Not sure if it was in use during or pre Great War, but it seems to have been in use in the 30s at least.
My Grandfather was a fully paid up member of said brigade, often said there was far more unbridled lunacy on those ships than there ever was deepsea - the way he liked it!
My own grandfather lost at least 2 ships to Uboat action and his final ship hit a wreck which unfortunately he did not survive so I have to rely on archived material. Even with the limited number of ships and people I am researching there are many reported incidents which paint the picture of a rather chaotic and risky environment but also a sense of cameraderie. A guess a landlubber like me will never fully understand what it was like but I certainly respect what those guys did to keep the lights on.