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Thread: Merchant Navy uniform world war 1, can you ID this uniform please?

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    Default Merchant Navy uniform world war 1, can you ID this uniform please?

    Does anyone have any knowledge of world war 1 ranks and shipping lines please? I am a volunteer, cataloguing world war 1 military portraits and I have come across this studio photo. I assume it is Merchant Navy.

    G36-365-12.jpg - Herefordshire History

    You can click on the "view larger image" option for magnification. I am just interested in the cap badge and the rank insignia please .

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    Default Re: Merchant Navy uniform world war 1, can you ID this uniform please?

    Angela

    Looking at the single stripe on the sleeve under magnification - it shows a thin coloured stripe either side. This would suggest that he is a junior engineering officer or electrical engineer or even a medical officer, you cant tell which as the photo is in black and white, you would need to know the colour to define the department.

    I would suggest that the Cap Badge is British India Steam Navigation Company or possibly Royal Mail - photo very indistinct.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Chris Allman; 9th July 2017 at 10:04 PM. Reason: note
    When one door closes another one shuts, it must be the wind

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    Lewis McColl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchant Navy uniform world war 1, can you ID this uniform please?

    Did a Junior Eng officers braid not have a 1/2 diamond , would possibly be a white on gold 2nd Pursers braid ? It is possible as you say a company braid and may differ from standard MN braid!!!

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    Default Re: Merchant Navy uniform world war 1, can you ID this uniform please?

    Backing to braid was purple for an engineer, green for an electrician, white for a doctor. I sailed with engineers who insisted that the purple was given as the backing for their braid which I think was codswallop after the Titanic disaster. A diamond on the MN reconized braid signifies certification, so as a queens uniform should not be worn by uncertified persons, however you get every Tom Dick and Harry wearing it, so the law is never enforced. Might have been different in wartime don't know. A Radio officers braid the stripes were staggered and not straight, however today where if still carry would be a different job status and be straight braid with a green backing. JWS

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    Default Re: Merchant Navy uniform world war 1, can you ID this uniform please?

    Hi Angela.
    I would go along with Purser, I remember the purser on the Southern Cross with a thick whitish gold band. Maybe you could get up a picture of a purser from from the first world war for comparison.

    Cheers Des

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    Default Re: Merchant Navy uniform world war 1, can you ID this uniform please?

    #3... Lewis it was very rare to sail with an engineer in the 50's and early 60's below a chief engineer with a certificate. However saying that the second engineer had to go for a dispensation for every set of Articles he was on and every different ship he was on, so one could say he really had passed an examiner . During the war years this was called a permit and after the war received the description of dispensation. You are quite correct saying about the half braid worn by some 3rd mates and junior engineers. The fourth engineer was a watchkeeper as you know and wore the same braid as a certificated 3rd. Mate but on a purple background. To me he was entitled to wear the diamond as the same as the third engineer he would have received a grading from the then BOT or DOT. Today everyone apparently everyone can wave their piece of cardboard around as everyone has it in writing. The whole wide world of maritime individuals has progressed to a piece of paper, now that's progress. Cheers JWS

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    Default Re: Merchant Navy uniform world war 1, can you ID this uniform please?

    Angela just had a look at the photograph, I assume he is not a relative of yours. His uniform or their wise are you sure it want taken in one of these studios where they provide whatever you want to dress up as. The cap badge is not RN or MN that I know of. The braid looks like something john Wayne would of worn in a part for the US seventh cavalry. His handkerchief in his top pocket is definitely out of place and if he was off one of the famous Castle Boats would have carried it up his right sleeve. The RN and Merchant service uniforms were different in many ways but them RN it's commissioned ranks did not matter what branch you were in there were no distinguishing colours.
    Cheers JWS

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    Default Re: Merchant Navy uniform world war 1, can you ID this uniform please?

    Hi shipmates Doc Vernon is my expert go to man, on all things Merchant navy , the only thing I have from the first world war{Merchant NAVY} are bronze anchors badges Cap?

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    Default Re: Merchant Navy uniform world war 1, can you ID this uniform please?

    Of note, in the British Navy, and in the Merchant Navy as well, after the loss of the "Titanic", all Engineering officers were authorized to wear a row of purple cloth (A sort of broad "piping" ) between the rows of braid on their cuffs or shoulderboards to denote their service in the "Engineering Branch". I have heard that this was authorized to commemorate the loss of all of "Titanic's" engineering officer's, who gave their lives in order to give the ship and its passengers as much time as possible.*

    The above statement is not correct. It is a myth. The adding on of Purple to engineers uniform came about when engineers were reclassified from being Petty Officers to full officer status and also the same was applied to other ranks such as Electricians

    COLOURS GIVEN TO VARIOUS DEPARTMENT ARE AS FOLLOWS:
    * DECK OFFICERS OR NAVIGATING OFFICERS OR SHIP’S OFFICERS : * *FULL GOLDEN STRIPES. NO COLOUR.
    * ENGINEER OFFICERS: * * GOLDEN STRIPES WITH PURPLE COLOUR INBETWEEN.
    * ELECTRICAL OFFICERS : * ** GOLDEN STRIPES WITH GREEN COLOUR INBETWEEN.
    * MEDICAL OFFICERS : * ** GOLDEN STRIPES WITH RED COLOUR INBETWEEN.
    * PURSER OR CHIEF STEWARD OR HOSPITALITY DEPT: * * GOLDEN STRIPES WITH WHITE COLOUR INBETWEEN.cap badge.png

    Does anyone know why this standard MN officers cap badge was also known as a Bombay Spread?

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    Default Re: Merchant Navy uniform world war 1, can you ID this uniform please?

    Hi Des
    I wondered about purser , isn't he young for that rank? I was also puzzled by the buttons on the reveres of the collar
    Thanks
    Angela

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