P&O trivia

jcolinwilliams
10th April 2013, 22:39
Does anyone know why P&O officers do not wear rings on their jacket sleeves.
Colin Williams

R58484956
11th April 2013, 12:03
At least the engineers wear them.

trotterdotpom
11th April 2013, 12:25
Does anyone know why P&O officers do not wear rings on their jacket sleeves.
Colin Williams

I thought they wore epaulettes, even on their square rig jackets.

John T

Bill Greig
11th April 2013, 12:34
All the officers wore epaulettes when I was with P&O, nobody had rings on their sleeves unless they had joined at short notice from another company.
Bill

jcolinwilliams
11th April 2013, 13:31
Good answer Bill, but why? Just a historical anomaly, or a specific reason; like shortage of braid or just to make the uniform cheaper?

R58484956
11th April 2013, 14:41
When I sailed with P&O for many years all engineers had gold on there sleeves, whereas mates/pursers had stripes on shoulders.

jcolinwilliams
11th April 2013, 15:52
Interesting distinction between Engineering and Deck. I am wondering if the deck officers were without rings to distinguish them from officers of the RN - or Cunard for that matter.

Clive Kaine
18th April 2013, 14:45
When I sailed with P&O (70s/80s), all officers wore braid on their shoulders, including engineers.
I never knew why - just a company preference I guess.

alan ward
18th April 2013, 15:10
It`s because P&O officers are not allowed to carry hankies so they have to wipe their noses on their sleeves as they did at home,and you don`t want snotty braid or scratched nostrils do you?

KEITHMAR
18th April 2013, 19:53
I thought everybody Alan knew that P&O officers NEVER had time to wipe their noses nor their arses I thought every.one knew that mmmmm more research required regards to all KEITHMAR

Pompeyfan
18th April 2013, 20:36
The pictures below may help. Taken in the early 1970s aboard Canberra the first picture shows all departments and ranks with with epaulettes on their shoulders. I was also aboard but not in the picture. The man sitting behind the table is Captain Wally Vickers. To his left(right of picture)is my boss the Surgeon, Dr Watson. Behind him is the Staff Captain Tony Merrick. Also shown is the Chief Engineer who I think was D. H. Smith. If memory serves me right, the picture shows them all in evening dress.

In those days we had blues for colder weather and whites for warmer climates. I too wore both being a Petty Officer, and the Dispenser was a Chief Petty Officer. We in the medical department were also deck department so wore gold with red of course. When in whites, the Dispenser wore a white jacket with gold buttons on the sleeves as seen in the second picture aboard the 1954 built Arcadia. He is to the far right of the picture, and I am to the far left also in whites but no jacket, although I had one but preferred the white shirt with epaulettes. The Dispenser also had epaulettes on the shoulders of his jacket as well as the buttons on his sleeves. Also sitting on the settee is the Assistant Surgeon next to me, and the Surgeon next to the Dispenser. Both in whites again with epaulettes and white shorts. I would not bee seen dead in with shorts!!. Also sitting on the settee in the Surgeons cabin are the two Nursing Sister the picture showing the entire medical team.

If memory serves me right, I think all officers whether deck, medical or engineering etc wore their rank on their sleeves when in blues. I certainly wore a large red cross on my sleeve inside a gold ring, and I think the the Dispenser were the same but with the gold buttons as well. Perhaps when blues were dispensed with everybody wore epaulettes?.

I hope this helps Colin?.

Ian6
19th April 2013, 12:09
A slight correction to David's last paragraph, those officers who wore their braid on the shoulder when in whites did the same when in blue uniform, see first picture of P&O uniforms from the 1960's.
P&O's uniforms, with braid on the shoulders, greatly pre-dated the 1919 Standard MN Uniform, with braid on the sleeves, see 2nd picture of the Officers in P&O ss Benares in 1862. (Picture from Peter Padbury's book 'Beneath the House Flag of the P&O')

Ian

alan ward
19th April 2013, 12:34
That has go to be the fattest bunch of officers I have EVER seen in a MN group photo,nothing wrong with the food,conditions or heavy workload there I think.I am surprised they weren`t all beached to get some lard off.I can still recall reaching 14stone,at 6 foot,and being warned to lose some......quick.

