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Old 20-12-13, 06:21 PM
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Guzzman Guzzman is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Nottingham
Posts: 813
Default RN Marksman Badges

Hi Simon

I've done a bit of research on the mysterious photo of the Royal Yachtsman with the star above his crossed rifles. I've found some information but I'm afraid I haven't reached a definite conclusion. This photo has appeared on several sites on the internet and the mysterious badge has caused a great deal of discussion everywhere it has appeared - but unfortunately no-one else can explain it either!

The photo depicts the Royal Yachts Communications Staff aboard the S.S. Gothic in 1954. The Gothic was a brand-new merchant ship being used as a temporary Royal Yacht whilst awaiting the work-up of the Royal Yacht Britannia. The Britannia took over as the Royal Yacht in May 1954, so the photo must have been taken between January-May 1954.

The rating in question is wearing the badge of a Leading Telegraphist on his right arm (this title was in use between 1948-58 and between 1934-48 was known as a Wireless Telegraphist). On his left arm he is wearing a single Good Conduct badge denoting four years 'undetected crime'. Prior to 1950 this badge had been award for three years Good Conduct.

Now to examine the Marksman's Badge. The Crossed Rifles with a Star above was the badge of a 1st Class Marksman between 1890-1920 but it continued to be used as the basic Marksman's Badge between 1920-32. The following list explains the sequence:-

Crossed Rifles, Star above 1st Class Marksman 1890-1920
Crossed Rifles 2nd Class Marksman 1890-1920
Crossed Rifles, Star above Marksman 1920-32
Crossed Rifles Marksman 1932 to date

So he seems to be wearing a Marksman's badge which was last issued in 1932. Although it is feasible that a rating who joined in 1932 might just still be serving in early-1954 (though unlikely). The man in the picture appears to be too young for this.

Finally, the question of whether Royal Yacht badges were issued in white on blue prior to 1954. I have been unable to find any documentation to confirm this. However, amongst my own collection of Royal Yacht insignia I have three items which bear the King's Crown. One is a King's Crown 'Royal Yacht' cap tally. The remaining two items are King's Crown above 'ROYAL YACHT' shoulder flashes. One is in red and the other is in white. The white badge still has its hessian backing although this is missing from the red badge. I have no other information on these badges so I am unable to say exactly when they were in use. However, it does show that white badges existed in some form prior to 1954.

I hope this is some help!


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Old 21-12-13, 03:22 PM
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HMS-Troutbridge HMS-Troutbridge is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 86

Thanks for that Pete, very informative and with the knowledge that the badges were around pre-1954 it would be the best guess to say this badge was most likely old stock being used up, until any further info comes up of course!
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Old 21-07-21, 01:27 PM
Sharkey Sharkey is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2021
Posts: 1
Default marksman badge with slings

An interesting (if now old) query that I came across.... my marksman's "course" (2-3 days if I remember correctly) was in 1967. I have pics showing me still wearing the sleeve badge - with slings - in 1977 and I continued to do so, until the rating of PO Artificer and onward. Because RN artificer uniforms were trade and service badge-less, it would have looked rather lonely and besides, on achieving Charge Chief Tiff: the area on the sleeve was taken over by the lion and crown badge ....which would then have looked even more ridiculous...!!
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Old 22-07-21, 01:04 PM
grumpy grumpy is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,383

The three most terrifying military sights:

a sailor with rifle
an army officer with map and compass
144 RAF navigators *

* Gross incompetents
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