WW2 RN Service record — meaning of terms

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Ulsinus, Dec 11, 2021.

  1. Ulsinus

    Ulsinus Member

    I wish to understand the detailed step-by-step process a 18 year-old would follow that took him from civilian status to becoming a rating in the RN.
    The service record states: 'Until the end of the period of the present emergency (vol)'.
    Grateful for help of forum members in resolving this matter.
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    do you have the full service records?
    not much to go on

    As it states he signed up 13th August 1941 and was possibly in the Navy till war end or soon after
    He would then go through training in the sphere he was placed in
  3. Ulsinus

    Ulsinus Member

    CL1 thank you for your response and interest.
    Apologies for the confusion.
    My question related to the call-up process and how that (vol) influenced this rather than the training he subsequently took in the service.
    Again apologies and thank you.
  4. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    My understanding, and I'm happy to be corrected, is that no one was conscripted direct into the RN. Rather one was conscripted into military service and you could then volunteer for the RN or RAF, who would then choose to accept or reject you. If rejected you then went into the Army. Alternatively you could pre-empt your call up and volunteer to join the RN and perhaps stand a better chance of being accepted. (vol) = volunteer so I would hazard a guess that he volunteered before receiving his call up papers.

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  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    do you have the full records to upload to show more context you might get a better answer

  6. bofors

    bofors Senior Member


    Could it be VOC? A couple of meanings -
    Verification of Certification,

    Verification of Competency
    Verbal Orders of the Commander

    I have no idea otherwise.


  7. Ulsinus

    Ulsinus Member

    Thanks Tim
    I assume on turning eighteen he would have had to register as a candidate for call-up to military service and then volunteer for the RN direct.
    Or the fact he had volunteered for the RN meant he could forgo that step?
    In terms of the engagement section of his service record. Were different wordings used if you were conscripted versus a volunteer?
  8. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Sorry I don't know.
  9. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Two sources for Services to obtain recruits - conscripts and volunteers.

    Upto June 1940 the age of registration for Military Training Act was 20 and 21 years of age.
    By June 1941 all men between 20 and upto 40 registered in July 1941 was first registration of 19 year olds.
    end 1941 was men of 18 1/2

    So as an 18 year old August 41 he was more probably a volunteer in advance of registration.

    Procedure was for volunteer of any age to apply at recruiting centre where officer of Ministry of Labour would determine position against schedule of reserved occupations (if reserved automatic no acceptance but service could apply for waiver).

    Navy had small requirement for manpower compared to Army or Air Force so proportion of enlistments was only a little lower than the intake from call up.

    On balance and from the annotation Vol looks like he was a Volunteer, not in a reserved occupation and desired by the RN.

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  10. Ulsinus

    Ulsinus Member


    Thank you for your detailed reply and if I have understood you correctly you are saying that an eighteen year-old could not be conscripted in 1941.

    Is that correct?

    Further to your enlistment comment it is interesting to note that in 1941 nearly 400,000 men applied to the navy.

    Of these only 137,860 were selected. Of this group 4449 joined on normal engagement, 40,812 as volunteers for Hostilities only. The remaining 92,599 were conscripts. Hostilities Only: Training the Wartime Royal Navy, Brian Lavery, p33.

    From this one would correctly conclude that the navy was very choosey as to who it would take.

  11. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    As always a qualified yes, he was not conscripted.

    He was just on the edge of registration - his date of birth will decide if he met the 18 1/2 year old registration implementation date.

    Remember the intent to change registration will have been announced before implementation.

    So although he may or may not have been registered, call up always lagged registration.

    My feeling is that he already had a strong desire for RN service, when of age, which he expressed at the recruiting office board swaying their decision.

    The announced changes in registration for the Military Training Act may have been secondary impetus for the timing of action.