Tony Selman
19th April 2013, 13:35
I can confirm we definitely wore braid on our shoulders in whites and blues in the late 60's until I left in 1975.

waiwera
19th April 2013, 16:15
I think that in the mid 19th Century, and before, Officers in the RN - Lts's, Commanders and Captains were distinguished in rank by their epaulettes, rather than rank stripes on the sleeve. Therefore it may well be that P&O followed this on it's Merchant Ships. Even believe swords were worn in the P&O when wearing best uniform!
I do know that NZS wore their rank on the shoulder rather than the sleeve. Other subsidiaries - like P&O Container Fleets followed the same system when I served on the first Bay Boats in the early 70's. Not sure if P&O Nedlloyd (after the merger) continued this? However now all is Maersk and not even sure if uniform is still worn?
Certainly the P&O Ships are now (Like Cunard) just brands of American Carnival Cruises and ( I think) wear their rank on the sleeve.

WildBill
25th April 2013, 16:08
When I joined P & O, BSD, (2nd Engineer, in 1976), I was told that my uniform facings, buttons etc. would be provided.

They sent me two cap badges and one epaulette. I never did find out how this was supposed to be arranged.

Nick Messinger
8th July 2013, 11:13
I am in the process of putting together a website, dedicated to the 'Old P&O', from 1835-1972 and would greatly appreciate any input from anyone who served with the Company, as I and my younger brother, Phil did, as Cadets and then Deck Officers, from 1961-1972.
Phil's last ship was as 1/O Canberra in 1972 and mine was Chusan, as 1/O in the same year. Phil left to command an offshore survey ship while I opted for nuclear submarine training with the RN.
The website can be found at:

http://www.pandosnco.co.uk

Yours aye
Nick Messinger
www.nickmessinger.co.uk

jcolinwilliams
14th July 2013, 19:27
I have been amazed at the number of interesting and informative posts to this thread. Thank you all for you contribution. I am concluding that it is just the way it was, although Alan Ward's humour raised more than a smile. Thinking of the RN term "snotty" for Midshipman who wore no braid on the sleeve.
Come to think of it, CPOs may have worn the three buttons to try and break the habit!

Stephen J. Card
14th July 2013, 20:59
The way I was told was like this...


The Royal Navy is gentlemen trying to be officers and the Merchant Navy is officers trying to be gentlemen.

The P&O is neither trying to be both!

Pat McCardle
15th July 2013, 13:52
I'm sure all the deck officers wore braid on the sleeves as well as their shoulders when I was with P&O 1977-79...& also painted on their hard hats too!

trotterdotpom
15th July 2013, 15:12
I'm sure all the deck officers wore braid on the sleeves as well as their shoulders when I was with P&O 1977-79...& also painted on their hard hats too!

That would be handy if you left the epaulettes on your pyjamas.

John T

Ian6
15th July 2013, 22:19
In the 1950's and 60's in P&O we wore our uniform caps when on deck, hard hats were still a gleam in a Health and Safety Committee man's eye.

I never heard of anyone suffering an accident that would have been avoided by wearing a hard hat.

Ian

trotterdotpom
16th July 2013, 00:15
[QUOTE=Ian6;690301]In the 1950's and 60's in P&O we wore our uniform caps when on deck, hard hats were still a gleam in a Health and Safety Committee man's eye.

I never heard of anyone suffering an accident that would have been avoided by wearing a hard hat.

Ian[/QUOTE

I agree. Useless things, except when worn by politicians being "earthy" during television interviews.

Almost as bad as those dopey bike helmets - we get fined in Australia if we don't wear them. The big mistake is not fining people for just riding bikes and being a pain in the ar*e. Sorry for the outburst .... back to P&O.

I've done two short cruises with P&O Australia recently - first experiences of cruising, but wasn't all that impressed. I saw what I think was a deck officer of some sort and he was sweating ... in public! Disgraceful. Easy to see the effect that Disneyland (or whoever owns P&O these days) is having.

John T

Trooper
12th June 2014, 22:30
Anyone know what happened to Lyall Guthrie, Second Engineer on the Empire Fowey in 1958?
Knew him on trooping voyage to Singapore via Mombasa in June/July 1958. Wondered if he is still alive and if so any contact info.

Thanks, Troooper

R58484956
13th June 2014, 16:23
Greetings Trooper and welcome to SN. Bon voyage.

Robert S Hill
1st August 2014, 22:58
There were men of the Merch, officers of the RN and then there was P&O a sort of marine horse guards. We wore braid on our shoulders so that if we sunk we could easily be spotted by the glint of the sun on our epaulettes. Simples!