WWII Fleet ranks.

Discussion in 'History' started by Cutaway, Sep 18, 2008.

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  1. (Also posted in the Fleet Air Arm forum.)

    I've a question for the old & the bold - and any historians amongst you.

    I'm making a presentation piece for an old boy who was in Fleet Air Arm in the forties.
    His rank/appt was Leading Air Mechanic (L Electrical) - was the rank abbreviation at the time AM(L) or LAM (L) or something entirely different ?

    I've been told by a skimmer mate that I should have "WAFU cnut" engraved on it, he said any WU worth his salt would take it as a compliment.
    Not exactly sure that this octogenarian would appreciate it somehow...

    Could anyone tell me the correct abbreviation please ?
  2. Hig the Pig he's old school FFA so he should know, hopefull he'll cruise by and be able to help.
    Failing that Greenwich Maritime Museum or the Fleet Air Arm Museum?
    Good luck.
    And about the WAFU thing, he's probably heard worse. :thumright:
  3. Cheers NZ Bootie, I'll pm HtP when I'm finished with work.
  4. Hope this helps:


    Seaman ratings in the Torpedo Branch were subjected to a selection process for which personal preference, suitability for further technical training and past record, as well as age were important factors. There was a reluctance to release seamen who had excellent records as 'Users' with potential or existing value as instructors. Selection therefore was very dependent on the ability of the individual to represent his case when made necessary and on that of the Divisional Officer to make an objective judgement, bearing in mind the long term benefits to the Service. This proved difficult in many cases especially in ships stationed overseas where manpower shortages were dominant at the time of the transfer.

    When the Electrical Branch was formed there was a significant problem relating to re-engagement by personnel due, or nearly due, for release and the chances of attracting 'hostilities only' ratings to transfer to a 'regular engagement', were small. These factors also made selection for transfer very difficult. However successful the process, it was soon evident that it would be a number of years before the new Branch could reach the stage where it could satisfactorily meet the requirements laid down by MIDDLETON.

    [ii] Torpedo Branch

    Table of Comparisons

    Torpedo Non-Substantive Rate Substantive Rate Electrical Rating
    Seaman Torpedoman [ST] Able Seaman Electrical Mechanic
    Leading Torpedo Operator [LTO] Leading Seaman Leading Electrical Mechanic
    Torpedo Instructor [TI] Petty Officer Petty Officer Electrician
    Torpedo Gunners Mate [TM] Chief Petty Officer Chief Electrician

    The level of technical competence [non substantive rate] of seaman ratings in all Branches was separate from the actual substantive rate held. At the time of formation of the new Branch, advancement to Leading Seaman or Petty Officer was possible without achieving an increased technical standard. For example a Petty Officer could only have a 3rd level ["ST"] qualification. Conversely, a Leading Seaman could be technically qualified as a [TI], but not rated Petty Officer because of lack of seamanship qualification or because of overbearing of Petty Officers. In the new Branch, promotion to LEM and beyond was dependent on attaining a higher level of professional competence. This factor made further training necessary or the acceptance of a lower standard than that needed for the responsibilities involved. It is of interest to note that no ratings in the highest Torpedo technical grade [Torpedo Gunners Mate] was transferred. Because Torpedo ratings had been employed on maintenance and repair of electrical equipment, no cross-training was normally required unless needed for next employment.

    From the article it would seem that the rating would be EM or LEM or POEL same as it was in the 60s

    However for the complete article see:

    http://www.godfreydykes.info/HOW THE ELECTRICAL BRANCH WAS FORMED.htm
  5. Thanks for the gen Slim, think I'm sorted now.
  6. Cutaway.
    All this modern jargon is way over my head mate.

    But, in reply to your question it should be LAM(L).
    Incidentally, there weren't many of them around, early Stringbags only had a battery, generators came later.

  7. I've spoken to Yeovilton & they claim it should be LEM(A).

    The gentleman concerned is obviously quite elderly, (about 83 I think,) his memory may not be all it was, eg he had to look up his Service Number, but he said his rank was Leading Air Mechanic (L Electrical) abbreviated to AM(L).
    To me that looks like it was Air Mechanic (Electrical) but perhaps he was only promoted shortly before discharge or it's memory lapse.

    He also said he did not serve at sea but was at a shore establishment servicing Sterlings.
    As far as I'm aware Sterlings were never used by the RN, but were Fleet Air Arm personnel seconded to Crab Air ?

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