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Royal Navy Admiral of the Fleet shoulder boards


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Guys, I've been stumped by these boards for a long time. Take a look - they have the King's Crown buttons and insignia, but the QEII Royal Cyphers.

Do you reckon the wearer swapped out the cyphers when the monarch changed? Why not just get a new set of boards?

The boards look original enough though. Any ideas?

uk-fadm2-small.jpg

uk-fadm4-small.jpg

uk-fadm3-small.jpg

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Thanks for the thought.

Would you have any idea who might have worn these boards and done the swap?

I am thinking this person would have been in service at that rank at the time of the Coronation, but perhaps not a key figure in the ceremony.

Boards like this aren't particularly cheap, even when buying new ones. He may just have wanted to save a penny.

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Thanks for the thought.

Would you have any idea who might have worn these boards and done the swap?

I am thinking this person would have been in service at that rank at the time of the Coronation, but perhaps not a key figure in the ceremony.

Sorry, not a clue.

H

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Achern - welcome to GMIC. I see that you have had some lengthy posts on these elsewhere and it will be interesting to see if our members can add anything.

Firstly, this seems to be for an Admiral of the Fleet - this is the equivalent of a Field Marshall or, an Air Chief Marshall. The rank is so senior that there is no way the officer would wear a King's Crown with an E II R cypher. I can only suggest that at some time a collector has added the cypher ? I will be very happy to be proved wrong. Do you have only the one board ?

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Thanks for the input.

Yes, these boards were discussed at some length on the WAF, but we came to no conclusions, although there were a few names bandied about. I thought we might get some fresh ideas here.

Indeed, these are the AOF shoulder boards, and I cannot imagine an AOF stinging on a new pair of boards. I also cannot imagine the "protocol people" allowing such a thing to be worn.

Perhaps you are right that somebody belatedly replaced the cyphers - for whatever reason. I don't think the cypher was added, though. The boards look as if they were made with the provision for a cypher in between the crown and batons.

Let me examine the holes under the cypher and see if I can discover anything.

Meanwhile, I find it unusual that the back of the boards are covered in black cloth rather than the usual leather coverings bearing the name of the manufacturer.

I have two boards - a matched left and right pair.

Achern - welcome to GMIC. I see that you have had some lengthy posts on these elsewhere and it will be interesting to see if our members can add anything.

Firstly, this seems to be for an Admiral of the Fleet - this is the equivalent of a Field Marshall or, an Air Chief Marshall. The rank is so senior that there is no way the officer would wear a King's Crown with an E II R cypher. I can only suggest that at some time a collector has added the cypher ? I will be very happy to be proved wrong. Do you have only the one board ?

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  • 6 months later...

Well, Gents, I think it is time to lay this topic to rest.

I visited the Gieves military department in London last month and showed the boards to the director with my questions.

He said that during the immediate post-war period, it was quite normal for officers to keep the bullion insignia on the boards and swap only the royal cyphers to save cost.

Boards were expensive in those days, particularly for an Admiral of the Fleet, so it would have been done, and that there was nothing particularly unusual about this example.

To add credence to the thought, on removing the EIIR cyphers, there is a lighter mark on the bullion, which says that the cyphers have been there quite a long time.

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Mervyn, I might have something coming my way from London, although I would rather not count the chickens before they hatch! I will certainly post a picture if it comes my way eventually.

It was a nice experience actually being in the Gieves shop and talking with them about present-day ranks. It is a pity though, that the knowledge only goes so far back as one's memory - most of the older staff who would remember these details are gone.

I did find some nice contemporary ranks in Rome, which I will try and post in the appropriate forum later.

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  • 5 months later...

Here's an addition to this post - a pair of shoulder boards belonging to the late Admiral of the Fleet John Fieldhouse, Baron Fieldhouse GCB GBE. He was Chief of the Defence Staff from '85 - '88, and died in '92.

uk-AOTF-fieldhouse1-small.jpg

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If the CDS, a position created in 1959, is from the Royal Navy, he is promoted to Admiral of the Fleet.

Retiring First Sea Lords were also promoted from Admiral to AOTF until 1996. Together with the honorary appointments from royalty, there may be several living holders of the rank at any one time.

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