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H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, K.G., G.M.M.G., G.C.V.O., G.M.B.E., M.C., K.St.J., P.C., A.D.C., Captain, R.N., in the Officers’ Number 8 Dress ‘White Undress’; H.M.S. Renown, March-October ,1920.

 

Prince Edward was appointed a Member of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council (P.C.) on 2nd March, 1920, and a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (G.C.V.O.) on 13th March, 1920. After the success of his tour of North America, the Prince of Wales embarked again on H.M.S. Renown on 16th March, 1920, this time for a tour of New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific islands, and finally (after traversing the Panama Canal) the West Indies. Prince Edward returned to the United Kingdom on 11th October, 1920. ‘White Undress’ was worn in hot climates when ordered by the Senior Officer present, and was prescribed for:

 

(with ‘Officers’ Helmet’)

  • occasions (daytime only) for which Number 1 Dress ‘Full Dress’ would normally be prescribed.
  • occasions for which Number 3 Dress ‘Frock Coat with Epaulettes Dress’ would normally be prescribed.

(with ‘Officers’ Cap’ and white cap cover)

  • occasions for which Number 4 Dress ‘Frock Coat Dress’ would normally be prescribed.
  • occasions for which Number 5 Dress ‘Undress’ would normally be prescribed.

(with ‘Officers’ Cap’ and white cap cover, but without sword and sword belt)

  • occasions for which Number 4 Dress ‘Frock Coat Dress’ would normally be prescribed without sword and sword belt.
  • occasions (except for Officers at Home Ports going to and from their residences) for which Number 5 Dress ‘Undress’ would normally be prescribed without sword and belt.

In 1920, the Number 8 Dress ‘White Undress’ was worn by:

  • Flag Officers.
  • Commodores (both 1st and 2nd Class).
  • Commissioned Officers.
  • Mates.
  • Commissioned Warrant Officers.
  • Warrant Officers.

and comprised, given the wide range of occasions for which prescribed, the following items:

  • 1901 Pattern ‘White Tunic’, i.e. a white drill, single breasted tunic, with stand collar, five buttons down the front of the tunic, and breast patch pockets, without flaps. Shoulders were fitted for shoulder straps, except for Subordinate Officers, who wore on the collar exactly the same insignia as worn on the navy-blue ‘Round Jacket’ and ‘Undress Coat’. The ‘White Tunic’ was regulation wear when in Number 8 Dress ‘White Undress’.
  • 1918 Pattern ‘White Undress Coat’, i.e. a white drill, single breasted tunic, with step collar, four buttons down the front of the tunic, and breast patch pockets, without flaps. Shoulders were fitted for shoulder straps, except for Subordinate Officers, who wore on the collar exactly the same insignia as worn on the navy-blue ‘Round Jacket’ and ‘Undress Coat’. The ‘White Undress Coat’, worn with shirt and tie, was an optional alternative for Officers when in Number 8 Dress ‘White Undress’.
  • white shirt and black silk or satin necktie, to be worn with the ‘White Undress Coat’ only.
  • 1918 pattern ‘Shoulder Straps for Commissioned and Warrant Officers’. As well as being worn with the ‘White Tunic’ and ‘White Undress Coat’, shoulder straps were also fitted to the 1901 pattern ‘White Jacket’ when in Number 9 Dress ‘White Mess Dress’ and Number 10 Dress ‘White Mess Undress’. In addition, shoulder straps were worn with the navy-blue Officers’ ‘Great Coat’, and, after 1916, with the knee-length, double-breasted, navy-blue Officers’ ‘Watch Coat’, introduced that year as an optional purchase item. The 1918 pattern shoulder straps were of exactly the same design as the 1901 pattern, except for the fact the fact that: (i) Flag Officers of the Civil Branches now wore the same gold lace and rank devices on the straps as displayed by Flag Officers of the Military Branch (although the body of their straps remained in their branch distinction colour, and not navy-blue); (ii) the straps of Commissioned Officers, Mates, Commissioned Warrant Officers, and Warrant Officers, of the Civil Branches, now displayed the ‘Executive Curl’ hitherto only worn by Officers of the Military Branch, although they retained the use of coloured branch distinction cloth under, or between, the row(s) of rank distinction lace; (iii) the plain, unadorned shoulder straps of Warrant Officers under 10 years’ seniority were abolished, with all Warrant Officers, irrespective of seniority, now wearing a ring of ¼-inch (6.3 mm) rank distinction lace.
  • 1891 pattern ‘White Trowsers’.
  • white shoes.
  • 1906 pattern ‘Officers’ Helmet’, i.e. cork ‘Foreign Service’ (i.e. tropical) helmet of the Wolseley design, as worn by the British Army. For Officers of Royal Navy it was covered in white jean, fitted with a white puggaree showing a ¼-inch (6.3 mm) of navy-blue silk on the top edge, and had a brown, calf-leather chinstrap.
  • 1901 pattern ‘Officers’ Cap’ and white cap cover.
  • 1827/1846 pattern ‘Royal Navy Officers' Sword’, with 1891 pattern Officers’ sword-knot; or, 1901 pattern ‘Dirk’ for Midshipmen and Naval Cadets, with 1891 pattern dirk-knot.
  • 1856 pattern ‘Sword Scabbard’; or, 1879 pattern ‘Dirk Scabbard’.
  • ‘Full Dress’ sword belt.
  • 1901 pattern ‘Undress Sword Belt’.

