View Full Version : Naval School Master Records
27-04-2009, 11:56 AM
This is my first post so I hope that someone can help me with this curly question. I am trying to find a service record for my grandfather Rowland Ernest Augustin Fielding (now deceased) who served on the H M S Blonde as a Naval School Master during the First World War. In an article published in the North Cheshire Herald in 1957 marking his retirement from Godley Primary School it mentions he was present when the German Fleet surrendered. I was unaware that they had school at sea or even during war time (at sea). This is the only information I have. Can anybody tell me where I can access his war service record or information regarding education at sea|help|
27-04-2009, 2:01 PM
I believe this is your Grandfather; his service record can be downloaded from the National Archives for a small fee.
27-04-2009, 2:02 PM
In later years (so I assume that it might well have been true in WW1), it was quite common for a Squadron of ships to carry a Padre and a "Schoolie". They were drafted to a particular ship (normally, but not always, to the Squadron Leader) for administration purposes, but were deployed around the various ships in the Squadron as and when required. There was plenty of School-mastering to do; any advancement in the Navy requires some sort of educational qualification as well as job experience, and education didn't stop just because there was a war. The Schoolie would also have other duties besides his School-mastering; various minor secretarial jobs and other tasks that needed the temporary attention of a Naval Officer.
28-04-2009, 12:04 AM
Thanks for the website address which I have visited and yes this is my grandfather ( that is his correct birth date!) I have had a quick look and will download the naval records to find out the details. Thank you very much and will let you know what kinds of information it contains for the benefit of others that have "Naval Schoolies".
28-04-2009, 12:11 AM
Thank you for the back ground information on Naval Schoolies. I had no idea what a naval school master was or did so this will help "flesh out the bones" of his story. Through help with a researcher in Cheshire I found out that he was involved in Civil Defence in WWII and eventually retired from being Head Master at Godley Primary. Seems he was never far from the teaching profession. If you know of any websites that can give me background information on Naval Schoolies I would be most appreciative.
29-04-2009, 9:48 AM
Most of what information there is on Schoolies tends to be in small parts of general Naval literature, though a paper by Len Barnett does give a pretty good idea of the birth and subsequent growth of what became the Royal Naval Instructor Branch:
There is a history book, "Educating the Royal Navy", which your local library might be able to get for you. I'll give you the link to an advertisement which gives a flavour of the book:
Link to commercial site removed. Google for: Routledge Educating the Royal Navy
Also, an advertisement from 1959 which gives idea of what was required of a post-war (WW2!) Instructor Officer:
30-04-2009, 1:11 PM
Hi Lee and Martin,
Just letting you know that I have downloaded my grandfather's naval records. There is not a lot written on the pages but what is there is revealing including his physical appearance (his hair and eyes were brown, 37 inch chest and he was 5ft 7 and 3 qtr inches). He joined the Navy on 2 March 1916 and discharged on 11 Feb 1919. It also shows that he served on 3 ships The Defiance, the Vivid 1 and the Blonde and how long on each ship. It seems he went in as an ordinary seaman (coder) and within 3 months was promoted to School Master. He was a qualified teacher when he joined so maybe no surprise there. When he was serving on HMS Blonde it notes his time was in Officer's Section. Does this denote his status? I can't find any note of his rank ie was he a particular rank of officer as a schoolmaster?
I have also visited your suggested websites and found some good background information there so thank you for giving me that lead. I would like to find out more about these ships that he served on - can you suggest a website that might have photos or information about these ships and what hostilities they were involved in?
Many thanks for your help so far.|jumphappy
30-04-2009, 2:22 PM
Try the following site:
You wont find Vivid 1, because this was a shore establishment in Devonport.
30-04-2009, 3:01 PM
I can't find any note of his rank ie was he a particular rank of officer as a schoolmaster?
I believe schoolmasters were Warrant Officers.
02-05-2009, 11:39 AM
Thankyou for that interesting 'battleships' website. I have found a photo and information about HMS Blonde so that is fantastic:D I have had a look for the Defiance but have been unsuccessful - may be it was renamed. Still this is a good site and I will mark it for future reference. Just to let you and others know that when I was looking on that site I came across the HMS Theseus which has a picture and a little information (albeit 1896 information) about naval schoolmasters and their cadets - gives you a little flavour for what was involved. Thanks once again for your help:)
02-05-2009, 11:43 AM
Thank you for your information about Naval schoolmasters being Warrant Officers. Does this mean he was an in an Officer class? Sorry if I appear ignorant but have no idea about ranking in the Armed Forces.
02-05-2009, 2:50 PM
The following link will perhaps explain why you could not find HMS Defiance, but gives some interesting history.
03-05-2009, 8:22 AM
Hi Martin and Finbar
Thank you to both of you for your fabulous link sites. The information about the Defiance was very comprehensive (I would never have thought of looking at that site:) and it is now clear about where a Warrant Officer was in the Navy ranking. I have bookmarked these sites and will probably visit them regularly as I research about my father's WW2 Navy record too. Luckily he kept his original naval service record (waxed linen type) and my mother kept it along with his medals, ratings emblem (he was a Petty Officer Radio Mechanic 1 stripe) and buttons from his 'fore and aft' rig - see I am getting the hang of this;)
The next step is to research the ships Dad served on - luckily I have somewhere to start in pulling down another brick wall. Many thanks Martin, Lee, Peter and Finbar - I am a 'Happy Little Vegemite" |hug|
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