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John Albert Evans
18th June 2011, 08:28 AM
Hello,
Since joining this site last month I have enjoyed reading all the contributions made by current and ex merchant seaman.
One thing came to my mind last night and that is we were all issued with a Discharge Book and number, the number begins with the prefix letter 'R'.
What does the 'R' stand for.
Cheers

John Albert Evans R668413.

Mike Newell
18th June 2011, 02:41 PM
The R is the prefix introduced in the mid 1920's which indicate the owner is of British origin. There are various letters for other nationalities

DeepSea
18th June 2011, 03:35 PM
The UK prefix came in to play about 1973.

Gordon Turnbull
21st June 2011, 05:49 AM
1st January '73 I seem to recall.

DeepSea
21st June 2011, 10:21 AM
1st January '73 I seem to recall.

Not sure about the month as I have seen both R & UK prefix for 1973

Mike Hall
21st June 2011, 03:47 PM
whilst collecting names for the flags,i have come across the following.
there are earlier numbers without the "R"
then there is the " R"
followed by the "UK"
then the irish one "E"
I have a couple of indian ones,they start with" IND"
and finally" BAR",for barbadus.
anymore known,please let us know.
mike:cool:

Gordon Turnbull
22nd June 2011, 07:45 AM
I say 1st January '73 as I left the Bridgepool on 2nd Jan '73 in Avonmouth. As soon as I reported to the Pool a couple of weeks later, I was told I had to get a new Discharge book as R's were oot the windae.

Gulliver
22nd June 2011, 10:04 AM
I say 1st January '73 as I left the Bridgepool on 2nd Jan '73 in Avonmouth. As soon as I reported to the Pool a couple of weeks later, I was told I had to get a new Discharge book as R's were oot the windae.



A slight misunderstanding there I think,Gordon.
It was only the TITLE of the Discharge Book that changed,not the’ R’ No.That is why they were replaced.
For example my first Discharge Book (R 878267) -issued Cornhill,Liverpool on 20/2/70 was entitled
“Seaman’s Record Book and Certificates of Discharge “ and had two spaces for report of your character regarding Ability ,and General Conduct..(e.g. VG or DR etc.)
They were replaced in 72/73 by a new book entitled “Seaman’s Discharge Book”. They no longer had the Character Report spaces.
For example mine was issued at Glasgow(standing by a ship) on 13/12/72.
One still kept your original ‘R ‘ No. when the new style book was issued.

R’ ‘No’s themselves prefixed R8 ------ and R9------ were coming to the end of the series anyway and were succeeded in 1973 by the new UK------ series.
Regards
Gulliver

Gordon Turnbull
24th June 2011, 09:35 AM
A slight misunderstanding there I think,Gordon.
It was only the TITLE of the Discharge Book that changed,not the’ R’ No.That is why they were replaced.
For example my first Discharge Book (R 878267) -issued Cornhill,Liverpool on 20/2/70 was entitled
“Seaman’s Record Book and Certificates of Discharge “ and had two spaces for report of your character regarding Ability ,and General Conduct..(e.g. VG or DR etc.)
They were replaced in 72/73 by a new book entitled “Seaman’s Discharge Book”. They no longer had the Character Report spaces.
For example mine was issued at Glasgow(standing by a ship) on 13/12/72.
One still kept your original ‘R ‘ No. when the new style book was issued.

R’ ‘No’s themselves prefixed R8 ------ and R9------ were coming to the end of the series anyway and were succeeded in 1973 by the new UK------ series.
Regards
Gulliver

That is what I was basically saying Gulliver. I didn't mention the old conduct and ability though. So you had the new style book in December '72? Intersting. As I said I only thought it was Jan 73 as that is when I changed mine. Wonder who got R999999????:p

Brenda Shackleton
24th June 2011, 11:26 AM
My Dad's first ship as a Deck Boy was the LLanstephen Castle in March 1922. His Cert. of Discharge number was 1071065. No letter prefix.

