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Post Info TOPIC: Merchant Navy rates of pay.


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Merchant Navy rates of pay.
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I was looking for something else on the net when I drifted (as you tend to do) on to pages about the Titanic. Anyway, I thought this might interest some of you. This is the monthly rates of pay when the crew signed on in Aprril 1912.

The Master....not listed. Chief Mate...25 quid. 1st Mate...17 quid. 2nd Mate...14 quid. Surgeon...10 quid. Bosun...8 quid 10 shillings. Lamptrimmer...5 quid. ABs and Quartermasters...5 quid. Window cleaners got 4 quid!!!!!

Down in the engine room.

Chief Engineer...35 quid. Sen. 2nd Eng...22quid. 2nd Eng...18 quid. Chief Electrician...12 quid.

Greasers and Leading Firemen got 6 quid 10 shillings. Firemen got 6 quid and Trimmers got 5 quid 10 shillings.

I am using the word "quid" because my computer is set up for dollars and I don't know what the combination is to make the pound sign.

In those days, and up until there were changes to the Merchant Shipping Act in the 1930s, deck and engine room ratings had to supply their own plates, mug and eating irons, and bedding, which was basically a sack of straw and was known as "the donkeys breakfast". And all wages and salaries stopped from the moment the Titanic hit the iceberg. I believe that was the norm during the second world war, when a ship went down all wages stopped from that time. It would be good if anyone, particularly if they experienced that, could confirm it. And how did you and your family survive until you got another ship. Stu



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I'm suprised at how high the wages were, I recall on company contract with BP. I started at 24 quid a month. 1969

This Whip will attest to, the Skipper and Chief felt sorry for us so I was asked to do a steering certificate course which we were paid OT for ------x amount of hours steering on the bridge and a steer into Portland, Maine under pilot and I had my ticket. Still have it today.



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Cool Colin, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada.



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Yes, Colin, its interesting to compare rates from different times although we need to get cost of living data of the era to truly compare. For example as a 16 year old Deck Boy in 1956 I was paid 12 quid 12 shillings and six pence, a month, or very roughly, 8 shillings a day. Because that was a year long trip there was no increases, plus to do our steering certs we had to get 12 hours in by doing an ABs trick at the wheel on the weekends.

Compare that to a Fireman at 5 quid a month, that is roughly 3 shillings and 4 pence a day. And that would have been shovelling coal for every day the ship was at sea. My grandfather must have thought that was a good deal as before that he was shovelling coal in a power station !!! But I think it was my grandmothers idea that he went to sea as they had 9 kids and lived in a 2 bedroomed slum in Wapping. Life took an upturn when they moved out to the country in Rainham and had another 3 kids but by this time he was working the Thames tugs so was home a bit more often!!! So not only have wages and conditions changed, so have social attitudes and behaviours. But it could be said that they were merely replacing those young men lost in WW1 and providing more fodder for WW2. Is that natures way?

In trying to relate prices to an era I recall that in 1960 Scrumpy cider was 8 pence a pint in Weston Super Mare pubs, and stopping at a petrol station and asking for half a gallon of "cheap". I think by that time I was on about 4 or 5 quid a week. And after 12 months at sea on my first trip I had a "made to measure" suit, in fact the only time I've ever had that luxury. It took about 3 weeks to make and cost 20 quid. The reason for this big spend was that all the ABs on that trip worked "scruffy" but when they went ashore they were the "bees knees" in their flash made to measure threads. So I thought that was normal !!!! Ever since then everything has been "off the peg". Stu



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Deck boy 1967 P&O, such a long time ago now. I think the wages were about 5.00 per week, 200 smokes 11 shillings & 10 pence, a pint of lager (possibly Carlsberg) 1 shilling from the crew bar. Of course we were not allowed to buy beer but there were ways & means to get a drink.

Regards John

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Celer et Audax



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3 weeks to make and 20 quid, you got ripped off Stu, how about in Madras India 24 hours to make and the knicked scrap from the Donkeyman as payment---silk and cotton cloth with a 5 button cuff.



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Cool Colin, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada.



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just found some old pay slips deck boy early 1963 was 16 per month end of 63 was 17 per mouth a jos was 25 2s 6p per month then it went up to 26 15s sos was 31 5s ehd was 53 7s 6p going up to 56 per month and ab was 59 7s 6p going upto my last pay slip of 61 15s per month.

the rates shown our from feb.63 to march 70.

and to think 200 woodbanes cost 4s 6p and 200 fillers 9s and a case of beer 1 4s and wow what wages are and the cost of things today



-- Edited by paul on Monday 1st of April 2013 12:57:32 PM

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Paul Ditchfield
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