The open-necked ‘White Undress Coat’, worn with shirt and tie, was introduced in 1918 as an optional alternative to the closed-neck ‘White Tunic’; however, it was relatively short-lived, being discontinued in 1935. The choice over which to wear in ‘White Undress’ was left entirely up to the individual Officer, except for ceremonial occasions, when the decision as to whether the tunic could be worn in lieu of the coat was at the discretion of the Senior Officer present. The wearing with ‘White Undress’ of Orders, Decorations, and Medals, or the ribbons thereof, was determined by which Order of Dress was being substituted, and thus followed exactly the same regulation as pertained for ‘Full Dress’, ‘Frock Coat with Epaulettes Dress’, ‘Frock Coat Dress’, or ‘Undress’. White shoes were always to be worn with white trousers abroad, while navy-blue trousers were forbidden to be worn with either the ‘White Tunic’ or ‘White Undress Coat’.

The Prince of Wales is seen here wearing ‘White Undress’ as a substitute for Number 5 Dress ‘Undress’, as can be identified by the wearing of the ‘Officers’ Cap’, the fact that ribbons only of Decorations and Medals are being worn, the absence of the ‘Dress Aiguillette’ of a an A.D.C. to H.M. The King (which was worn with ‘White Undress’ for ceremonial occasions), and by the absence of both sword and sword belt.

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H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, K.G., G.M.M.G., G.C.V.O., G.M.B.E., M.C., K.St.J., P.C., A.D.C., Captain, R.N., in the Officers’ Number 4 Dress ‘Frock Coat Dress’; Government House, Wellington, New Zealand, 9th May, 1920.

 

Excellent photographic study of Prince Edward wearing ‘Frock Coat Dress’ at an official engagement at Government House in Wellington, hosted by His Excellency the Governor-General of New Zealand. Of interest is the 1898 pattern ‘Dress Aiguillette’ worn on the right shoulder, worn by Prince Edward in his capacity as Personal Aide-de-camp to H.M. The King. The wearing of the ‘Dress Aiguillette’ was (and continues to be) a distinction shared by (i) Admirals of the Fleet (by virtue of their rank); (ii) those Flag Officers holding the honorary titles of ‘Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom’, and ‘Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom’ (by virtue of these being appointments within the Royal Household); and (iii), Aides-de-Camp to H.M. The King, Honorary Physicians to H.M. The King, Honorary Surgeons to H.M. The King, Naval Equerries to H.M. the King, and Naval Equerries to Members of the Royal Family (all by virtue of their appointment). When in attendance on H.M. The King or other Members of the Royal Family, this aiguillette was worn with all Orders of Dress, except for Number 5 Dress ‘Undress’, Number 6 Dress ‘Mess Dress’, and Number 7 Dress ‘Mess Undress’. When not in attendance, the wearing of the aiguillette was only obligatory with Number 1 Dress ‘Full Dress’, Number 2 Dress ‘Ball Dress’, Number 3 Dress ‘Frock Coat with Epaulettes Dress’, and Number 8 Dress ‘White Undress’ (when that uniform was being worn on ceremonial occasions); in Number 4 Dress ‘Frock Coat Dress’, as worn in this photograph, the wearing of the aiguillette was at the direction of the Senior Officer present.

