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WW2 Naval Shoulder Boards


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Adding to our few Naval posts - these are the shoulder rank boards for a medical officer. They

date to WW2 and all have the purple between the gold braid to show he was a Doctor. They start with a

Lieutenant (Captain in the Army), Commander - 3 stripes (Lt. Col.) and 4 stripes for a Captain (Colonel).

The longer 3 stripes are the sleeve insignia for a Commander - I think the Lozenge shape indicates a Volunteer ?

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Good Morning Mervyn........

With out the Loop or crest above the stripes they look like they are Merchant Navy...... Could this be possibe?

In the Canadian Navy Maroon is for Engineers......

Medical is Scarlet......

Mike

Edited by QSAMIKE
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Ah ! Now that's a good point Mike. I have just bought two quite rare 1st WW groups - one of which is to an officer of

engineers. However, purple has always been for medical in Britain - although I am sure there are exceptions.

Didn't the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve have an insignia to show they weren't regulars ? Perhaps it is for the Merchant Navy -

apart from the groups there were a number of min. groups about which the family knew nothing.

This is why I show these items - we never had a lot of ships sailing through the East End of London - even on night duty !

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Mervyn......

Take a look at this.....

Reserves

From 1863 officers were commissioned in the Royal Naval Reserve this was for serving merchant navy officers only. They had rings each formed from two 14in wavy lines intersecting each other. The curl was formed into a 6-pointed star. The lieutenant commander's half-ring was straight, but only 18in wide. The commodore had a broad straight ring, but the same star for a curl. Midshipmen had a blue collar patch.

Officers of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (formed 1903) for civilians, had single wavy rings 14in wide, with the curl a squarish shape. The lieutenant commander's narrow ring was originally straight, but after 1942 was waved also.

In 1951 both reserves lost their distinctive insignia and got normal straight stripes like the regulars, but with a letter 'R' inside the curl. The 2 organisations were merged in 1958. In 2007 Officers of the Royal Naval Reserve removed the 'R' distinction from badges of rank.

This site will give you all the colours.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Navy_officer_rank_insignia#Reserves

Mike

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That's a good identification for these shoulder boards - the RNR medal group - will post in a few days - was to an

Engineer Officer. Therefore , it looks as if he ended up a Merchant Navy Chief Engineer - probably between the Wars.

I will be arranging for his papers and will come back if I get more info. Thankyou both for your comments and help. Mervyn

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Many RNR officers held a past or present rank in the Merchant Navy, unlike the RNVR officers who in general did not have such a maritime background.

The lozenge shape in the stripes is typical for MN officers of all rank.

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The practice of purple distinguishing cloth was also adopted from the merchant marine by flight engineers in the civil aviation field.

Incidentally, the Womens Royal Naval Service also used lozenges, although theirs were on top of the rank lace and were light blue in colour.

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Here you go Mervin......

Executive Branch.................. No Colour

Surgeon / Medical................. Red

Pursers / Accounting............. White

Engineering........................... Maroon / Purple

Schoolmasters...................... Light Blue

Shipwrights........................... Silver Grey

Wardmasters........................ Salmon Pink

Electrical............................... Dark Green

Ordnance.............................. Dark Blue

Dentists................................. Orange

After 1993

The residual use of distinction cloth for non-combatants is therefore:

  • Scarlet - medical
  • Orange - dental
  • Salmon pink - wardmasters (to 1993)
  • Silver grey - civilian officers from Royal Corps of Naval Constructors - RCNC (to 1993)
  • Dark green - civilian officers when required to wear uniforma (including RCNC from 1993)

Mike

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