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Author Topic: Help deciphering service record please  (Read 708 times)

stuart kilminster

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Help deciphering service record please
« on: 16 December 2018 03:36:28 pm »

Can anybody help me. William Bourne S.P.O. RN  - I know RN stands for Royal Navy, But was does S.P.O stand for?  I have posted an image of his service record before and during WW1 as I have 3 medals for the WW1 not sure if he has any more. I would like help on what ships and where he sailed, and would he have taken part in any engagements? I have a photo of him, and on his uniform is a badge what looks like a propeller. Any information at all would really be much appreciated.
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PhiloNauticus

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Re: Help deciphering service record please
« Reply #1 on: 17 December 2018 08:50:36 am »


He was a Stoker. SPO - Stoker Petty Officer.
Coal fired boilers required a constant supply of coal to produce the steam - the original duties of a Stoker was to keep shovelling !  With the shift to oil fired engines their duties expanded and they became engineers, responsible for the whole propulsion system including hydraulics / firefighting etc

I will look through the record and get back with details of the ships listed
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PhiloNauticus

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Re: Help deciphering service record please
« Reply #2 on: 17 December 2018 12:06:05 pm »

Service Record
Pembroke
   from 30 Oct 95      A shore base/naval barracks located at Chatham

Wildfire      from 1 Nov 95      Base at Sheerness: it was a group of old ships used for accommodation/training
Anson      from 7 Oct 95      Battleship, built 1886.  At this time, she was serving in the Mediterranean, based at Malta.  Apart from the usual exercises, visits to Corfu; Piraeus; Crete; Cagliari; Salamis; Marmaris; Gibraltar; Patras. Returned England Jan 1900
Pembroke   from 1 Feb 00      see above
Severn      from 21 Sep 00      ‘Mersey’ class Cruiser, built 1885. Then based at Harwich, serving in the Reserve fleet as a Coastguard depot
Pembroke   from 24 Jul 02      see above
Venerable   from 12 Nov 02      Battleship, built 1899. Mediterranean Fleet; based at Malta. Usual exercises and visits to Gibraltar, Greek and Italian ports
Pembroke   from 1 Aug 05      see above
Blenheim   from 1 May 1907   Cruiser, built 1890, converted to a depot ship for destroyers in 1907, based at Chatham; some exercises and home port visits (Harwich etc)
Pembroke   from 30 Nov 11      see above
Crescent   from 1 May 12      Cruiser built 1892. Serving with the Home Fleet; used at this time to carry out new crews for ships on foreign stations
Dwarf       from 9 May 12      Gunboat built 1898. Your man would have joined her at Gibraltar. Gunboat then deployed to West Africa – Monrovia; Douala; Lobito; Lagos; Accra; Sierra Leone. Returned to England June 1913
Pembroke   from 5 Jun 13      see above
Columbine    from 25 Jun 13      An old sloop, original name Wild Swan, built 1876 and employed as a depot at Rosyth 
Pembroke   from 12 Feb 15      see above
Penelope   from 19 Feb 1915    Light Cruiser, built 1914. During WW1 based at Harwich as part of Commodore Tyrwhitt’s famous “Harwich Force” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_Tyrwhitt)

Ships details:
Anson, see:  https://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/hms_anson.htm
Severn, see: https://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/mersey_class.htm
Venerable, see:  https://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/ship.php?ShipID=1427
Blenheim, see: https://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/ship.php?ShipID=1218
Crescent, see:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Crescent_(1892)
Dwarf, see: http://forums.clydemaritime.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=15574
Penelope, see: http://www.hms-penelope.com/6---hms-penelope-1914#

Other notes from the Record:
Note at the bottom he was ‘2nd class for conduct’ in 1902. This was a punishment, involving extra work or drill no shore leave. It was awarded to persistent offenders ... 
Conduct: on the right-hand side is the yearly assessment of Character (that is conduct) and ability. Character was graded VG (Very Good), Good, Fair, Bad.    In the early years he seems to have been a problem – mostly VG but drops to Good and then Fair.  He is also noted as serving 7 days in cells in 1896. 
Ratings – Sto 2 – stoker 2nd class initially, but seems to have got his act together after 1902, being promoted to Ldg Sto = Leading Stoker and the Sto PO = Stoker Petty Officer.



