Recruiting —– Join the Navy and see the World

Page_13 Page_10The Royal Navy was the largest Navy in the world at the beginning of the First World War. See the old photo of the 1916 Grand Fleet assembled for the Kings review at Spithead. The King would sail up and down each row of ships in the Admirals barge, the ships companies would man the sides and cheer their Monarch. The days of press gangs rounding up young men around the docks and pressing them into service in the Royal Navy was over. Now men needed to be recruited legally and the posters were intended to entice boys to join up. It was tempting for the poo, the uneducated and unemployed. The offer of food shelter clothing and a monthly wage was just too much to pass up. However, conditions were not so good, the food was of a low quality, duty was long and hard, living condition harsh and punishment often severe. Yet thousands of young men and boys flocked to the recruiting stations to join. The First World War was still thought of as a war of glory honour and courage.  The fame of the Home Fleet and the uniform was a strong enticement to many a young lad. Much has changed in the Royal Navy since those days. Conditions, pay and length of service have all changed for the better including better levels of education required. Recruiting has become an increasing problem in the 21st century.  In 1914 a new recruit was paid 0ne shilling and threepence per day. In 1955 when I joined as a boy seaman at HMS Ganges, I received five shillings every two weeks, the rest of my monthy pay of about one pound was deposited in a post office savings book for me. Once I went to sea my full pay was issued to me every two weeks. I last sailed aboard a Royal Navy ship in 1989, the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. Talking with a fellow officer he explained the difficulty today was getting recruits to do the menial tasks aboard ship. Jobs like swabbing the decks, clean the head, painting the ships side etc. New recruits were joining with college and university degrees and cleaning the head or wielding a paint brush was not what they joined for. Many new recruits completed a short service contract and left. It was costly training new recruits and to lose them after a few years was causing the navy many problems. The Royal Navy today is a mere shadow of the 1916 fleet review and maybe that is a good thing. The huge Dreadnoughts of the First World War started of the arms race we see today between Maritime nation. Today the nuclear missile submarine has replaced the large battleships as the Dreadnoughts of the seas. Here in Canada we have a lot of catching up to do, me thinks??????? Ready Aye Ready.   Maybe??????

God Bless and keep reading

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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