There is another number for ' Master' 108050

William Joseph Hartley - Master of Rescue Ships, ' Copeland' and ' Goodwin'

I have found 2 more Discharge Papers.
1. ' For a seaman not discharged before a Superindentent of a Mercantile Marine Office'
Issued when he was 2nd mate on SS Rockabill on 21;12;34 in Waterford, Eire

2.' For a seaman discharged before a Superintendent or a Consular Officer'
Issued when he was 1st Mate on RS Beachy on 11 ;01; 41 in Glasgow ( date the Beachy was sunk ) Obviously the Discharge book survived along with him !
So, why did he need these extra papers?

Regards
Bren Shackleton

Ivan Cloherty
24th June 2011, 11:58 AM
My Dad's first ship as a Deck Boy was the LLanstephen Castle in March 1922. His Cert. of Discharge number was 1071065. No letter prefix.

There is another number for ' Master' 108050

William Joseph Hartley - Master of Rescue Ships, ' Copeland' and ' Goodwin'

I have found 2 more Discharge Papers.
1. ' For a seaman not discharged before a Superindentent of a Mercantile Marine Office'
Issued when he was 2nd mate on SS Rockabill on 21;12;34 in Waterford, Eire

2.' For a seaman discharged before a Superintendent or a Consular Officer'
Issued when he was 1st Mate on RS Beachy on 11 ;01; 41 in Glasgow ( date the Beachy was sunk ) Obviously the Discharge book survived along with him !
So, why did he need these extra papers?

Regards
Bren Shackleton


Hi Brenda

Don't know when the "R" prefix was introduced, but they were in existence in 1927 when my father Ivan Cloherty R96096 first went to sea.

In your 1, sometimes paper discharges were issued when the Dis A book was not available, or he may have been travelling as a supernummary, I know when travelling as a Supt, I was issued with a paper discharge because I had a Discharge book, but entries could not be made in the actual book, another one of those wierd rules

Your 2, his Dis A book may not have survived, or if it did, it may have been recovered later, or the Dis A book you hold may be an official replacement, you always retained your original number

Not much help just a train of thought

Ivan

Brenda Shackleton
24th June 2011, 02:43 PM
Thank you, Ivan.
His Discharge book is definitely the original, with all sorts of dated stamps.
regards
Bren Sh.

Hugh
24th June 2011, 04:00 PM
When seamen first began to be numbered and registered in the late nineteenth century it is presumed their Dis A numbers began with 0000001, certainly they reached 1000000 by the middle to late 1920's. At this point a new series of numbers was issued to new entrants with an 'R' prefix, and when these had all been issued they began again with a 'UK' prefix. So when researching a seaman it is important that his full discharge number is quoted as it is possible for seamen from different times to have the same numerical identity. For example 151230, R151230 and indeed UK151230.

As Mike has also stated other prefixes were also used to denote nationality.

Regards
Hugh

Gordon Turnbull
8th August 2011, 09:44 AM
Bumping up as I just got home last week and was perusing my old books. Now, a strange thing. My new book was issued on 9th November '72. I joined the Bridgepool on the 20th and signed on and off on my old style book, but, without any copy of report or character. So the books were in use in '72 but for some reason mine was not used until Jan '73 on the Summity. Strange.

Louis the Amigo
8th August 2011, 11:07 AM
Hi shipmates' I got the two kinds The one full of DRs and V.N.Cs. and the new one spotless:D:D:D

Ray McCerery
8th August 2011, 12:32 PM
First DB R700943 issue Jan 59 Tilbury
New Book R700934 issue Nov 72 South Shields
continue book R700943 RSS Cardiff 91

From 72 all new entrants were issued with dis book prefix UK

From 2005 all new entrants were issued with dis book DB + Number

Anyone employed on a British company entitled to a seaman's discharge book regardless of nationality.

Ray

Lou Barron
9th August 2011, 01:19 AM
what i eould liketo know without bragging is there any living member alive on this site with a discharge book with a number on or before my number R227743

DeepSea
10th August 2011, 12:27 AM
From 72 all new entrants were issued with dis book prefix UK



Not according to these entries at the link below. R & UK were both being issued to new entrants in 1973

ALL AT SEA - Men of Steel 1970's & 80's (http://www.allatsea.cx/1970.html)

Gordon Turnbull
12th August 2011, 09:28 AM
Think the guy with R901.... in '73 might be mistaken as to his dates. Mine is as you can see R909 and that was early '72.