Ships Photographers in WW2.

MACH1000

Newbie
Can anyone give me any information on the subject of ships photographers during WW2? My late father joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor in the early 1930s and became a diver. He served on a number of ships including HMNZS Leander during which time he would have been attached to the Royal New Zealand Navy. Following his death a number of years ago, I have discovered some albums of photographs and scrapbooks of new items etc. that he collected during his service. There are quite a lot of photographs documenting his time on HMNZS Leander, which has led me to wonder about the role of ships photographer. I was wondering if this would have been an official role assigned to someone with professional qualifications or if possibly the role might have been assigned to ratings as part of their various duties.

I am thinking that since the role of diver was very specific - and only required periodically - he would have been assigned other duties, which could possibly have included photographer? I know he was part of a ships 4 inch gun crew for example.

Bearing in mind the fact that photography was quite expensive until comparatively recently and also the obvious difficulties I would expect in getting access the photograph processing, it seemed that IF this was actually part of his duties, it might explain how he had so many pictures - probably keeping his own copies of those he might have taken for the ship.

I would be interested to hear if anyone is able to shed any light on the role during WW2 which might give me additional insight into how he came by the pictures.
 

MACH1000

Newbie
I'll see if I can send them an email. I DID see the website, which says that after around 1937 or so, specialists were assigned whereas prior to that volunteer ratings with an interest were used - which could have included my Dad. Thanks.
 

soleil

War Hero
I'll see if I can send them an email. I DID see the website, which says that after around 1937 or so, specialists were assigned whereas prior to that volunteer ratings with an interest were used - which could have included my Dad. Thanks.
Have you applied for a copy of your late father's service record, Mach100?

 

MACH1000

Newbie
Yes, I have a copy of his service record but it is very basic, detailing the ships he served on and dates, plus his periodic appraisal results from joining until eventual demob to RN Reserves after the war. There is no mention of photography.
 

Waspie

War Hero
I'm going to back prior 1992. Yes there was a Photographic branch as you are aware. However, not every warship had a naval photographer attached. In my experience, carriers, the larger war canoes and certain frigates dependant on deployment.
Myself, as the ships flyboy and general mail carrier formed part of what was titled, and don't all laugh!! The ships 'Int team' or Intelligence Team. Our main job was to photograph what command deemed to targets of interest. Me, as part of my job spec, had been trained intelligence photography at the RN School of advanced photography at Whale Island, Portsmouth and other selected ratings or officers who had a camera!!!!!
Most official films were sent off the ship for developing ashore. The general ships activities shots may have been developed on board, assuming one of the Int team was capable of developing B/W film. Naval Photographers, the official ones would develop their own film in any space they could procure. And duly sell their wares to the ships company.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
Had photographers on the Bulwark but on boats it was any branch, normally WE, who fulfilled the role for periscope photography, or periphot as it's known. The periscopes had a camera fitted to them (still do but it's all digital these days) and the film was developed in the Health Physics lab onboard.
 
I'm going to back prior 1992. Yes there was a Photographic branch as you are aware. However, not every warship had a naval photographer attached. In my experience, carriers, the larger war canoes and certain frigates dependant on deployment.
Myself, as the ships flyboy and general mail carrier formed part of what was titled, and don't all laugh!! The ships 'Int team' or Intelligence Team. Our main job was to photograph what command deemed to targets of interest. Me, as part of my job spec, had been trained intelligence photography at the RN School of advanced photography at Whale Island, Portsmouth and other selected ratings or officers who had a camera!!!!!
Most official films were sent off the ship for developing ashore. The general ships activities shots may have been developed on board, assuming one of the Int team was capable of developing B/W film. Naval Photographers, the official ones would develop their own film in any space they could procure. And duly sell their wares to the ships company.
Exactly as it still is now. I was ships phot for QNLZ before we got the embarked phots on board- was a good laugh and I got used for all the “nice” stuff (presentations/ award of medals and such) while they did all the official (PR) stuff


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D

Deleted 59428

Guest
Can anyone give me any information on the subject of ships photographers during WW2? My late father joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor in the early 1930s and became a diver. He served on a number of ships including HMNZS Leander during which time he would have been attached to the Royal New Zealand Navy. Following his death a number of years ago, I have discovered some albums of photographs and scrapbooks of new items etc. that he collected during his service. There are quite a lot of photographs documenting his time on HMNZS Leander, which has led me to wonder about the role of ships photographer. I was wondering if this would have been an official role assigned to someone with professional qualifications or if possibly the role might have been assigned to ratings as part of their various duties.

I am thinking that since the role of diver was very specific - and only required periodically - he would have been assigned other duties, which could possibly have included photographer? I know he was part of a ships 4 inch gun crew for example.

Bearing in mind the fact that photography was quite expensive until comparatively recently and also the obvious difficulties I would expect in getting access the photograph processing, it seemed that IF this was actually part of his duties, it might explain how he had so many pictures - probably keeping his own copies of those he might have taken for the ship.

I would be interested to hear if anyone is able to shed any light on the role during WW2 which might give me additional insight into how he came by the pictures.
Photographers were carried on most ships larger than light Cruisers, General photographers on General Service and specialist Air Photographers, started in WW2 ,on carriers and cruisers or whatever carried an aircraft. Certain specialist small ships were also fitted with dark room facilities. Official photographers could operate a Rabbits Firm charging for any non official work. This started in WW2 when pictures the crew had taken aboard might be showing the latest piece of equipment It was ordered that all private photography had to be processed by an official photographer who could make a charge. All developed films were handed to an appointed censor who removed any offending pictures. The word rabbits comes from the days of canteen messing at Chatham where the Cooks of Messes would catch the plentiful rabbits ,saving their messmates money.
 
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