RFA Promotion

Norm
13th January 2012, 01:28
Just for my own interest..again..I'm wondering if any of those deck and engineer officers who joined the RFA from commercial shipping companies could achieve master or chief engineer rank, or were these positions only for ex RFA cadets. Similarly does the RFA recruit officers from the general merchant service today?. That is if there are any vacancies in this time of savage cut backs.

Pat Thompson
13th January 2012, 07:46
Greetings,

Morning Norm, I'm ex-commercial now ex RFA wh achieved command, it's a meritocracy. I realise that sounds a bit own trumpet blowing but that was not intended.

LouisB
13th January 2012, 12:46
Just for my own interest..again..I'm wondering if any of those deck and engineer officers who joined the RFA from commercial shipping companies could achieve master or chief engineer rank, or were these positions only for ex RFA cadets. Similarly does the RFA recruit officers from the general merchant service today?. That is if there are any vacancies in this time of savage cut backs.

I agree with Pat. Possibly the only thing these days is that although MN certification gives basic entrance standards, the further re-training for the vessels various roles is somewhat different, as the present day requirements of the RFA mean carrying out tasks well outside the MN envelope. It is not always to the taste of all, although training for what is required will be given in RN shore establishments including warfare courses for senior officers. Although civilian, RFA personnel are legally classed as 'sponsored reserve' forces to maintain legality when in combat areas or other military duties. The vessels are by and large armed.

There have been quite a few well decorated (both service and civilian) senior RFA officers whose background was the commercial merchant service. I believe that some Cadets now carry out part of their training at Dartmouth.




LouisB

James_C
13th January 2012, 13:13
Louis,
From what I'm told, before RFA cadets attend their first phase at a Nautical college, they must now spend some 8 weeks or so at Dartmouth.
Also when applying, all new applicants, whether prospective Cadets or qualified Officers, must also apparently go through the Admiralty Interview Board process.

LouisB
13th January 2012, 14:08
Louis,
From what I'm told, before RFA cadets attend their first phase at a Nautical college, they must now spend some 8 weeks or so at Dartmouth.
Also when applying, all new applicants, whether prospective Cadets or qualified Officers, must also apparently go through the Admiralty Interview Board process.

Thanks for that James,

Although I keep in touch with some of my old peer group and a few serving officers I am now, as you probably gather somewhat out of the loop. I can see the way that the training is (slowly) going although I think it is regularising what was beginning in the seventies.

There were quite a few 'grey areas' in the past' (that we did anyway) but with the changes in Orders in Council (1989) and direct command from CINCF it has put things on a legal and referrable basis although this would probably have been the fallback position if anything nasty happened (Falklands 1982?) and questions were asked.

Hard to tell if we are mongrel or hybrid (Pint)

Aye,


LouisB

Norm
14th January 2012, 00:50
Thanks fellows. I imagine those 8 weeks at Dartmouth include marching and saluting...When I got my first MN uniform I secretly saluted in front of a mirror with my cap on (sad). I suppose I can it tell now....I should have joined the RFA right away. Ships Nostalgia RFA section and the various web sites for the RFA make it so very interesting now. I wish all this information had been available back then.

LouisB
14th January 2012, 01:46
Thanks fellows. I imagine those 8 weeks at Dartmouth include marching and saluting...When I got my first MN uniform I secretly saluted in front of a mirror with my cap on (sad). I suppose I can it tell now....I should have joined the RFA right away. Ships Nostalgia RFA section and the various web sites for the RFA make it so very interesting now. I wish all this information had been available back then.

Hi Norm,

I wouldn't think too much about what might have been - most on SN are retired or have left the sea and are inclined to think of the more rosy times only. I did 11/12 years with the RFA when we had a Far East fleet and spent lots of time in Singapore and excercising around Australia and generally had a good time. The fact that I was sometimes going for thirty six hours solid replacing machinary parts in terrible heat to keep a wreck of a ship going followed up by being closed up at replenishment stations - all the bad parts are forgotten.

Yes it was exciting at times although it has now changed to a large degree and I doubt if I could get away these days with the way I behaved then! It's like most memories Norm - your inclined to remember the good times only.

Must take my medication. (Scribe)


LouisB

hillshepherd
14th January 2012, 09:44
Just for my own interest..again..I'm wondering if any of those deck and engineer officers who joined the RFA from commercial shipping companies could achieve master or chief engineer rank, or were these positions only for ex RFA cadets. Similarly does the RFA recruit officers from the general merchant service today?. That is if there are any vacancies in this time of savage cut backs.

Norm
The best answer to your question is that the present Commodore (that's the guy actually running the outfit, not the old style senior captain at sea) is ex-commercial. But then his first ship was under my command in 1978 and I taught him all I know - so that may explain it ! As for recruiting and promotion, there has always been great wastage amongst cadets - I was one of a huge number joining in 1954 and by 1960 I was the only one of my intake left. They said I lacked initiative ! (only joking) . Today the officers are very highly trained - you are getting virtually a combined MN and RN officer and these skills are very marketable. I believe many are head hunted so in the present post-SDR reductions I am sure those looking for jobs will have no problem.

Steve Oatey
15th January 2012, 19:56
Greetings,

Morning Norm, I'm ex-commercial now ex RFA wh achieved command, it's a meritocracy. I realise that sounds a bit own trumpet blowing but that was not intended.

I would say it was only theoretically a meritocracy. In the late 80's Engineers who were not qualified/eligible for promotion could get themselves promoted by having a relative on the promotion board.

chadburn
16th January 2012, 16:42
Just for my own interest..again..I'm wondering if any of those deck and engineer officers who joined the RFA from commercial shipping companies could achieve master or chief engineer rank, or were these positions only for ex RFA cadets.

There were similiar concern's when commercial shipping companies started their Cadet (not Apprentice) system's in the 1950's which led to problem's in regard's to "on the job" training.

Norm
17th January 2012, 01:27
One of the good things about Ships Nostalgia is that people with an interest in something can ask questions and people who know are happy to reply, and that also attracts the interest of others. Ships have been my undying interest for most of my life. Thanks to all who provided the answers and also those who contributed to the thread. Hillshepherd gave the ultimate example of an ex commercial officer ataining the highest possible position in the RFA, and Louis, I guess you are right. One cant spend too much time pondering what might have been in life. I'm happy with the way things turned out for me. One has to be confident that every decision was the right decision, after all, we are all still alive and kicking!.