 

For Admirals of the Fleet, the ‘Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom’, and the ‘Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom’, the aiguillette was of ¼-inch (6.3 mm) thick gold wire basket cord, formed into two plaits and two loops, the terminals ending in netted heads and gilt embossed metal tags; for all other Aides-de Camp, Honorary Physicians & Surgeons, and Naval Equerries, the aiguillette was of the same design, but constructed from ¼-inch (6.3 mm) gold gimp cord. We also see in this photograph the gold plaited shoulder cord from which to hang the aiguillette, and worn with Orders of Dress that did not include the epaulette (in ‘White Undress’ the right shoulder strap was utilized instead); from September, 1920, all those Officers who wore the ‘Dress Aiguillette’ were authorized to wear the Royal Cypher, surmounted by the ‘Tudor Crown’, in dull silver on the epaulettes, shoulder straps, and on the shoulder cord.

 

The ‘Dress Aiguillette’, as described above, was also known as the ‘Royal Aiguillette’, and should not be confused with the 1891 pattern ‘Staff Aiguillette’ worn on the left shoulder (in all Orders of Dress) by the following: Officers on the Staff of Flag Officers and Commodores (i.e. Flag Commanders, Flag Lieutenant-Commanders, and Flag Lieutenants); the Secretary to a Flag Officer or Commodore; and Naval Attachés. The ‘Staff Aiguillette’ was of similar design to the ‘Dress Aiguillette’, but made of blue and gold cord, 8/40-inch (5.1 mm) thick, and the gilt metal tags were mounted with silver metal anchors. In place of the shoulder cord, a plain navy-blue shoulder strap was worn when necessary. Naval Attachés who were also Aides-de-Camp to H.M. The King wore the ‘Dress Aiguillette’ only, on the right shoulder.

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Detail - 'Officers' Cap' (for Commodores 2nd Class, Captains, & Commanders) with white cap cover

 

Detail - 1898 pattern 'Dress Aiguillette', shoulder cord, 1901 pattern 'Undress Sword Belt', rank distinction lace

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H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, K.G., G.C.S.I., G.M.M.G., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O., G.M.B.E., M.C., K.St.J., P.C., A.D.C., Captain, R.N., in the Officers’ Number 1 Dress ‘Full Dress’; Buckingham Palace, London, 21st June, 1922.

 

Prince Edward was appointed both an extra Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India (G.C.S.I.), and an extra Knight Grand Commander of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (G.C.I.E.), on the 10th October, 1921. Since 1919, and acting as the personal emissary of King George V, The Prince of Wales had travelled across the globe, in a public display of thanks to the nations and peoples of the Empire for their contribution to victory in the Great War. He embarked, yet again, on H.M.S. Renown, on 26th October, 1921, for what would be the final, and most exotic, tour undertaken in his rôle as ‘Empire Ambassador’, encompassing the Empire of India, the Kingdom of Nepal, the Crown Colony of Ceylon, the Philippine Islands, the Crown Colony of Hong Kong, the Empire of Japan, the Protectorate of North Borneo, British Malaya, and the Kingdom of Egypt.

 