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  12. Ulsinus

    Ulsinus Member

    His DOB was December 30, 1922, so he would have fallen in the end of year registration.
    Is that correct?
    So assuming that he did volunteer I presume he would get a letter from the RN with a travel warrant and expenses for the journey.
    Was there a standard sum that came with the travel warrant for all services? Was given in the form of a postal order?
    Perhaps outside your particular area of interest but I thought I would ask.
    If that's the case perhaps other forum members can help. Maybe someone may have a scan of the standard letter that was used.
    In any event thank you once again for your input. Very much appreciated.
  13. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    I can detail the common steps for conscription/enlistment but once they enter the respective RN/Army/RAF system I'm limited to RAF procedure.

    The Proclamation of 29th January 1941 was the inclusion of registration of men 18 1/2.

    The registrations took place in stages against the estimated manpower requirements for each service to provide sufficient supply dependent on equipment and training facilities being in place.

    The days that particular age groups were required to register at any local office of the Ministry of Labour was notified by Press and BBC.

    On registration the man gave age address occupation industry and employer along with personal particulars.

    He stated if he had any conscientious objections to military service.

    In none then he was asked for a preference for any one of the three services, told no guarantee given but where possible choice would be respected.

    Next letter was sent to employer asking to confirm or modify occupational info. The letter return started a first cut of those available to call up.

    Selected local offices of Ministry of Labour called Allocation Local Office then took the next steps to call up available men in the particular age class.

    Youngest first and single before married men were given 6 days notice to attend Medical Boards of chairman and three or four qualified mds. For Army this was at Allocation Local Office for RN and RAF this was at local RN/RAF recruiting centre (more than 6 miles - traveling expenses paid).

    After medical they were interviewed by recruiting officer of service they hoped or were scheduled to join.. His remarks and recommendation for posting was added to medical examination card and sent to divisional office of Ministry for Labour.

    In batches to meet service quotas Enlistment Notices issued instructing recipient to report to a particular unit or depot on prescribed day.

    For RAF the distance to Recruit Centre/Reception Centre usually meant rail travel so Warrant issued. But like before any distance over 6 miles could be done on local transport on expense provided by Allocation Local Office.

    So for RN volunteer rather than registered it was only really the location of the first stage of paperwork that changed.

    As always misfits occurred and this was handled by local personal interview when reported.

    Think that is all I can really add now - you need an RN nerd now

  14. Ulsinus

    Ulsinus Member

    Thanks Ross.
    The information you've provided has been invaluable.
  15. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

  16. Ulsinus

    Ulsinus Member

    A further entry from a 1941 RN rating service record for decoding.
    It is the line: CE127.4.
    Also I'm not clear of the significance of the symbol at the end of the line.
    I've carefully checked the service record and it doesn't appear anywhere else.

  17. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    The plus sign with a dot in each corner is usually a shorthand for a foot note but in this case I think its the Christian Cross symbol used to differentiate from other denominations.

  18. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    I would be almost certain this is the Occupational Sub-Classification No. for the trade that includes Grate Builder. CE may stand for Civilian Employment.

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  19. Ulsinus

    Ulsinus Member

    That will do very nicely Tim.
    Much appreciated.
    Thank you also to all those who have responded to my various posts regarding this service record.
    I now have all the information I need.
  20. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    The reply by Timuk struck a memory cord.

    Took a bit but finally found a discussion on Industry Groups from 2015 where PeteT posted in #6

    "Thanks for your feedback too: I have just ploughed through the various listings and come up with the following Industry Groups. The listing is obviously incomplete but it may be a useful start point. If anyone else has any they can add please let me know and I will update the list:

    AB Building and Decorating
    AC Public Works Contracting, Construction of works (other buildings), Mine and Well Sinking
    CD General Engineering, including Boilermaking (not marine)
    CE Stoves, Grates, Ranges, Pipes, Cast Iron Hollow Ware, Iron Castings, General Ironfounding"

    Industry groups.

    So confirmed it is related to his occupational group and the symbol is probably a mark for a footnote.

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