1918 Changes for Royal Navy Warrant Officers

Royal Navy: Uniform Changes for Commissioned Warrant and Warrant Officers, 1918
(Admiralty Weekly Order 2945, September 2)

On September 2, 1918, Admiralty Weekly Order 2945 made changes in the uniforms of commissioned warrant and warrant officers which brought them more into line with other officers. The cuff buttons, the most visible mark of warrant status, were eliminated, and the narrow quarter-inch stripe, previously the sign of ten years seniority, was prescribed for all warrant officers. Two new branch colors, maroon for wardmasters and dark green for electricians, were also introduced.

On October 3, 1918, Weekly Order 3224/18 ordered that the provisions of 2945/18 be put into effect.

The first two sections of AWO 2945/18 are reproduced below, with the original format maintained as much as possible. The last section, which listed the names of officers to be promoted under the new orders, was not included in the Admiralty Monthly Orders and is not reproduced.

NOTE: The "black braid" mentioned in the order is assumed to refer the buttonholes of "twist" below the cuff buttons, since black braid was never specified in uniform regulations for warrant officers.


2945.—Commissioned Warrant and Warrant Officers—Promotion, &c.

(C.W. 41302.—2.9.1918.)

It has been decided to make the following improvements with regard to the promotion and the conditions of service of Commissioned Warrant Officers and Warrant Officers of the Naval Service :—


(l) The number of Officers to be promoted to commissioned rank will in future be 8 per cent. of the total numbers of commissioned Officers, commissioned warrant Officers and warrant Officers in each branch. This percentage, which is double that allowed before the war, will be based on the pre-war establishments of the various branches.

(2) The rank of Commander will be opened to such branches as may be considered by the Admiralty to require Officers of that rank, and the number allowed will be 1 per cent. of the total number of commissioned Officers, commissioned warrant Officers, and warrant Officers of the branch allowed the rank. The branches for which this rank will be allowed are :—
     Gunners and Gunners (T).
     Signal Boatswains.
     Shipwright Branch.

(3) Warrant Officers of all branches will receive promotion to commissioned warrant rank after ten years' seniority as warrant Officer, provided they are recommended by their Commanding Officers, have a good record, and have served for five years at sea as Warrant Officer.

(4) Commissioned warrant rank may be granted earlier at the discretion or the Admiralty for war, or other distinguished service as at present.

(5) Commissioned warrant Officers will be allowed to pass an examination for Lieutenant (or equivalent rank) after promotion to commissioned warrant Officer, and will then be eligible for promotion by selection in conjunction with seniority up to the maximum allowed, provided they have three years' sea service as commissioned warrant Officer before promotion. Lieutenants (or Officers of equivalent rank) promoted from commissioned warrant Officer will be promoted to Lieutenant-Commander (or equivalent rank) after eight years' seniority in the junior rank without examination, provided they are recommended by their Commanding Officers, have a good record, and three years' sea service as Lieutenant (or equivalent rank). The regulations in this paragraph do not refer to the older Officers promoted for long and zealous service.

Engineer Lieutenants will be required to pass the same examination as is required for the promotion of direct entry Engineer Lieutenants to Engineer Lieutenant-Commander.

(6) Promotion to Commander's rank will be from the rank of Lieutenant-Commander (or equivalent rank) and will be by selection in conjunction with seniority, subject to passing the examination for promotion in branches where an examination is laid down for direct entry Officers.

(7) In explanation of the foregoing regulations it is the intention that promotions to Commissioned rank up to a total of 4 per cent. should be reserved for the older Officers as at present for long and zealous service, and such Officers will not be required to pass an examination for promotion, though they must be passed as medically fit. These Officers will not be eligible for the rank of Commander. The remaining 4 per cent. of promotions will, as a general rule, be confined to younger Officers, who will be required to pass an examination for promotion and will be eligible for the rank of Commander under the conditions laid down in paragraphs (2) and (6) above.

(8) In future all Officers will be required to be medically examined and passed as fit before promotion to the rank of Lieutenant (or equivalent).


(9) The buttons and black braid on the cuffs of the uniform of Commissioned Warrant Officers and Warrant Officers, R.N., including Coastguard Officers, are abolished. Warrant Officers will wear a stripe of ¼ inch gold lace on promotion to warrant rank.

(10) Warrant Officers, R.N.R., will wear two intersecting lines of ⅛ inch gold lace on promotion to warrant rank, the buttons and black braid on the cuffs of their uniform being abolished.

(11) Commissioned Warrant Officers' and Warrant Officers' uniform generally will be brought into line with that of other Officers especially as regards the Full Dress Coat.

(12) A distinguishing colour ring of dark green will be worn by Officers of the Electrical Branch.

(13) The distinguishing colour ring of the Wardmaster branch is altered from scarlet to maroon.

(14) The greatcoat worn by Royal Marine Gunners will be of the same pattern as that worn by Commissioned Officers, R.M.

(15) Detailed particulars as to the examinations for promotion and the necessary alteration in the uniform regulations will be promulgated in due course.

Officers should not alter their uniforms till the details are promulgated.

Notes.—These concessions are the result of the report of the Committee on Warrant Officers and Artisan ratings. The Committee has made a number of other recommendations, and a further announcement will be made in due course as to the decisions arrived at.

The recommendations of the Committee which investigated the problems affecting the Writer Branch are now under consideration by the Board, and it is hoped to make an announcement on this subject before very long.

The special promotions to Lieutenant and Engineer Lieutenant which have been made to meet war requirements will not be included when calculating the 8 per cent. referred to in paragraph (1).

These proposals do not include the Schoolmasters' Branch, for whom a new scheme is under consideration.

All text and images © Justin T. Broderick, 2013-2018 unless otherwise indicated.