Prince Edward is seen here on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on 21st June, 1922, acknowledging the cheers of the crowd, after a homecoming procession through the beflagged and crowded streets of London; he had only landed ashore that morning, returning from his eight-month long ‘Oriental Grand Tour’. The Prince of Wales is wearing the Officers’ Number 1 Dress ‘Full Dress’, as per the Admiralty Orders issued in 1919, which altered the existing uniform regulations. In 1918 the separate and distinct ‘Full Dress’ as worn by Commissioned Warrant Officers and Warrant Officers was abolished, as too was their plain 1827/1846 pattern ‘Royal Navy Warrant Officers’ Sword’; instead, they were to now wear the Commissioned Officers’ ‘Full Dress’ (with Commissioned Warrant Officers, for the first time, wearing ‘Shoulder Scales’), and carry the more ornate 1827/1846 pattern ‘Royal Navy Officer’s Sword’ (albeit suspended from an ‘Undress Sword Belt’). However, despite all Commodores (2nd Class), Commissioned Officers, Mates, Commissioned Warrant Officers, and Warrant Officers now wearing the same, basic, ‘Full Dress’, the process of reform continued, as it was felt by the Admiralty that the differences in detail and embellishment that were required between the three rank groups (i.e. between (i) Commodores (2nd Class), Captains, and Commanders; (ii) Lieutenant-Commanders, Lieutenants, Sub-Lieutenants, and Mates; and (iii) Commissioned Warrant Officers, and Warrant Officers) had become excessive. The result of this was the introduction of the 1919 pattern Officers’ ‘Full Dress Coat’, identical in colour and cut to the 1901 pattern Commissioned Officers’ ‘Full Dress Coat’, except that now there were only variations in detail and embellishment between two rank groups, i.e. (i) Commodores (2nd Class), Commissioned Officers, and Mates; and (ii) Commissioned Warrant Officers and Warrant Officers. Moreover, for Commodores (2nd Class), and all ranks down to Lieutenant, who wore ‘Epaulettes’ and ‘Laced Trowsers’ with ‘Full Dress’, there was now only one depth of bullion fringe on the 1901 pattern ‘Epaulettes’, and the stripes down the outside seams of the 1891 pattern ‘Laced Trowsers’ were all of the same width of gold lace. Those items of Officer’s ‘Full Dress’ which were not altered in 1919 were the 1901 pattern ‘Cocked Hat’ (with Officers of the Civil Branches now wearing the same decoration as Officers of the Military Branch), the 1891 pattern ‘Plain Trowsers’, the 1901 pattern ‘Full Dress Sword Belt’, the 1901 pattern ‘Undress Sword Belt’ (worn only in ‘Full Dress’ by Commissioned Warrant Officers and Warrant Officers), the 1827/1846 pattern ‘Royal Navy Officer’s Sword’, the 1856 pattern ‘Sword Scabbard’, and white gloves. The one exception to this was the ‘Full Dress’ uniform worn by Commodores (2nd Class), which lost the Flag Officers’ quality ‘Cocked Hat’, ‘Sword Belt’, and ‘Sword Scabbard’ hitherto worn; their uniform was to be now exactly the same as worn by Captains, save for the rank insignia on cuffs and epaulettes. Details of the 1919 changes to the Officers’ Number 1 Dress ‘Full Dress’ are as follows, including the new rank insignia of Commissioned Warrant Officers, and Warrant Officers, which were adopted in 1918.

 

Commodores (2nd Class), Captains, Commanders, Lieutenant-Commanders, Lieutenants, Sub-Lieutenants, and Mates

Coat

Collar
: 1-inch (25.4 mm) wide lace on top and front edges, ½-inch (12.7 mm) on lower edge.
Cuff-slash
: ½-inch (12.7 mm) lace on top, lower, and scalloped edges.
Skirt-flaps
: 1-inch (25.4 mm) lace all round.

Epaulettes and Shoulder Scales

Commodores (2
nd
Class), Captains,
Commanders,
Lieutenant-Commanders, and Lieutenants
: Epaulettes with 2¾-inch (69.9 mm) deep fringe.
Sub-Lieutenants and Mates
: Shoulder Scales.

Trousers

Commodores (2
nd
Class), Captains,
Commanders,
Lieutenant-Commanders, and Lieutenants
: 1¼-inch (31.8 mm) wide lace stripe down the outside seam.
Sub-Lieutenants, and Mates
: no lace stripe (i.e. ‘Plain Trowsers’).

 

Commissioned Warrant Officers, and Warrant Officers

Coat

Collar
: ½-inch (12.7 mm) wide lace on top and front edges, ¼-inch (6.3 mm) on lower edge.
Cuff-slash
: ¼-inch (6.3 mm) lace on top, lower, and scalloped edges.
Skirt-flaps
: no lace.

Shoulder Scales

Commissioned Warrant Officers
: Shoulder Scales.
Warrant Officers
: none.

Trousers

No lace stripe (i.e. ‘Plain Trowsers’).

Rank Insignia

Commissioned Warrant Officers
: one row of ½-inch (12.7 mm)
rank
distinction lace around each cuff, forming a curl 1¾-inch (44.4 mm)in diameter in the middle of the sleeve; on the ‘Shoulder Scales’, an anchor with chain cable, the same as for Sub-Lieutenants, and Mates.
Warrant Officers
: one row of ¼
-inch (6.3 mm) rank
distinction lace around each cuff, forming a curl 1¾ inches (44.4 mm) in diameter in the middle of the sleeve.

 

Other than the addition of these new rank insignia worn by Commissioned Warrant Officers and Warrant Officers, the rank insignia displayed on the cuffs and ‘Epaulettes’/‘Shoulder Scales’ of the 1919 pattern Officers’ ‘Full Dress Coat’ remained exactly as worn previously (and the ‘Dress Aiguillette’ and ‘Staff Aiguillette’ remained unchanged for those authorized to wear them). However, for Commissioned Officers, Mates, Commissioned Warrant Officers, and Warrant Officers, of the Civil Branches, who since 1918 (1915 for Engineer Officers) had worn exactly the same uniforms and rank insignia as the Military Branch, their rank distinction lace remained differenced from those of the Military Branch by the use of coloured branch distinction cloth under, or between, the row(s) of lace.

