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THE PUBLICATION of the first number of this newspaper and the Intro- duction of the General Service Commission Scheme provide a suitable

opportunity for an article on drafting in general. It is hoped to produce further articles a subsequent numbers, dealing with particular subjects, such as Port Division advancement, and to reply to any queries that may be raised in the correspondence columns Such queries should be general, since this is

newspaper and not a suitable medium for statements or complaints by people about their own drafting or advancement history: these are matters which should be raised through Divisional Officers.

General ~Ice

certain general principles to be explained.

Firstly, the Admiralty is responsible for deciding which ships and establish-

ments should be manned by which port divisions and for allocating to each

depot the number of men of every branch required for the purpose. The

Before going into details there are home sea service, port service and then

foreign service again. A New Draft was sent to sea either to home sea

service or foreign service, as soon as possible after completion of his train- ing; and one-. so drafted he had entered

Admiralty also plan the rate of recruit- ment and issue schemes of complement showing the number of men allowed to each ship. In the Drafting Office at

Portsmouth we thus know what ships we have to man and how many men we have to man them with.. it is from

this point that drafting really starts. Selections for draft are made from

the drafting rosters. For eah man there is a small yellow drafting card. The cards of men abroad are slowed

in boxes under the names of ships and establishments. The cards of men based

ashore in the United Kingdom are stowed in separate boxes for each rate of each branch, in roster-date order: these are the cards that form the draft-

ing rosters proper. The roster date. written on the card, is based upon the date of the man's last return from

abroad or. if he has not yet been abroad, upon the date on which he

completed his training. In any roster the man with the

earliest roster date will be the one to

go abroad next. Altogether we have 220 rosters in the Portsmouth Drafting Office, but any one man is only in one of them: a petty officer writer will be found in the petty officer writers'

roster; a leading seaman (q.R.3) in the leading seamen (Q.R.3ks roster: and an able seaman (Q.R.3) in the roster of able seamen (Q.R.3). Hence is is important that when a man com- pares his drafting history with that of another man he should choose someone

the cycle described and began to follow it round. On his return from foreign service a man's drafting card, marked with the new rosterdate (the date of his return), was p!aed at the bottom of his rosier, and after his foreign service leave he was drafted to a port service billet. His card automatically rose up

the roster as other men, holding the same rate, followed him back from

foreign or went off to foreign from the

drafted to home sea service. During the time he was in home on service the

to port service, his card began to move

top of the roster. Before his card reached the top, usually when it was somewhere near the middle, he was

roster date on his card was so adjusted that the card stood still in the roster.

marking time. At the end of his home sea service the man was drafted back

again and. in due course, oft he went back to foreign service. In the past the normal length of a

upon branch, between about IS months and two years, The period in

depending upon the man's branch and the diafting situation atthe time.

their ships' companies will not be entitled to family passages.


the present rate of 24 days per year, and foreign service drafting leave will remain at 14 days. For ships on general service the new leave scale of three

Foreign service leave will remain at

days per month (54 days for an 18 months' commission) will be intro-

duced. Some of this leav.c will normally be taken before, some during and some after the commission.

Port .srvle and home sea service

Port service will remain much as at present, but added to it will be certain

fined to ships not normally based on Portsmouth, such as Maidstone. and

the Londonderry and Portland squad' rons. Because of this and because most

of the Home Fleet has become general service, the billets classified as home sea service will be much fewer.

present and when a man reaches the top of his roster he will be drafted

overseas. either to foreign service or to general service.

The billets in general service are roughly twice as many as those in

foreign service, and a man can expect, as a very general rule, to receive two

drafts to general service for every one draft he receives to foreign service. In

foreign service commission was two and a half years, and the normal spell in home sea service varied, depending

port service also varied considerably.

period abroad for all unmamed men and those married men whose wives

scheme are firstly, that the longest are not with them on the station, will

who holds exactly the same rate as himself; the comparison will not other- wise be fair, since the number of com-

plement billets, in each of the different

types of service, varies for every branch. When a man is advanced his

card is placed in his new rosier, but he retains the same roster date. The rules for drafting are laid down by the Admiralty in a book called the

seagoing ships will no longer be in run- ning commission. Instead, the

company will all recommission the

be reduced from two and a half years to 18 months; and secondly, that most

Commis-sion ship's

tion of the General Service

company will all leave the ship at the same time (except for approved

Drafting Regulations, and there is a copy of this book in almost every ship and establishment. This book ensures

that all depots work to the same rules. When we draft men we do not nor-

MANY see their Service papers. They are drafted strictly in accordance with

their position in their own roster, and we do not take into account a man's character, efficiency or conduct assess ments.

