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What happened to the old Warfare Branches?


Back in the mid 1980's I had my heart set on joining the RN in the warfare branch possibly as a sonar or radar operator, 'sadly' my parents had other ideas and I was coerced into obtaining a apprenticeship in civvy street and my 'naval career' ended before it started.

In conversation with an old mate who I was in the sea cadets with, who himself served in the RN as a MEM, I mentioned whether I did the right think back in 1987 ie not joining the Navy.
He reckoned that I would of been made redundant back in th 90's when several branches merged, and in fact I did the right thing after all!

So was this true and what happened to the warfare branch back in the 80/90's?
Not strictly true regarding the redundancy, if you had joined the "Operations" branch in the mid 80s you would have enjoyed a full career.

Two separate things happened in the early 90s which you're mate may have put together to get his redundancy theory.

Firstly, there was a couple of bouts of redundancy - these affected pretty much every branch and the majority of people who left where volunteers.

Secondly, was Warfare Branch Development. This was the merger of the old Ops branches (Comms, Radar, Sonar etc) with the Weapon Engineers to create the "Operator Maintainer" Transfer to this new branch was offered to all Dabbers, WEMs and ROs. It was perceived at the time that anyone who didn't cross train over to OM would eventually be redundant or have no promotion prospects. This was not the case and the old OPS and WEMs have continued alongside the OMs

The last entries into the old OPS and WEM branches would have been around August 1993 and on 1st September 1993 the Operations Department was renamed the Warfare Department. You can still come across ratings of the old source branches around the place but they're getting rare now!
I'm one of the old fossils that didn't transfer to the welfare branch. I didn't want to sit in the ops room and watch the spinny telly or do chipping and painting and all that old guff. Besides, my pit had planty of ZZZZZs left in it.
However, we've come full circle (and probably not for the first time), and we are now going back to source branch but under a different name and combining it with the tiffies. At first view it looks as if the powers that be seem to have made a good decision for once. I'd be interested in what others think.
Bleedin ell, things have changed. When I did me killicks course for the QR rating we were told it was the last course before all gunners would be classed as FC. This rebounded big time in the early eighties when any gunner could be called upon to man the old Mk6s.

Specialisation may be a narrow river but knowledge means efficiency.


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