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stuart kilminster

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Re: Help deciphering service record please
« Reply #3 on: 18 December 2018 03:22:11 pm »

Wow I am so impressed, a Big Thank you PhiloNauticus, this is a cracking site to be on, going though the posting, and reading the answers and replies, is interesting to say the least,, A big thank you to you all.
Stuart.
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chathamrat

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Re: Help deciphering service record please
« Reply #4 on: 01 April 2019 07:36:47 pm »

New to this Forum, and the site. I'm Richard Bourne, born and raised Chatham, but lived away since early 1970s. I've no connection with the Navy except through my Grandfather William, who's the subject of this message.

Stuart's been doing some digging for me in pursuit of information to accompany a small display of old Bill's WW1 medals. The reply from PhiloNauticus was certainly impressive, but there's one aspect on which perhaps he could comment further.

There's another ship of interest which doesn’t appear on his record. His Marriage certificate (from 1909) gives his "Rank or Profession" as Stoker on HM Ship Tartar. This is further borne out by an entry in the 1911 census, where the List of Officers, Crew and Royal Marines on board His Majesty's Ship "Tartar" includes SPO William Bourne, born Ashford Kent aged 34. A web search for Tartar came up with one description saying "one of the first ocean-going destroyers to be driven by steam turbines". As an oil burner shovelling was evidently no longer required and its pleasing to see that his conduct must have by then been good enough for him to be let loose on something relatively novel! I'd be interested to know more about that HMS Tartar (I see there were earlier and later ships of that name), and perhaps to understand why he was still recorded as being on the Blenheim.

I'd be grateful for any comments. Thanks in anticipation

Richard B
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PhiloNauticus

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Re: Help deciphering service record please
« Reply #5 on: 02 April 2019 02:35:03 pm »

Richard

The TARTAR he served on would have been the torpedo-boat destroyer (TBD) launched in 1907 and handed over to the Navy the following year: quite a full history may be found on Wiki:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Tartar_(1907)

In 1904 the new First Sea Lord, Admiral ‘Jacky’ Fisher, ordered that all future torpedo-boat destroyers should be oil-fired and over the next few years a group of twelve ships were ordered from different shipbuilders, to their own designs using oil-fired steam turbines.

The ships were  given names previously used by small ships of the Royal Navy, and because these included names such as Zulu, Mohawk and Maori, they became known as the Tribal class. 

Although the ships did achieve very high speeds, 34 – 36 knots, compared to 24 – 26 knots of the coal-fired ships, the ships were not deemed a great success: none of them were good ‘sea boats’ (i.e. they rolled too much and shipped too much water) and it was found that fuel consumption was higher than predicted. 

TARTAR when completed was part of the First Destroyer Flotilla attached to the Blenheim, based at Chatham. An outline of her service during the time your relative was serving onboard:   
1908 – 16 April commissioned at Southampton; then to the Medway to join the 1st DF.  Exercises locally and North Sea; port calls: Harwich / Kirkwall / Portsmouth
1909 – exercises locally and port calls: Harwich / South Queensferry / Fortrose / Lowestoft / Portsmouth
1910 – as before: exercises in North Sea and port calls: Harwich / Lowestoft / Portsmouth / Portland
1911 – as before: exercises locally and North Sea: port calls: Harwich / Portsmouth / Kirkwall

Small vessels like these early TBD’s (the term was later abbreviated to Destroyer) were not big enough to carry their own admin staff, so they had what was known as a “parent ship”, that looked after the pay and secretarial work.  This would usually be the vessels that were known as Depot Ships, at this time usually an elderly warship retired from active work.  The Blenheim was converted for this role in 1907. I would imagine he was drafted to Blenheim and then allocated to one of the TBD’s she was “parenting”.   It became the usual practice later to note the name of any destroyer a man was allocated to from the Depot Ship, on the Service Record, usually in brackets after the Depot Ships name, such as Blenheim (Tartar). This clearly did not happen with this record – probably because it was not yet a widespread practice.
TARTAR photo:
https://www.worldnavalships.com/ship_photo.php?ProdID=111502

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chathamrat

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Re: Help deciphering service record please
« Reply #6 on: 05 April 2019 08:51:38 pm »

Thats absolutely splendid - I'm very grateful.

Boilers seemed to be the family business, as William's son, my Dad, tended them at Chatham Dockyard through WW2, a period which included 3 years on a floating dock in Bermuda. Not me though - I "did' trains!

Very best wishes

Richard B
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