Drafting authorities

Commodores of the Royal Naval Bar- racks at Portsmouth. Devonport and Chatham. and the Commodore. Royal

Naval Barracks, Lec-on"Solcnt, for Fleet Air Arm ratings. There are

separate drafting authorities for ratings

serving in. submarines. for Roat Marines and for the W.R.N.S. The old scheme

It will perhaps be easier to get a' clear idea of the General Service ('am.

mission scheme if a brief description is first given of the old scheme. It must be emphasifed that drafting under the new scheme will be done on exactly the same principles as before: the changes

are only those which are needed to cater for the shorter period of foreign

ing changes which have been an unavoidable feature of life in the Navy since the war.

In the past the three types of service were foreign service, home sea service

Kindom. ashore and afloat; and port service of service ashore in the United

Kingdom. including service in the Divisions of the Reserve Fleet. Home

sea service was service in the Home Fleet, local squadrons, certain other ships based permanently in the United

Kingdom waters and included ships of the Home Fleet detached temporarily for a limited period to foreign waters.

For each man the order of events was; Foreign 'eruice. pou ,ersicc.

and port service, each carrying a differ- ent scale of leave. Foreign service con- sisted of service outside the United

service and to reduce, in seagoing ships at any rate, the large number of draft-

The Drafting Authorities are the

another commission), The old classification of foreign ser-

volun-teers ship's who may wish to stay on for

vice will be split into two parts- will be called overseas

foreign service and general service. These, together,

only of ships on the Far East Station and in the Persian Gulf. all shore

establishments abroad and certain service, and that will be the service to

which men are drafted from the top of the roster. The new foreign service will consist

ships based permanently abroad. e.g.. Ranpura and the mine sweepers in the Mediterranean. Seagoing ships on the Far East Station-e.g., Newcastle-and

in the Persian Gulf, will in future do an 18 months' commission, They will normally

abroad. As at present their ships' com- panies will not be entitled to family passages. The shore establishments and depot ships abroad will be in running

pay off and rccommissioa commission, but no one will do more

then 18 months' foreign service unless he is a volunteer or is accompanied

by his family, in which case he may be required to serve two and a half years.

Most of the other ships now on foreign service and also the Home

Fleet (except the Home Fleet Flagship) will be transferred to what is going to

be known as general service. This will be service in operational carriers, cruisers.

frigates serving in the Home Fleet. Mediterranean. America and West

Darings, destroyers and

Indies. East Indies and South Atlantic stations. These ships, like those on

foreign service, will do a fixed commis- sion of 18 months and will serve partly at home and partly on any station

except the Far East. It is the intention that in an 18 months' commission not

more than 12 months should be served

away from the United Kingdom. Air- craft carriers, however, will be in com-

mission for two years, in any one year of which it is the intention that not more than eight months should be

may be required to move from one station to another with little warning,

served away from the United King- dom. Ships no general service will recommission at home. As these


General The two main effects ofthe introduc-

service his card will be placed at the bottom of the roster as at present;

om~rgan service. When a man returns from foreign

when he returns from general service his card will be given a date which

will place it a short way up the roster from the bottom. ibis differentiation allows for the fact that the man on

general service will have done six months of his 18 months' commission

at home, whereas the man on foreign service will have done all his 18 months' commission abroad.

