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Author Topic: 19th century Continuous Service records  (Read 22 times)

Noel Clark

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19th century Continuous Service records
« on: 11 August 2018 12:43:29 PM »

Hello all.

My question is about 19th century service records for Continuous Service ratings such as George Edward Mills 9172A.

I have looked at a number of Continuous Service Engagement Books for such ratings, and they all end (as does George’s) with a list of vessels served on and dates of service thereon. At the bottom of the list, after perhaps a couple of annotations in red pen, there is in black pen the capital letter ”W” followed by a date. This date is generally within a month either side of the date of discharge from the rating’s last vessel.

In George’s case, after just over his time of 10 years’ service, he was discharged from HMS Clio to shore on 8th March 1873, and other records show that this discharge was actually in Sydney, New South Wales. In George’s case his “W date” is 17th October 1873.

Nowhere can I find any reference to show me what the letter “W” stands for. My best guess is that it might be a reference to Woolwich, possibly the pay office, and that the date is that of correspondence either to or from Woolwich concerning the rating’s final pay. Some records show the “W”, followed by the date, and a comment such as “For pension” and/or “For medal.”

Can anyone help me with the meaning of “W” and its date please?

As mentioned, George took his discharge in Sydney, despite having a young wife (c. 23) and son (c. 4) back in Westport, County Mayo. Perhaps he wanted to start a new life, but I have found no trace of him in Australia. On another record I saw a rating take his time-expired discharge in Malta. Would the RN have transported such men back to the U.K. or left them to their own devices once discharged?

Thank you,
Noel
"Marvellous Melbourne"
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