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I've read on this site that engineers were officers as far back as the 19th century. Did they have access to the Saloon for meals from that time onward? I've a memory that they ate in the Engineers Mess until after WW2, when they were allowed in with the mates. How true?
ta, Norman
 

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I've read on this site that engineers were officers as far back as the 19th century. Did they have access to the Saloon for meals from that time onward? I've a memory that they ate in the Engineers Mess until after WW2, when they were allowed in with the mates. How true?
ta, Norman
I wasn't at sea immediately after WWII but, certainly, in 1958 when I first went off to sea the engineers were certainly considered to be officers, and they ate in the saloon. In there there was the question of rank: the master, chief engineer, chief officer, and senior second engineer sat at one table while the riff-raff ate wherever there was a space, generally a mix of deck and engineer officers who would fight furiously over who could steer his cockroach from the cereal packet over the end of the table first!

There was also the engineers "dirty mess" where grabbing a quick meal while dressed in an oily boiler suit was permissible as long as it was necessitated by engine room commitments. It was a privilege often abused, and masters and chief engineers would soon put a stop to frivolous abuses. Of course, the chief and senior second engineers were expected to never, ever, eat in the dirty mess since neither kept watches or worked field days.
 

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It was the same in Thos & Jas, off duty in the Saloon, on duty (at sea) the 2e/5th at teatime in the mess as well as the 4th/6th for a 7 bell breakfast. In port, it was soup and sarnies in the mess. Strangely enough, when in the tropics and working a tropical turn to (07.00 on the plates) you were expected to be in the saloon for breakfast. A modern equivalent of chasing the jasper was watching what one thought of as raisins in the Alpen coming to life and swimming for dear life to the edge of the bowl when the milk was poured in.
 

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I've read on this site that engineers were officers as far back as the 19th century. Did they have access to the Saloon for meals from that time onward? I've a memory that they ate in the Engineers Mess until after WW2, when they were allowed in with the mates. How true?
ta, Norman
Pre war they most certainly were segregated in some companies, with Mates and Engineers living in separate accommodation and therefore dining separately.
It probably harked back to sailing ships when the likes of Donkeymen first came on the scene - they were considered part of the crowd and not the afterguard.
 

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Pre war they most certainly were segregated in some companies, with Mates and Engineers living in separate accommodation and therefore dining separately.
It probably harked back to sailing ships when the likes of Donkeymen first came on the scene - they were considered part of the crowd and not the afterguard.
I've sailed on tankers chartered from LOF in the sixties that had deck officers midships and engineers and crew aft. The saloon was aft and used by all officers. Even in the RN, engineers were of warrant rank and were not commissioned until well after WW2. It was in the fifties that slowly the system changed and engineering officers were recognised by the Queens/Kings commission. As this meant that they now were members of the wardeoom, the Captain of the ship gave some leeway to behavioral differences until people had settled in.

On a somewhat looser connection, the RFA sends it's officer cadets to Britannia Royal naval College in Dartmouth for a few months prior to going to study for their specialty 'tickets' - this includes drill etc and no doubt etiquette. For the times they are a changing. B\)


LouisB. (Scribe)
 

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I wasn't at sea immediately after WWII but, certainly, in 1958 when I first went off to sea the engineers were certainly considered to be officers, and they ate in the saloon. In there there was the question of rank: the master, chief engineer, chief officer, and senior second engineer sat at one table while the riff-raff ate wherever there was a space, generally a mix of deck and engineer officers who would fight furiously over who could steer his cockroach from the cereal packet over the end of the table first!

There was also the engineers "dirty mess" where grabbing a quick meal while dressed in an oily boiler suit was permissible as long as it was necessitated by engine room commitments. It was a privilege often abused, and masters and chief engineers would soon put a stop to frivolous abuses. Of course, the chief and senior second engineers were expected to never, ever, eat in the dirty mess since neither kept watches or worked field days.
Exactly my experience on ships that I sailed on and in later life, as an Agent, on all ships regardless of flag or nationality that I was invited to have lunch on board.
 

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There was also the engineers "dirty mess" where grabbing a quick meal while dressed in an oily boiler suit was permissible as long as it was necessitated by engine room commitments. It was a privilege often abused, and masters and chief engineers would soon put a stop to frivolous abuses.
On ships I sailed on it was called the duty mess.
 

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Even in the RN, engineers were of warrant rank and were not commissioned until well after WW2. . B\) [/B]
LouisB. (Scribe)
I'm not sure that is correct - pre WW1 possibly but my Father remembered being interviewed by an Engineer Commander when he joined the RN as an Artificer in the 1930s and his memoirs mention various Senior Engineers on HMS Warspite using officer ranking. during WW2. When he was in Combined Ops in 43 / 44 / 45 his officer was an RNR Engineer Lieutenant (who was a speedway rider!)
 

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I believe that RN Engineering Officers did not wear the executive curl before WW1 and 'The War' changed all that.
They had purple distinction cloth between the rings from some time around 1860.

Officers, but not Executive Officers maybe...
 

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I'm not sure that is correct - pre WW1 possibly but my Father remembered being interviewed by an Engineer Commander when he joined the RN as an Artificer in the 1930s and his memoirs mention various Senior Engineers on HMS Warspite using officer ranking. during WW2. When he was in Combined Ops in 43 / 44 / 45 his officer was an RNR Engineer Lieutenant (who was a speedway rider!)
I think that they were warrant officers - the warrant being issued my a board of the Admiralty as opposed to commissioned officers. However, you may be correct. After checking with various sources including Wiki I can see that there were commissioned engineers with a civil ranking system from around 1910 - not all sources were in agreement about engineering officers with the Monarchs commission as opposed to board of Admiralty commissions. All very complicated.
My apologies for misleading you I should have researched it more before quoting.


LouisB. (Scribe)
 

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oil and water, beer and wine (champagne), who leads, who gets you there? where is the team? and do not forget the communications officer (sparks- not the electrical officer). Blast I forgot the crew, who shovel the shonet!
 

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LouisB if you research too much before posting you will loose a lot of the freshness and spontaneity that SN is renowned for. And we will be denied many points of discussion.
I know this is true because I never do any research.
 

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If you want to try and make sense of the RN arrangements for engineers of any description, get hold of a copy of "Up Funnel, Down Screw" by Cdr. Goeffrey Penn, R.N. It catalogues the whole convoluted story.
 

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I felt that we engineers were not regarded by the mates as 'proper' officers, sometimes engendered by our own behavious (mea as culpa as any).
Do recollect 3/O coming on board with large and obvious lovebite on his neck and being given someting of a telling off by the OM. I doubt that an engineer in such a condition would have merited even a raised eyebrow :)
 
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