 

After the reform of ‘Full Dress’ in 1919, Subordinate Officers, i.e. Midshipmen and Naval Cadets, continued to be prescribed an alternative uniform for wear on those occasions for which other Officers wore ‘Full Dress’; however, while for Midshipmen this continued to be the 1901 pattern ‘Round Jacket’, for Naval Cadets it was now simply the Officers’ Number 5 Dress ‘Undress’, their use of the ‘Round Jacket’ having been discontinued in 1919.

 

Despite the reform of the Officers’ Number 1 Dress ‘Full Dress’ as discussed above, the new 1919 pattern ‘Full Dress Coat’ was destined to be little seen; in the same year as its introduction, the Admiralty ordered that ‘Full Dress’ was in future to be restricted to His Majesty’s Levées within the United Kingdom, with ‘Frock Coat with Epaulettes Dress’ henceforth to take its place on all other occasions.

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H.M. King George V and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, K.G., K.T., G.C.S.I., G.M.M.G., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O., G.M.B.E., M.C., K.St.J., P.C., A.D.C., Captain, R.N., in the Officers’ Number 3 Dress ‘Frock Coat with Epaulettes Dress’; H.M.Y. Victoria and Albert, Spithead, 26th July, 1924.

 

Prince Edward was appointed a Knight of the Thistle (K.T.) on 23rd June, 1922. This illustration, from a cigarette card, depicts H.M. The King and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales on the bridge of His Majesty’s Yacht (H.M.Y.) Victoria and Albert, reviewing the Atlantic and Reserve Fleets at Spithead, in the Solent, on Saturday 26th July, 1924. With 196 vessels lined up for inspection, this was the largest Fleet Review since the eve of the Great War, and although fewer capital ships were present than in 1914, most of those that were assembled had been blooded at the Battle of Jutland in 1916; their crews cheered vigorously as H.M.Y. Victoria and Albert passed.

 

Both the King-Emperor and Prince Edward are seen here correctly uniformed in Number 3 Dress ‘Frock Coat with Epaulettes Dress’. In 1919, Number 1 Dress ‘Full Dress’ was restricted to His Majesty’s Levées within the United Kingdom, with ‘Frock Coat with Epaulettes Dress’ henceforth to be worn at all other occasions hitherto requiring ‘Full Dress’. H.M. The King, as Commander-in-Chief, wears ‘Frock Coat with Epaulettes Dress’ as worn by Flag Officers, with the rank insignia of an Admiral of the Fleet. In 1919 the width of the -inch (15.9 mm) rings of rank distinction lace worn on the cuffs by Flag Officers was ordered to be reduced to ½-inch (12.7 mm). However, although the order promulgating this change had stated that it was introduced with ‘the King’s approval’, the Admiralty had in fact failed to consult His Majesty over this alteration. Finding it objectionable that he should be dictated to in such a manner over the detail of his own uniform, King George V marked his displeasure by instructing all Members of the Royal Family holding Flag rank in the Royal Navy to continue wearing rank distinction lace ⅝-inch (15.9 mm) wide, a practice which is still followed today. Note the ‘Dress Aiguillette’ being worn by The Prince of Wales in his capacity as Personal Aide-de-Camp to H.M. The King. Both George V and Prince Edward are wearing the Breast Star of the Order of the Garter, The King as Sovereign of the Order, and The Prince of Wales as a Knight Companion. His Majesty also displays the Breast Star of a Knight Grand Cross of the Military Division of the Order of the Bath (G.C.B.), being Sovereign of that Order.

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H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, K.G., K.T., K.P., G.C.S.I., G.M.M.G., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O., G.M.B.E., M.C., K.St.J., P.C., A.D.C., Captain, R.N., in the Officers’ Number 4 Dress ‘Frock Coat Dress’; circa 1930-35.

 

Prince Edward was appointed a Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (K.P.) on 3rd June, 1927.

 

On 20th January, 1936, H.M. King George V died, and The Prince of Wales succeeded to the throne as H.M. King Edward VIII. This patriotic postcard was printed between 28th May, 1936 (when the date of the Coronation the following year was announced), and 11th December, 1936 (when Parliament recognised and ratified King Edward VIII’s abdication); you can’t help but feel that the publisher and retailers must have been left with rather a lot of unsold stock!

