Royal Navy Branches, Ranks and Ratings, 1918

Gunners, Torpedomen & LTOs (Electricians) Signalmen & Telegraphists Sailmaker Stokers Mechanicians Engine Room Artificers Electrical Artificers Ordnance Artificers Carpenterís Crew
Including Shipwrights, Blacksmiths, Plumbers, Coopers Painters, etc.
Armourerís Crew Shipís Police Medical Writer Supply
Boy 2nd class Signal Boy or Boy Telegraphist     Mechanicians were promoted from the Stoker Branch at the Ldg Stkr and PO level Boy ER Artificer
4 years training
Boy Elect Artificer
4 years training
Boy Ord Artificer
4 years training
        Boy Writer Victualling Boy
Boy 1st class
See Note 3
Ordinary seaman Ordinary Signalman or Telegraphist Stoker2nd Class Sick Berth Attendant
(various junior grades)
Third Writer Victualling Assistant
Signalman or Telegraphist Stoker
1st Class
Leading Seaman or Leading LTO Leading Signalman or
Sailmakerís Mate Leading Stoker Mate
(Leading Tradesman)
Armourerís Crew Second Sick Berth Steward Second Writer Leading Victualling Assistant
ERA 5th Class Electrical Artificer 5th Class Ordnance Artificer 5th Class
Officer or
Yeoman of Sigs or PO Telegraphist Sailmaker Stoker PO Mechanician       Tradesman
Shipís Corporals
1st and 2nd Class
Sick Berth Steward First Writer Victualling PO
Gunnerís Mate, Torpedo Gunnerís Mate
Chief Yeoman of Signals or Chief Tel Chief Sailmaker Chief Stoker Chief Mechanician ERA 4th Class,
3rd Class
2nd Class and
1st Class
4th Class,
3rd Class
2nd Class and
1st Class
4th Class,
3rd Class
2nd Class and
1st Class
Chief (PO) Tradesman Chief Armourer Master at Arms Chief Sick Berth Steward Chief Writer Victualling CPO
          Chief ERA
1st Class and 2nd Class
Chief Elect Art 1st Class and 2nd Class Chief Ord Art 1st Class and 2nd Class            
See Note 1     See Note 2 See Note 5 See Note 4      

For all POs and CPOs there were increases in pay with time in rank seniority, generally at thee-yearly increments.

All shipboard electrical installations were the responsibility of the Torpedo Branch. Torpedomen with electrical training were identified as Leading Torpedo Operators, or LTOs. Ratings qualified as LTOs received an extra allowance depending on substantive rate. This was a trade qualification usually acquired at the Leading Seaman level. Electrical Artificers were only carried in large cruisers and above and dealt mainly with high power installations. Although recognized as being necessary before WW1, amalgamation of all the electrical tradesmen would not take place until 1949.

All Artificers were considerably better paid than other trades. An ERA 1st class was paid about twice what a seaman CPO received. Most Engine Room Artificers entered as apprentices and joined a ship at the 5th class level to complete the sea-phase of their training. Electrical and Ordnance Artificers and some ERAs were hired as qualified Artificers and entered at the Artificer 3rd or 2nd Class level. They often had minimum naval background and were mostly valued for their technical expertise.

Youths joined as Boys between 15 and 16 and a half. Boy seamen and signallers were trained in the pre-sea training establishments. Boys 1st class were carried in cruisers and above. Boys in the Supply and Secretariat Branches were trained on the job, usually in shore establishments. Boys time did not count for promotion or pension. Manís time started on the boyís 18th birthday. Direct entry men were only accepted from age 18 and up.

The Shipís Police were recruited from among the seamen and Royal Marines and were often men who stood little chance of advancement in their respective branches. In 1919 this branch was reorganized and renamed "Regulating Branch" at which time the Shipís Corporal became Regulating Petty Officer. Despite efforts to improve the quality and practises, the branch remained little changed.

All of the Artisan trades were in the process of being reorganized similarly to the Electrical and Ordnance branches. In the new system Boy Shipwrights would serve a 5-year apprenticeship in the Royal Dockyard shops. In the Old Scheme artificers were mostly hired on from civilian sources at a level commensurate with their training and experience, a practise that was continued even after the introduction of the revised system of training.

Dave Perkins

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