(based substantially on Appendix I on The Pyecroft Stories in the ORG, and edited for this Guide by Commander Alastair Wilson, R.N.)
Kipling and the Royal Navy
the Royal Navy in 1905
warships' boats in 1905
'knots an hour'
| ||NAVY >>>|| || ||ARMY|
|OFFICERS|| || || || |
|Military Branch||Engineer Branch||Medical Branch||Paymaster Branch|| |
|Admiral of the Fleet|| || || ||Field Marshal|
|Admiral|| || || ||General|
|Vice-Admiral||Engineer-in-Chief|| || ||Lieutenant-General|
|Rear-Admiral||Engineer Rear-Admiral||Inspector-Generalof Hospitals and Fleets|| ||Major-General|
|Commodore|| || || ||Brigadier-General|
|Captain (over 3 years' seniority)||Engineer Captain (over 8 years)||Deputy Inspector-General of Hospitals and Fleets||Paymaster-in-Chief||Colonel|
|Captain (under 3 years)||Engineer Captain (under 8 years)|| || ||Lieutenant-Colonel|
|Commander||Engineer Commander||Fleet Surgeon||Fleet Paymaster||Lieutenant-Colonel, but junior of that rank|
|Lieutenant (over 8 years)||Engineer Lieutenant (over 8 years)||Staff Surgeon||Staff Paymaster||Major|
|Lieutenant (under 8 years||Engineer-Lieutenant (under 8 years)||Surgeon||Paymaster/Assistant Paymaster (over 4 years)||Captain|
|Sub Lieutenant||Engineer Sub Lieutenant|| ||Assistant Paymaster (under 4 years)||Lieutenant|
|WARRANT OFFICERS|| || || || |
|Chief Gunner||Chief Artificer Engineer|| || ||Second Lieutenant|
|Chief Boatswain|| || || || |
|Chief Signal Boatswain|| || || || |
|Gunner, Boatswain.||Artificer Engineer|| || ||Conductors of Supplies|
|Signal Boatswain|| || || ||Conductors of Stores|
|SUBORDINATE OFFICERS|| || || || |
|Midshipman|| || ||Clerk||As above (but junior of these ranks)|
|Naval Cadet|| || ||Assistant Clerk|| |
|RELATIVE MILITARY BRANCH RANK||ENGINEER OFFICERS >>>|| || || ||Notes|
| ||Pre 1899||1899||1903||New Fisher entry 1905|| |
|Vice-Admiral|| || ||Engineer-in-Chief (if of V-A status)||Vice-Admiral (E)||The first V-A(E) was promoted in 1947|
|Rear-Admiral||Chief Inspector of Machinery||As pre 1899||Engineer Rear-Admiral||Rear-Admiral (E)||The first R-A(E) was promoted in 1942|
|Captain (over 3 years)||Inspector of Machinery (over 8 years)||As pre 1899||Engineer Captain (over 8 years)||Captain (E) (over 3 years|| |
|Captain (under 3 years)||Inspector of Machinery (under 8 years)||As pre 1899||Engineer Captain (under 8 years)||Captain (E) (under 3 years)|| |
|Commander||Fleet Engineer||As pre 1899||Engineer Commander||Commander (E)|| |
|Lieutenant (over 8 years)||Staff Engineer||Chief Engineer||Engineer Lieutenant (over 8 years)||Lieutenant (E)|| |
| ||Chief Engineer (ranked with, but after Lieutenants (over 8 years)|| || |
|Lieutenant (under 8 years||Engineer (over 6 years)||Engineer||Engineer Lieutenant||Lieutenant (E)|| |
| ||Engineer (under 6 years) ranked with but after Lieutenants (under 8)|| ||(under 8 years)|| |
|Sub Lieutenant||Assistant Engineer||Assistant Engineer (i.e., the rank of Staff Engineer was abolished and the rank of Chief Engineer was given more relative seniority)||Engineer Sub Lieutenant||Sub Lieutenant (E)|| |
Though these worthies sport long coats and wear the anchor button, yet, in the estimation of the wardroom officers, they are not, technically speaking, rated gentlemen. The first lieutenant, chaplain or surgeon for example would never dream of inviting them to dinner.Marryatt’s Mr Chucks and others since had sadly noted this.
They exercise great influence on the smooth and rapid working of the service, on the cleanliness and trimness of the ship, on the efficiency of the guns, on the orderliness of life on board, etc. The careful management of the inventories and stores in their charge requires constant vigilance … They nay well be called The BACKBONE OF THE INNER SERVICE ON BOARD SHIP.The capitals are Captain Stensel’s and are not undeserved.
The system of advancement, including both substantive and non-substantive ratings, has been discussed in our notes of "Their Lawful Occasions” (Page 116, line 1).We felt that the notes provided by the ORG were a bit esoteric, and so simplified them. But in this more general piece, it is not inappropriate to give a bit more detail, particularly since Pyecroft, in "Their Lawful Occasions”, on that page, rattles off a series of incomprehensible names and initials.
Oh, I couldn’t care less for the kellick of the mess,Petty Officers wore ‘fore-and-aft’ rig (trousers creased front and back, normally, with a jacket and peaked cap), and a badge of two crossed anchors: they messed separately. Chief Petty Officers were a similar uniform, but in place of the two crossed anchors, they wore three gilt buttons on the cuff of each sleeve. They, too, messed separately. And whereas ordinary sailors performed all the chores in their mess (as directed by the leading hand), Petty Officers and Chief Petty officers had a messman to do them.
Or the buffer and his working party,
I’m off ashore at half-past four:
The era 1900-1910, was indeed one of reform in the Royal Navy, with Admiral Sir John Fisher leading. When this tale was written, he had scarcely got into his stride. He had, as we have seen remarked elsewhere, given the Mediterranean Fleet a good shake-up, and now, as Second Sea Lord, he was about to start on officers’ training and an improvement of the sailor’s lot, but the dust did not really start to fly until he became First Sea Lord in 1904.But by the end of the century, as trade unions began to make their mark, and labour unrest became a major feature of the British industrial scene, the Services had to ensure that the ‘taint’ did not spread to Britain’s ‘sure shield’. So Fisher’s reforms were timely, and Kipling may have been reflecting the first stirrings which he might have heard in 1897 and 1898.”
It is unlikely that Pyecroft and Morgan, as ratings, would have discussed what ‘Jackie’ might do in strategic, material and operational terms. And they might have been dubious about his lower deck reforms – the British sailor, then particularly, but still to a degree, is a conservative (small ‘c’) person. But Fisher was prescient: forty years earlier, life on the lower deck, though uncomfortable to our 21st century eyes, was as good as, and better than, much comparable employment. The sailor got paid and fed regularly: the diet, though monotonous, was nourishing and plentiful (it has been calculated that the ration-scale gave 3000 calories per day): his job was secure: and at the end of 20 years service, he received a non-contributory pension: all this in the 1860s.