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service numbers????

hi all
1)when do you get your service number?
2)what format does it take? eg letter followed by so many digts
just wondering
thanx ship_rat :mrgreen:
Hi Ship_Rat,

You will be issued your Employee Number (used to be called Service Numbers until the introduction of JPA) on day 1 when you join the RN.

You will be issued an 8 digit number beginning with 3, so something like 34567890. Don't ask why it begins with a 3 - it just does.

Service numbers used to begin with a letter (C - Male Officers and Male/Female doctors, D - Male Rating, V - Female Officer, W - Female Rating, P - Royal Marines) followed by a check letter, eg D212121X. (Edit - BTW this isn't someone's actual number!)

However, now all new Armed Forces members get issued the new style of number.


War Hero
Ship rat, Handler is talking about historical numbers which have long since gone.

You get your number as soon as you join. In your case you will get one of the new style JPA numbers which start 3*******. This is a very new system, most people who joined the Navy (before October last year) have a number like
D******x (male ratings)
W******x (female ratings)
C******x for male officers
V******x for female officers
and P******x denotes a Royal Marine I believe.

Hope this helps.

You'll notice that under the new JPA numbering system it is impossible to tell whether someone is male, female, officer or rating, which may prove problematic.
so would this mean i could get my old service number back or would I be issued with a new employment number?
scrap that last
dunkers said:
Why do you need to remember 2 numbers?
old habits die hard! I have spent the last 7 years giving one service number, strange I remember my service number but never my moble number. it's something you never forget.


For Royal Marines the 'P' denoted Other Ranks; officers were given RM, or at least they did when I was in 7between 4-86. Until today I had not realised that Armed forces personel were now gievn "employee numbers".

Without sounding like 'Disgusted of Tonbridge Wells' when did all that happen? I had not realised that the homogenisation of culture, nay, all life in the UK, had yet extended to the armed forces. Like most other people on here I had kind of gotten used to being described as a customer, rather than a rail passenger, or a heart attack victim, or a rape victim, etc. but I would never have thought some prat would have given service men and women 'employee numbers'. Oh, I can why from the new pay system side of thinsg but as any fule know who reads Private Eye the JPA (is that right?) is one more in a long line of ferking IT disasters in this country. And before they figure out how to work it they **** with years of tradition, that's the kind of tradition that wins wars and copes with losses, mind.

I had just gotten used to being called a customer by overpaid idiots who told me that if my pupils attacked me I should call 'One Stop Customer Care' (it's true). But that's ok. What is not okay is not knowing which suited ******* twat decided that the Armed Forces should have an "employee" number rather than a Service number? Some ****** who has never fired a shot or been shot at in anger, I bet. And where were the General Staff when this happened?

Okay, it's only a number, but being given my Service number PO33754R (who cares who knows it now?!) was and should be an important part of the whole enculturation process of being RM/RN/Army/RAF. I would not like to stretch the point but being given a unique SERVICE number is what initially made me feel like being a member of the family of Royal Marines AND NOT just a ferking number. To the the petty bureaucrat, of course, my moans are simply moans about a silly tradition, and I will get over it eventually. Strange how the ******* who mess with our traditions always seem to ensure that their own public school/oxbridge/civil servant traditions survive though.

P.S. George Orwell came to visit me last night and he had a right old chuckle. Huxley and Kafka tomorrow.


War Hero
Talking of history and day of long ago-----Didn't D stand for Devonport and C for Chatham P for Pompey and L for Lee ?


War Hero
RM2PhD said:
Without sounding like 'Disgusted of Tonbridge Wells' when did all that happen?

October 2006, when the Royal Navy/Royal Marines switched to JPA.

The JPA training package (which is computer based) asks us to select if we wish to view the training material for "employees" or "employers". I was dismayed by that too and sympathise totally with what you're saying.

JPA is an off-the-shelf human resources database; similar systems are used in civvie firms.

Soon, RN training will be sub-contracted to a civvie contractor, "Metrix".

It's a crying shame; almost literally.


Cheers, Dunkers. I guessed it was an off the shelf HR package but thought some bright spark must have ... er .... challenged ... er ... okayed it!


I was a D when I joined in 53 signifying Devonport.
Then in 57 I changed my port division to Pompey and became a P.
When I became an SD SLt in 1964 I didn't have a service number cos we all knew each other.
I don't quite remeber when I became a C,when we got service numbers as officers. But it was certainly after 1970 because I can remember doing a course at RAF Catterick with the Rock Apes and the Officers Mess were quite thrown when I informed them that we didn't have service nos as an RNO. :evil: :twisted:


War Hero
Which is more important, spending money on kit for the front line, or spending money to modify a software package just so that we can keep doing things the way they used to be done.

Handler has already highlighted that the service numbers used up until JPA went live are different from those used about 40 years ago. I'm sure when things changed there would have been grumbles and I'm unsurprised about them now, but tbh I'd rather be spending the money on useful things!
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