Mark A. Reid wrote:Good Morning;
Might I just congratulate Martin and Frogsmile on their swift and comprehensive replies, you two certainly know your " stuff! " If I might make a couple of quick observations;
- The belief on the Lower Deck was that the lanyard was intended to keep the seaman's knife, or " pusser dirk, " attached to the man so that never the twain would part. When seamen stopped wearing jumpers, collars, silk et al and donned Work Dress for everyday wear, the knife was transferred, still on a lanyard, to a trouser pocket but the lanyard continued to be worn, as obsolete as bell-bottomed trousers and the silk, but still an integral part of a man's kit. Boatswains, or bos'uns, who were occasionally required to pipe the side, invariably wore their pipe on a silver-coloured chain, marking them as " Real " seamen ... whatever that meant! I believe the Gunnery Branch made the same claim, and probably the Torpedo Branch, and so on. The silver chain became an unofficial badge of this branch for many years.
- The badge worn by the natty-looking Petty Officer 1st Class is actually a gun barrel crossed with a Whitehead torpedo and dates the photo to sometime in the final decade of the 19th century until about 1903, I believe. The man is a Torpedo Coxswain and would almost certainly have served in a Torpedo Boat Destroyer, as they were called at the time. This was a vital appointment that combined the duties of Coxswain, Boatswain, Master-at-Arms and senior Torpedo rating in a small ship. A very busy man indeed!
Although we are more used to seeing the Gunnery and Torpedo branches sporting their own badges, in the early days the torpedo-trained seamen wore Gunnery badges that initially incorporated both a gun and a torpedo. Eventually they separated into their own branches, each wearing either a gun or a torpedo exclusively.
Great photo of someone who must have been a real dynamo, I wonder what happened to him?
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