SERVICE NUMBER

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by alun, Mar 14, 2007.

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  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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
     
  4. 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:
     
  5. 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.
     
  6. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    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.
     
  7. 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...?
     
  8. NO-BRILLIANT-THANKS VERY MUCH...

    AL
     
  9. 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
     
  10. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    since the PO numbers were issued with a letter at the end of them before the widespread use of computers how can this be?
     
  11. WB,

    Touche :wink:
     
  12. 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.
     
  13. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    The PO numbers were introduced in the mid to late fifties. before this time Marines were issued with divisional numbers, CX - Chathem, PLY - Plymouth and PO - Portsmouth.

    So when the Marines admin was centralised at Eastliegh in the fifties, as it fell under the Portsmouth area all bootnecks were therefore issued with the prefix PO.

    I dont know when the PO was dropped but it seems to me as there is now a new centralisation of Admin, a new number is issued. following a historical precedence really.
     
  14. There is some confusion over the divisional prefixes (Ply/x, Ch/x and Po/x) and the introduction of the computerised PO numbers that replaced the RM prefixes.

    The RM prefixes (introduced I think in the late '50s or early '60s replacing the divisional numbers) were replaced with PO numbers when the Corps pay and records were computerised in 1972/1973 and the drafting, pay and records office in Melville Camp, Eastney was transferred to HMS Centurion in Gosport.

    As stated above, the final letter (after the five numbers) was a check number simply to verify the correctness of a quoted regimental number.

    I think I'm right in saying that it was only with the implementation of the computerised PO numbers that officers in the Corps actually had an official number - no number, no pay!!

    Hope this helps
     
  15. I joined the RN in 1963. At Raleigh we were given our official numbers. There were no prefixes. We were then asked to choose a welfare authority, the choice at that time was Portsmouth or Devonport. If you chose Portsmouth the prefix P was added to your official number. If you chose Devonport then the letter D was added. I chose devonport but after Raleigh volunteered for the Fleet Air Arm my letter D was then removed and replaced by the letter L for Lee on Solent as this was the welfare authority for all Fleet air Arm ratings.
    To make it more confusing At Lossiemouth I met several older Killicks and their Prefix was LF two letters and my old mate Leading airman Pilots Mate Macneil (three badges + Long service medal) was LFX. They told me that the X was dropped after the Invergordon mutiny to distinguish those that joined after it, don't know if there was any truth in that though.
     
  16. Yes Slim---When joining in 1958 numbers began with LF--shortly afterwards it changed to LO. As well as LFX--there sa also LSFX
     
  17. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    I still cant see how the letter at the end of your PO number can be anything else but random, I know tallying up with a formula has been mentioned but, my mate who joined the same day as me, has the same letter of the alphabet starting his surname, and his Po number is One number higher than mine, yet the letter at the end of his number is completley different, not even the next letter of the alphabet. So I remain unconvienced unless someone can shed more light on the "formula" used.
     
  18. When both prefix and suffix letters on official numbers were introduced in the 70s there was a formulae used to generate them. My original official number was L075... no suffix. In the 70s this became D075...D so I lost my original prefix denoting Lee on Solent as my welfare authority and gained two letters one at the start and the other at the end.
    It was something to do with pay and a new computer at HMS Centurion.
     
  19. Say for example, you have (like me) 1 letter, 6 numbers, 1 letter in your number.

    The algorithm may be something like:

    1st number x 2nd number + 3rd number divide by some bizarre constant like 13.4 x 4th number - 5th number x another constant (say, 99.957) + 6th number

    When you put all the numbers in, then the number that pops out should be between 1 and 26. If it is 5, then the letter at the end will be E and so on. This way, they know that your number is real and not fake.

    It's not totally random, it just looks it since even if your Oppo's number is only different by 1, then your end letters will be completely different. Using checks like this is pretty common - used in a lot of things like bank accounts, ISBN numbers, Credit Card numbers . .

    Just to point out that the example I used is just for show - no idea what the original one is like, but probably a lot more complicated.
     
  20. These days (pre the new JPA numbers) service numbers are P0 (RM) and P9 (RMR), same with the RN - C0 (male officer), V0 (female officer), D* (male rating) - (they're on D26**) and W** (female rating). All RNR have 9 as the first number (same lettering). The letter at the end, as far as I'm aware is completely random!!
     

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