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I only sailed on foreign flagged ships 1960's - 1970's, they were Norwegian, German and Danish, all the Officers and Captains were European and it was only on the passenger ship the R V Star where the Captain and Officers wore their uniform daily while at sea or in port.

On the cargo ships and tankers that I sailed on the Captains/Officers had khaki shirts and sometimes black/blue jackets, the only time that you saw stripes was with the Pilot onboard or in port and then the Captain/Officers would put the stripe boards in the epaulettes and wear their Caps.
When you think about it all of the crew knew who the Captain/Officers were so there was no need for the stripes to be on show when the ship was at sea.

I have seen it on many photos from British merchant ships from the 1960's/1970's that the Captain/Officers wore their uniforms while at sea was that the norm?

Cheers Frank
 

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I think to a large extent, it depended on the Company's rules.

In the 50s, Blue Star - always [but we carried passengers]
Ropner's - yes, in my experience.
But the North Cornwall [North Shipping Co, Newcastle] it was optional.
 

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I think to a large extent, it depended on the Company's rules.

In the 50s, Blue Star - always [but we carried passengers]
Ropner's - yes, in my experience.
But the North Cornwall [North Shipping Co, Newcastle] it was optional.
Ropners, we had to wear uniforms at sea, I think this stemmed from the era of the 1950's when they had two 12 passenger ships, Swiftpool and Deerpool on a transatlantic passenger run to USGulf. In the tropics whites were generally not compulsory, but you had to wear khakis in lieu, a lot depended upon the Master, entering and leaving port uniforms were also worn, and had to be worn on deck during cargo operations.

A lot of bad words were said about Ropners, but I found them (1950's and 1960's) better feeders than the Liner companies I had sailed with, when ordering stores and equipment we received what we'd ordered. Only sailed with one bad Master, luckily it was only a six week trip and everyone on board, except the C/E left the ship on return to UK, but I did do a 22 month trip with them, luckily a new ship and good Master.

On the coast Stephenson Clarke liked their mates and engineers to wear uniform, even if it was only battledress, Everards and Comben Longstaff, some did and some didn't.

It's okay to say that those on board knew who the Master, mate, C/E, etc were, but officials and stevedores need to know who they are talking to when they board
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ropners, we had to wear uniforms at sea, I think this stemmed from the era of the 1950's when they had two 12 passenger ships, Swiftpool and Deerpool on a transatlantic passenger run to USGulf. In the tropics whites were generally not compulsory, but you had to wear khakis in lieu, a lot depended upon the Master, entering and leaving port uniforms were also worn, and had to be worn on deck during cargo operations.

A lot of bad words were said about Ropners, but I found them (1950's and 1960's) better feeders than the Liner companies I had sailed with, when ordering stores and equipment we received what we'd ordered. Only sailed with one bad Master, luckily it was only a six week trip and everyone on board, except the C/E left the ship on return to UK, but I did do a 22 month trip with them, luckily a new ship and good Master.

On the coast Stephenson Clarke liked their mates and engineers to wear uniform, even if it was only battledress, Everards and Comben Longstaff, some did and some didn't.

It's okay to say that those on board knew who the Master, mate, C/E, etc were, but officials and stevedores need to know who they are talking to when they board
Seaman38, I did say that in port the captains/Officers wore their epaulettes and caps..(Thumb)

Frank
 

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In Ellermans we always wore uniform onboard wether on watch or working cargo. The duty mess was solely for the watch engineers in their boiler suits. A book was circulated by an Apprentice as to when we went from blues to whites and back again.
 

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First trip Harrison's Clyde tramp, I didn't even possess a uniform.
Subsequently, with Fyffes Line, we were formal.
 

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As a general rule of thumb, 1965 seemed to mark the great divide, two years after somebody observed that, in UK, sex was invented in 1963. It was discovered in the Profumo scandal that year.

One of its effects was that hair started to be worn longer (causing uniform caps - or the wearers thereof - to appear increasingly absurd). In consequence it can safely be said that Merchant Navy Uniform began to disappear gradually after 1965. Within ten years it had disappeared almost (but not quite) altogether.
 

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As a general rule of thumb, 1965 seemed to mark the great divide, two years after somebody observed that, in UK, sex was invented in 1963. It was discovered in the Profumo scandal that year.

One of its effects was that hair started to be worn longer (causing uniform caps - or the wearers thereof - to appear increasingly absurd). In consequence it can safely be said that Merchant Navy Uniform began to disappear gradually after 1965. Within ten years it had disappeared almost (but not quite) altogether.
I left in 1964.
I knew they'd screw it up! ;)
sex was invented in 1963
I do believe that I carried out preliminary R&D in Greenock around 1959 (K)

p.s. Edited to give due recognition to the many field researchers upon whose work we youngsters built our theses.
 

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We had epaulettes on our pyjamas.
What are pyjamas?

In Bank Line it tended to depend on the old man, one or two didn't seem to mind but in the main uniform was worn.

I do remember as a cadet, transferring from a non air conditioned ship where uniform was "casual" to a well run air conditioned vessel where uniform was alaways worn. I went for lunch in whites, only problem was I'd forgotten my shirt and had a white teeshirt on. I was informed that turning up for meals in my underwear was not exactly acceptable!

As the hatch combingings were quite high and cargo watches, were to say the least, active we usually wore boiler suits.
 

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In Brock's----

In Ellermans we always wore uniform onboard wether on watch or working cargo. The duty mess was solely for the watch engineers in their boiler suits. A book was circulated by an Apprentice as to when we went from blues to whites and back again.
---it was "word-of-mouth" re. changing-over, outward-bound, from "blues" to "whites" and vice versa homeward.

I remember one trip having a run-in with "The Old Man" over the "change-over".

It was a particularly balmy run down "The Med" with it getting warmer-and-warmer each day with no sign we were going into "white's". So one day I put "Medi-rig" on, (white, uniform-shirt with epaulette's and long "blue" trousers).

During our mid-day meal I saw "The Old Man" talking to "The Chief" and pointing at me.

Went to my "house" after the meal. A couple of minutes later "Chiefy" arrived at my door, "For a quick talk Phil" and proceeded to tell me that "The Old Man" wasn't at all happy about me "taking the Law into my own hands, re. correct uniform dress, and HE would decide when a uniform-change was in order".

24 hours and 350 miles later we were further East, even warmer and STILL "God" hadn't given the Ok to change into "Medi-rig" or full-whites so I thought "Sphere's-to-that" and got my "Boy" to fetch me a couple of sarny's. The day after, (when we were about a day from The Suez!!), saw us change into "Full-white's"!

THAT run-in with "The Old Man" saw him ignoring me for the rest of the trip-----a Six-Monther as we went to Canada on a City Line Charter! Phil
 

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I was always top staff, most often as the old Man's sex consultant:

("When I want you f'ing opinion, Sparks, I'll f'ing ask for it")

Later in similar capacity for the Chief and so on until I was never asked for my opinion by Chief Executive.

I don't know if it is something of which to be proud or ashamed but a friend of mine asked another "So you were David's boss?" to which the answer reported was "I was never his boss, I just paid him and he did what he liked"
 
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