Clues in a Royal Naval Reserve service card

April 27, 2018

One of the more obvious places to go for information on service personnel is The National Archives. And although I had visited the site a number of times at the start of my research I had somehow overlooked this resource when it came to finding the service card for William Cammish He had served in the Royal Naval Reserve, Trawler section, or RNR(T). I had already found his medal card, but hadn’t looked up his actual service card.

 

So for £3.50 I got hold of the RNR(T) service card details. It’s a standard form but with details handwritten in. Some of the writing was quite hard to decipher, but nearly all of it can be made out. Firstly it lists all the places he served at during the war and for the first two years he seems to have been based at Rosyth, amazingly just 8 miles away from where I am living now.

 

It also confirms that William had been discharged for several months after two years of service, and this coincides with the time he got married, which was in June 1918. It also confirms his promotion from Deck Hand to Second Hand which occurred during the same period. Maybe there were exams he had to sit during this period of leave.

 

And the form makes mention of Naval Prize Money, which was a new concept to me. Basically this money was given out to servicemen who had destroyed or captured enemy vessels during the course of the war. As William was killed before the end of the war, his widow Eliza was paid his prize money, amounting to £20 in 1920 and £30 in 1923 with a supplementary award of £4 added to the latter associated with a ‘RNR medal’. It doesn't inform as to which vessels were captured or destroyed.


It also mentions ‘chevrons awarded’, a hint again that his uniform would have had stripes on it, but it doesn’t tell me any more than that.

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