Royal Navy class photo, can you help please?

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Derek Hill, Jan 3, 2021.

  1. Derek Hill

    Derek Hill Member

    Greetings all, this is my first post on this forum.
    I have been researching my late fathers wartime service which seems to have been very diverse.
    First things first though, I wonder if any RN researchers out there may be able to tell me where this photo of my dads basic training course would have been taken please? The year should be 1940 but that's not confirmed. I don't believe it was HMS Gosling, and I'm hoping it was HMS Daedalus/RNAS Lee-On-Solent as that's where he said he did his basic training. Despite extensive web searches, I cannot find another photo with the same background as this one. The attached photo is lo res. but I have the original.
    All help or advice gratefully received.
    Thank you in anticipation.

    Attached Files:

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  2. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Do you have your father's service number as it should tell you which Division he served in and might help to narrow the options?
  3. Derek Hill

    Derek Hill Member

    Well now HW, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Yes, but it’s not much help as far as my research goes which is why I want to start with the very first photo of him during WW2. If I can find out where it is it will tell me if my dad is correct in saying it was HMS Daedalus, or the RN is correct in saying he started at HMS Gosling.

    Another problem is that he always said he joined up after his sixteenth birthday in August 1940 but his RN record has him enlisting in November 1942 and my mother is absolutely certain that is not true.

    His official number was first of all FX105984. I’m told the F means FAA which we know he was in at various times throughout the war years. So not continuous service, he moved a few times between the FAA and various commando units. I didn’t know this was possible but have since been told it was, just unusual.

    Now the main problem, he told me that when he transferred from the FAA to the Commandos all that changed was the first letter, from F to P.

    I have been given conflicting information which states the P stands for Royal Marine Other Rank and also that it stands for just for Portsmouth as his home division within the RN.

    There is information on which clearly states it is for a RMOR but not what years that applied to.
    We know he was initially an army commando serving with 3 & 6 Commando about 1941/42.

    I was wondering if he could simply have been a commando qualified RM (there were a lot of them in the army commandos) because the RM Commandos didn’t exist until mid 1942.

    We know later in the war he was a RM Commando just to confuse things, serving in the 3rd SS Brigade in Burma from the end of 1943.

    He always said his home base was Portsmouth.

    I’m told if he was RM Commando his official number should have changed to PO/X105984 but he never mentioned the O, and other sources state there were exceptions.

    It may be he just didn’t feel it important enough to mention the O and I’m inclined to believe him when he said only the F changed to a P when he became a commando.

    I have tried to get his RM history without success. His RN history never mentioned it.
    I have just reapplied and been told it will take over a year to get a reply.

    Anyway I digress, the purpose of my original post is just to ascertain where his RN course photo was taken which is what I’d really like help with.

    I tried the RN museum but they won’t help individual enquiries.
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Derek


    Can I suggest you post/upload the records you have for him. We often find seeing the full records puts everything into context - it will allow members to help answer your question(s)

  5. Derek Hill

    Derek Hill Member

    This is all I have from official sources:

    Attached Files:

  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    OK - well normally we suggest to members researching relatives initially to apply for their service records which for WW2 military personnel can only be obtained by application to the MOD via forms available from this link - Request records of deceased service personnel and for the Royal Navy/Royal marines the address to send it to is different from the address you have on the letter attached above

    From the MOD forms the address is:
    RN Disclosure Cell, MP1.3, Leach Building, Navy Command Headquarters, Whale Island,
    Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO2 8BY

    Perhaps you need to re apply using the forms linked to here.

    The record you have attached seems not to include any details of him transferring to any other branch. He seems to have stayed within the Fleet Air Arm section for his whole service - but thats my opinion of what I can see, perhaps others have a different view
    Air Mechanic 2"^* Class
    Air Mechanic 1^' Class
    Acting Leading Air Mechanic

    Have you tried contacting the Commando Association to see if they have any details?

    Hugh MacLean likes this.
  7. Derek Hill

    Derek Hill Member

    Hi TD, I agree with what you say. Like I said, it’s disappointing. There was subsequent correspondence between us and they replied pointing out the disclaimer at the bottom of the letter, they couldn’t find a certificate of service, freely admitted they may have it wrong because “good record keeping was not a priority during the emergency” and that he could well have joined up underage! All in all not much use.
    But even as an army commando he would still have been paid and administrated by his parent division, RN Portsmouth.
    Yes, I am in touch with the Commando Association, or it’s modern derivative. I know for sure he was a member until just after Mountbatten funeral, but my enquiries on his membership have never been replied to. I have tried the forums but they have proved disappointing also.
    My original enquiry to the RN/RM was on the official forms and I recently sent another. I will just have to wait and see.
    So, you can see what I’m up against hence deciding to start at the very beginning of his service to see where his class photo was taken.
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    "Yes, I am in touch with the Commando Association, or it’s modern derivative. I know for sure he was a member until just after Mountbatten funeral"

    What details do you have that makes you sure he was a member of the Commando Assoc until at least 1979? I guess the next question would be is - does one have to have been a Commando to join the Assoc, I presume they have different levels of membership - be interested to see what you have

    I am also struggling to understand how as an Air Mechanic in the Royal Navy FAA he can as you say transfer to become an Army Commando, then transfer back again.

  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  10. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Welcome Derek,
    The service record you have is someones transcription rather than a copy which means it is open to mistakes and omissions. Also the clue as to much of his missing service is noted at the bottom of the transcript namely, "It is regretted that the information supplied has been obtained from our central pay records and not from a copy of the original Certificate of Service. Due to this reason individual ships/vessels/bases will not always be recorded". I would double check with the MOD that a full check of his Pay and Victualing Ledger has been carried. You do of course have available to you a Freedom of Information Request [FOI] should you get no joy. I should also caution that even with P & V details checked, RN records often leave relatives frustrated at the lack of details shown.

    To be honest that photo is typical of lots of RN class photos and could well be any place in the country - one brick wall out of so many.
    My thinking - based only on the transcript - is that any involvment with commando forces would be as a member of the RN.
    timuk likes this.
  11. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Hugh has beat me to it. The attachment at #5 is what you will have received under the old system. Since the FOI Act the MOD can provide more information based on the P&V ledgers. If you put in another request you should not have to pay again. RN records can be difficult as the Certificate of Service, with the accurate record of Service, was handed to the Rating on discharge/demobilisation and no duplicate was retained by Admiralty Records.
    From the information supplied it does look as though initial basic training was at HMS Gosling followed by further specialist training at HMS Daedalus.
    Two other possibilities occur to me. He could have volunteered just after his sixteenth birthday but been sent home to await call up once he was eighteen (a not unique situation if one particularly wanted to join the RN or avoid call up into the Army). Secondly, as Hugh suggests, it might be that he was attached to the Commandos in Burma. You did not have to be a Royal Marine to be a Commando. It may also be relevant to note that ships listed on RN Records and Certificates of Service do not necessarily mean that is where someone is serving - it is the ship/establishment which is holding the Records. This can often cause confusion.

    Hugh MacLean likes this.
  12. Derek Hill

    Derek Hill Member

    He was sent a letter by the CA inviting him to Mountbattens funeral. They offered to send a car fir him which he declined. I remember seeing the letter.

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