Talk:Royal Navy ranks

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All roads lead to here?

Do we want to use this as the page for all things that link lieutenant, and post captain, and master and commander etc, or did we want to leave those as separate articles? --LadyShelley 00:54, 15 June 2007 (BST)

Yes......... actually I did it as a starting point for all the ranks to be gathered with a short note about each as the more detailed articles don't yet exist. I didn't put in links to any of the ranks but that could be done. There is nothing to stop someone with a burning desire to write a scholarly article on the role of the Carpenter making a separate article which could be linked to directly from other articles and from here. Aquinas 01:44, 15 June 2007 (BST)

Period v. Modern

"By the time of Jack Aubrey they were established and only minor changes have been made since." This line surprises me, considering that the modern Royal Navy has several officers' ranks not included here [1], and an entirely different setup for the ratings[2]. Further, I query whether Purser, Bosun, etc. were properly ranks or positions.Czrisher 18:47, 23 June 2007 (BST)

"Minor" changes is arguable, perhaps. I meant that the overall set-up of commissioned officers and warrant officers of various types and ranks has really not changed much.There have been some new ones added with the new technology and old out dated ones removed. The boatswain was a warrant officer, I am not quite so sure about the purser, but he did mess with the wardroom. To be pedantic midshipmen were neither fish nor fowl and were not really commissioned or warrant officers so should probably not be included here either. Aquinas 03:46, 25 June 2007 (BST)

Is not this the very place to be pedantic, for all love?Czrisher 21:32, 25 June 2007 (BST)
How would the midshipmen and Master's mates (passed lieutenants but without a commission or warrant) be classified then?Aquinas 21:41, 25 June 2007 (BST)
This is hardly my field, but I'll take a crack at answering. We should follow something along the line of "First, do no harm". If we don't know where else to put 'em, keep them on this page and have a bit that explains, precisely what you described in your first reply. To leave the reefers under "Commissioned Officers", even with an explanation therein that they were not such, exposes us to charges of self-contradiction, if not, indeed, much worse. Especially while we are still ramping up our pool of editors, it seems important to avoid even the whiff of mis-information or error. Better far to have too little than "too much".
Similarly, I remain less than content with calling Bosun etc. a rank. Without explication, at least, this suggests that those were steps through which one passed, as modern ranks are. Perhaps we must accept that the breakdown of officers, warrant and otherwise, of the period doesn't lend itself to tables, however handsome these are. The hierarchy simply had too many orphans and bastards. Whatever the solution may be, however, I deprecate the inclusion of incorrect material as part of our half-measures. Czrisher 22:24, 25 June 2007 (BST)
I think that we have a problem of terminology. I am using rank in the way that Jack Aubrey used it and you seem to be using a more modern definition. We are confusing modern practice with the practice of 18th and 19th century. In those days rank was not a path to another position in general but a position as you call it to which one might aspire through skill, interest and/or influence. A boatswain had his mates who were originally seamen (ordinary or able), a Master had his mates and even a surgeon had his mates. You could argue that the midshipmen were "mates" to the commissioned officer position to which they aspired. Just as a midshipman had to pass an exam to become a commissioned officer, so a Master or Surgeon or Boatswain had to prove themselves able enough to be given their warrant, in the case of less exalted officers, this might just be observation by the captain that a particular mate was good enough to be warranted as a boatswain with a report to the Navy Board.. However, these positions were their official rank in the naval hierarchy. In the Royal Navy of the time they were ranked and their rank was Boatswain or Purser instead of Lieutenant or Captain.

From N.A.M. Rodgers Command of the Ocean page 393 "The rising status of warrant officers was marked in 1787 by their first official uniform. In reality, there were two distinct groups of warrant officers. Pursers and surgeons were sea officers with fair pretensions to be gentlemen, but something of the character of civilians who had joined the Navy, if not as adults, at least later in their teens than many of the commissioned officers, and tended to be better educated. snip These gentlemanlike warrant officers increasingly hoped to be treated as such, to be allowed to dine in the wardroom and wear a uniform which distinguished them from boatswains, gunners and carpenters. These three formed the other group of warrant officers, those who had unequivocally risen from the lower deck." In the social milieu of the time, only the Master, who was paid at a rate equivalent to a lieutenant had any hope or chance of rising to commissioned rank and this was a fairly rare occurrence. Aquinas 01:12, 26 June 2007 (BST)

Am I missing some key point in this discussion? Looking at the tables in questions, each section is clearly marked as to what standing each man held in the ship's hierarchy; standing that as far as I can figure matching that seen in the books. I thought this was a simple chart which is why I suggested adding the "ranks" of able, ordinary and landsman as well. Is this a question of semantics? Should it be "Royal Navy designations" instead? --LadyShelley 04:43, 26 June 2007 (BST)

Another classification

As this seems to be the jumping off point for most of the articles on various ranks, do we want to add another box at the bottom to give ever so brief ideas for the able, ordinary, and landsman classification and further then link to teh articles already in existence? This may also help to alieve some of the issues with the warrant ranks above. --LadyShelley 22:35, 25 June 2007 (BST)

Rear admiral loop

The rear admiral link is set in a loop, the link leads right back to this page. Part of my envisioned plan for the larger articles on ranks is to have a listing, sort of a who's who for the canon, for each rank. (see the midshipman article for an example of what I mean). Any other ideas for content for the longer, individual articles for each rank? --LadyShelley 02:39, 3 May 2008 (BST)

Actually it is a redirect from Rear Admiral to here and I was too lazy to delete the link here back to Rear Admiral. Aquinas 20:34, 4 May 2008 (BST)
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