Posted 11 months ago
British WWII Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve steel helmet. This helmet has been re-issued 3 times in WWII !!! Not sure if it was the same owner who changed occupations or just a complete re-issue. Appears to started off as early pre WWII standard steel helmet, the issued as a Wardens helmet, W painted front and rear. Then re-issued with R.P.R. painted to the front, not sure what that stands for. Then re-issued as a Royal Navy Reserve steel helmet, with insignia of unit on the front, a blue roundel with a red imp in the centre. Reminds me of some insignia I saw on a Motor Torpedo Boat once.
At the start of the 20th century with a period of rapid naval expansion taking place it was realised that the RNR could not supply the required number of trained men and a scheme was introduced that allowed men in civilian shore jobs (unconnected with the sea) to train on a part-time basis at special shore establishments, and provided the valuable experience of real time with the fleet for a few weeks a year once a certain level of competence had been achieved.
This was the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR), known as the 'Wavy Navy' on account of the rank stripes (rings) on officers sleeves being wavy rather than straight. The RNVR was organised in 'Divisions' whose names were taken from the place where the main centre was situated. London, Edinburgh and most large seaports had such divisions. Each division was commanded by a Captain.
In the late 1930s, The Admiralty realised that the numbers available would not meet the needs of the fast approaching war and created the Royal Naval Volunteer Supplementary Reserve (RNVSR). The main recruits were amateur yachtsmen, who were given sufficient training to get them up to speed in a very high-pressure manner compared with the 'ordinary' RNVR. The RNVSR uniform was the same as the RNVR one. The RNVSR was dropped after World War II.
Those who became officers during World War II were considered to have joined the RNVR and wore that service's uniform. Most of the officers in Landing Craft, Coastal Forces and the Atlantic Convoys were RNVR and many regular officers were astonished how well they coped. A significant number achieved command of Corvettes and even Frigates. Quite a few also went into the Submarine branch of the service and some achieved command there, the first being Commander E.P.Young DSO, DSC and bar, who commanded HMS Storm.