THE ROYAL NAVAL RESERVE
SERVICE RECORD
OF
JOHN WILSON
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SERVICE RECORD

The following Service details were kindly provided by the Ministry Of Defence - Navy Search, Hayes.

My grandfather in uniform, front left.
From the "Caps and Sleeve Markings" chart, a single wavy sleeve insignia indicates a commissioned Skipper/Chief Skipper (equivalent to a Sub-Lieutenant or Commissioned Warrant Officer, RN)

Full Name: John Wilson

Date and place of birth: 15 February 1899. Newhaven, Leith, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland

Parents: John Watson Wilson and Margaret Wilson

Wife: Jane Farquharson Wilson

Religion: Presbyterian

Occupation prior to entry: Trawling

Personal description: Height: 5ft 7ins
Chest: 36ins
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Brown
Complexion: Fresh

Official Service Number: DA14647

Official Service Number (as of 8 September 1924): WS 2354

Date of entry: 15 February 1917

Ship/Shore establishments served on:

HMS Boadicea 2   Auxiliary Patrol Parent Ship, Dublin   15/2/17 - 6/12/17
HMT Emley Hired Trawler 7/12/17 - 26/4/18
HMT Trumpeter Hired Trawler 27/4/18 - 3/6/18
HMT Grosbreak Hired Trawler 4/6/18 - 31/12/18
HMS Gunner Auxiliary Patrol Base, Granton 1/1/19 - 9/2/19

My grandfather was demobilised to shore on 9 February 1919 and returned to his civilian occupation. He remained a member of the RNR and on 29 August 1939 was recalled for war service with the Royal Naval Patrol Service. His record continues as:

HMS Pembroke 10 RN Patrol Service Base, Lowestoft 29/8/39 - 21/9/39
HMT Regal Anti Submarine Trawler  22/9/39 - 8/11/39
HMS Romola Minesweeping Base, Lowestoft 9/11/39 - 5/12/39
HMT Rutlandshire   Anti Submarine Trawler 6/12/39 - 20/4/40
HMS Europa RN Patrol Service Base, Lowestoft 21/4/40 - 8/6/40
HMS Pembroke 4 RN Accounting Base, Great Yarmouth   9/6/40 - 23/8/43
HMS Europa RN Patrol Service Base, Lowestoft 24/8/43 - 9/10/43
HMS Caroline RN Base Ship, Belfast 10/10/43 - 17/9/45
HMS Europa RN Patrol Service Base, Lowestoft 18/9/45 - 24/11/45

I am often asked questions about the names and history of the Sparrows nest, Lowestoft so I managed to obtain the following information from Leo Whisstock, secretary for the RNPS, Lowestoft.

 

HMS Pembroke 10

Sparrow's Nest, Lowestoft, RN Patrol Service HQ. Commissioned 21/12/39 – 14/3/40. Subsequently renamed HMS Europa. First men arrived 24/8/39. White Ensign aloft 29/8/39.

 

HMS Romola

Lowestoft, M/S Base commissioned 7/11/39, paid off 14/3/40. Name selected for commercial port of Lowestoft 1/9/39. Name used for Depot Ship Lowestoft, but discontinued at same time as HMS Europa taken into use as name for RN Patrol Service Depot.

 

 HMS Europa

Sparrow's Nest, Lowestoft, Patrol Service Central Depot. Site requisitioned 23/8/39. Staff arrived 25/8/39, 1st recruits arrive 26/8/39, 1st draft out 27/8/39. Was HMS Pembroke 10 to 15/2/40, then HMS Romola (see note below), then HMS Europa 14/3/40. Paid off 1/6/46. Re-commissioned as tender to HMS Pembroke 4, 1/6/46. Closed down 27/8/46.

 Note:  HMS Romola was Lowestoft Base, and the name ceased use 14/3/40. HMS Europa first listed as Lowestoft Base but was solely for RN Patrol Service Depot.

There was a plan to move the Depot to the Lion Hotel at Shrewsbury 6/40, then to the Barge Hotel Shrewsbury, but both plans were cancelled.

Information supplied by Lt Cdr Warlow RN from the book "Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy

My grandfather was released to shore in Class A on 24 November 1945 and was finally retired from service (due to age) on 15 February 1949.

Ranks & Ratings held:

Deck Hand 15/2/17 - 7/9/24
Skipper 8/9/24 - 7/9/34
Chief Skipper 8/9/34 - 30/12/41
Skipper Lieutenant   31/12/41 - 15/2/49

Character: Very good throughout

The artwork contained on this page is entirely the personal work and property of ÓGraham Muir and has been reproduced here with his kind permission. Un-authorised publishing on any other website is strictly forbidden. Please ask Graham (gashmuir@btinternet.com) and I'm sure he'll be happy to provide.

 

The outside diameter of the wavy ring (similar in appearance to the ‘Star of David’) placed on top of the band is 1.75 inches (being tailor made, no two were probably exactly the same). The rank for a Skipper and that of a Chief Skipper is denoted by the thickness of the lace making up the waves. For Skippers, the wavy lines are made from two 0.125 inch thick stripes of lace laid one over the other to form a band 0.5626 inches wide. For a Chief Skipper (and all higher ranks) the lace is 0.28125 inches wide but still forming a band of 0.5625 inches i.e. there is less gap between the two lines as they bow away from each other.

 

The wavy ring is made from two interwoven triangles using the same thickness of lace as used around the sleeve. This is then attached so that the bottom point comes halfway down one thickness of lace.

 

The seniority of an officer is first established by his Service. In descending order RN, RNR, RNVR i.e. a Chief Skipper (the equivalent of a Sub. Lieutenant) is senior to the two Sub. Lieutenant RNVR officers on the Rutlandshire by being RNR.

 

Within a Service, officers of equal rank have their seniority decided by the date of their promotion. In the case of World War 2, a Temporary (Tempy) officer indicated that they had volunteered/been called up since the outbreak of war and were not in the pre war RNVR (almost all naval officers called up in WW2 were commissioned into the RNVR). Probationary (Proby) means they have not long been in the navy (generally less than a year). The two Tempy. Sub-Lieut (proby) RNVR officers on the Rutlandshire must have been able to stand watches otherwise my grandfather would not have been able to sleep! They must have also been over 22, otherwise their rank would have been Midshipman.

RNR Training Record:

HMS Victory XI   Portland Naval Depot 20/10/24 - 3/11/24
HMS Victory XI Portland Naval Depot 7/9/25 - 20/9/25
HMS Victory XI Portland Naval Depot 8/9/26 - 21/9/26
HMS Victory XI Portland Naval Depot 1/8/28 - 15/8/28
HMS Victory XI Portland Naval Depot 28/5/30 - 10/6/30
HMS Victory XI Portland Naval Depot 30/3/32 - 12/4/32
HMS Boscawen Portland Naval Depot 22/8/34 - 5/9/34
HMS Boscawen Portland Naval Depot 8/7/36 - 21/7/36
HMS Boscawen Portland Naval Depot 31/8/38 - 13/9/38
HMS Pembroke 10 Patrol Service Base, Lowestoft   28/9/38 - 3/10/38

 

A fine group of Commissioned Skippers.
This photograph can be found at the RNPS museum, Lowestoft and is probably a group of trainee Skippers with a Lieutenant RN, taken at either HMS Victory XI or HMS Boscawen, Portland Naval Depot. Year of photograph is unknown.
My grandfather is in the back row, 2nd from the left.


Please contact f.wilson@royal-naval-reserve.co.uk for further information regarding this site.

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