Owing to the reduction in the nurn- bar of home sea service billets not

everyone will now be required to serve in home ma service during the time his card

serve in home sea wrvicc the date on his card

ship on the same day for a fixed com- mission, during which the number of

same way as before, except that he will now move up the roster at half-speed instead of marking time in it. The

drafting changes will be as few as pos- sible; and on paying off, the

is in the roster. If he does will be adjusted in much the

seas commissions is itself, of course, shorter; and handicaps must vary in relation to the length of the race. If a man is not required for home-service he will remain in port service until his

card again reaches the top of the roster.

be about 18 months before every man in the Port Division is in the new

Starting from June I, 1954, it will

scheme, As men come home from abroad their roster dates

that moment they will be in the scheme. This applies to the old ships' com- panies of Glasgow arid Saintes, and for all ships which pay off subse-

ship for an 18 months' commission, whether on foreign service or on general service-,-'for example the new ships' companies of Glasgow and

Saintes-can also consider themselves in the new scheme although, of course, their roster dates will not be worked out again until they finally pay off

their ships. Other men, for example those returning independently from shore establishments abroad, will be

brought into the new scheme from the date of their arrival in the United Kingdom. Married men who are

accompanied by their families will, in general, continue to serve two and a half years abroad, but the length of foreign service for all others is now

reaches a maximum of 18 months by theend ofnext year. It

in the new scheme-perhaps some will be found as we get more experience of

will be asked what the snags are

working the scheme and it is of course possible that some of the new rules

things fair for alL Owing to the reduced strength of foreign service it is inevitable that the turns of men for

come round more frequently than they have in the past: there can be no

foreign service and general service will

question under present-day conditions of reducing the Navy's commitments overseas. Men should in future get a

greater variety of service and periods

of separation from their families will be less.

In the past is has been extremely difficult to send National Service men

abroad during their two years' service, but with the shortening of commissions


Also at THE BOOKSTALL. ROYAL NAVAL BARRACKS. CHATHAM may be modified 1 order to keep being Progressively reduced until it LIMITED


Ordnance Survey. kin., tin, and 2ln.

Bartholomew's, Johnson's, Michelin, Geographia and Foldex always in stock

Atlases. Wall Maps and Globes

Motoring Guides covering whole of Great Britain Range of Local Street Guides and Guides

Large Stocks of attractive Boxed and Single Cards always on show

All Relations lated under the new rules and from will be calcu-

average time spent in United Kingdom- ~service between the shorter over-

it is expected that many National Service men will now be able to do a

commission abroad. While at home men will, so far as possible, remain in the same billet and will thus be able to

fortunately there are still a number of billets in which men are required

temporarily, for example trials crews and specialist courses, There will be some reduction in the

numbet of billets abroad where men can b accompanied by tlgir families. It will be the job of tIle Drafting

Office to try and allocate these fairly over a period of time, and for this

reason it is not intended that requests for extension of service in these billets

quently, All men who commission a to go to them.

over and above two and a half years should normally be approved if there is already a waiting hit of volunteers

Volunteers for foreign service oralneral a 4ca

service or general service they should do so in plenty of time. In the Drafting

If men wish to volunteer for foreign Office we have to look well ahead. Fr

make full use of the married quarters scheme as that comes Into being: Un-

instance, for Glasgow, Saintcs, Albion. Chevron. Newcastle and Modeste. all of which ships are commissioning between the middle of May and the beginning of July, it was necessary to

complete the detailing of the new ships' companies by the end of April at the latest (in many cases much earlier), so that, for one thing, people could be given due warning of their futures,

Men are not usually sent abroad if they have less than one year of their

present engagement to run; on the other hand, if any such man wishes to have a final commission abroad at the

(Form S.266) to serve in the ship for the whole period of her new 1$ months' commission.

ins provided he signs an agreement

altered with the introduction of the General Service Commission scheme,

As the conditions f service have

men who previously volunteered for (oreika service should put in their

Continued on page 4

expense of a few months' extra service. there is no objection to his volunteer.

WHY NOT JOIN' UNIFITS ALLOTMENT service for every two to

some branches, however, the propor- tion may be nearer three drafts to =1

Drafting under the new scheme Drafting rosters will be kept as at

ships, hitherto home sea service, that are based on their home ports, e.g.. the Portsmouth local squadron. The new home sea service will, in fact, be con-



UNIFIT telephone 4016




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