates number is the transition to JPA - under the new Joint Personnel Administration system new-joiners are given an 'assignment number'. Due to this tri-service policy the 'PO' number has been consigned to history :cry:
 

alun

Newbie
SPIDER MONKEY - CHEERS!!! JUST ONE OTHER THING, AT THE END OF HIS SERVICE NUMBER IS THE LETTER 'J'. I'M DOING THE RESEARCH ON MY DADS BEHALF....WHAT DOES THE LETTER J STAND FOR??
REGARDS

DAZ.
 
The J is random, I'm hoping to post you a fuller reply later. My Old fella joined before The PO numbers were introduced and I joined after so hopefully will be able to work out when they where introduced.
 

spider_monkey

Lantern Swinger
Al,

I think the last character in the service numbers was generated randomly as mine was D and that has nothing to do with my name. Any other questions...?
 

Hawkeye

Lantern Swinger
wet_blobby said:
The J is random, I'm hoping to post you a fuller reply later. My Old fella joined before The PO numbers were introduced and I joined after so hopefully will be able to work out when they where introduced.

The J is not random but is a check digit that is generated to verify the previous digits of the number used in checking the number is valid in a computer system
 
Hawkeye said:
wet_blobby said:
The J is random, I'm hoping to post you a fuller reply later. My Old fella joined before The PO numbers were introduced and I joined after so hopefully will be able to work out when they where introduced.

The J is not random but is a check digit that is generated to verify the previous digits of the number used in checking the number is valid in a computer system

since the PO numbers were issued with a letter at the end of them before the widespread use of computers how can this be?
 
If you take the numbers in your official number and put them into an equation (don't know it exactly), then it will come up with a number between 1 and 26. This corresponds to the letter at the end.

You don't need a computer, but it means Centurion could check to see if an official number was genuine.
 

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