 

The postcard is also wrong in the choice of photograph used to depict the King-Emperor, as it shows him, as The Prince of Wales, in the rank of Captain, R.N. (identifiable by the single row of gold oak leaf embroidery on the front edge of the ‘Officers’ Cap’, which was worn by Commodores (2nd Class), Captains and Commanders). On 1st January, 1935, Prince Edward had been promoted to the rank of Admiral, and on 21st January, 1936, the day after he acceded the throne, H.M. King Edward VIII assumed the rank of Admiral of the Fleet. This photograph depicts Prince Edward in ‘Frock Coat Dress’, with ‘Dress Aiguillette’ and accompanying shoulder cord.

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H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, K.G., K.T., K.P., G.C.S.I., G.M.M.G., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O., G.M.B.E., M.C., K.St.J., P.C., A.D.C., Admiral, R.N., in the Officers’ Number 5 Dress ‘Undress’; 1st May to 30th September, 1935.

 

Colour postcard depicting Prince Edward in the rank of Admiral, to which he was promoted directly from Captain on the 1st January, 1935. He wears the everyday ‘Undress’ uniform, and white cap cover, made from ribbed marcella cloth, which dates the photograph on which this postcard is based to between 1st May and 30th September, 1935. In 1931, all ½-inch (12.7 mm) rank distinction lace was increased in width to 9/16-inch (14.3 mm), although this was ignored by Members of the Royal family who held Flag rank, who maintained H.M. the King’s precept of wearing pre-1919 size lace for the smaller rings on the cuffs; thus each of the three top rings seen here worn by the The Prince of Wales would have been ⅝-inch (15.9 mm) wide.

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H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, K.G., K.T., K.P., G.C.S.I., G.M.M.G., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O., G.M.B.E., M.C., K.St.J., P.C., A.D.C., Admiral, R.N., in the Officers’ Number 10 Dress ‘White Undress’; H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth, 1935.

 

The Prince of Wales is seen here on the deck of H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth in 1935, observing the Mediterranean Fleet on exercise through a pair of tripod-mounted ship’s binoculars. H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth was the name ship of the five Queen Elizabeth-class ‘Super-Dreadnought’ battleships launched between 1913 and 1915, and at the time of this photograph was the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet.

 

Accompanying Prince Edward in viewing the naval manoeuvres is his favourite brother, H.R.H. The Duke of Kent (1902-1942), and, to the left of the photograph, Admiral Sir William Wordsworth Fisher, G.C.B., G.C.V.O. (1875-1937). Prince George held the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, having been a serving officer until 1929; Sir William had been ‘Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Station’, i.e. commander of the Mediterranean Fleet, since 1932.

 

In 1924, new ‘Uniform Regulations for Officers of the Fleet’ were issued, the first since 1891, and in which were incorporated all the changes and alterations that had gradually been introduced over the preceding 23 years. The opportunity was also taken to renumber certain Orders of Dress, and thus what had been Number 8 Dress ‘White Undress’ was split into three, to better reflect the wide range of occasions for which it could be worn; it thereby emerged as Number 8 Dress ‘White Full Dress’, Number 8A Dress ‘White Dress’, and Number 8B Dress ‘White Undress’. In 1934, Officers’ uniforms were again renumbered, with Number 8A Dress becoming Number 9 Dress, and Number 8B becoming Number 10; these and other changes since 1924 necessitated yet another codification, and so in 1937, after only 13 years, a new set of ‘Uniform Regulations for Officers of the Fleet’ was issued.

 

All three Officers in the photograph are wearing Number 10 Dress ‘White Undress’, with the 1901 pattern ‘White Tunic’ with stand collar, which with the abolition in 1935 of the step collared 1918 pattern ‘White Undress Coat’, became once again the only option for wear in Numbers 8, 9, and 10 Dresses. As can be seen, both The Prince of Wales and Sir William wear the shoulder straps of the design prescribed for Flag Officers, and display the rank insignia of an Admiral, i.e. three small eight-pointed stars, above them crossed sword and baton surmounted by a crown. In addition, Prince Edward wears the Royal Cypher in dull silver on each strap, the distinction of his appointment as a Personal A.D.C. to H.M. The King.

 

The second photograph shows H.R.H. The Prince George (he was created Duke of Kent only in 1934) as a Midshipman in 1921, aboard the ‘Dreadnought’ battleship H.M.S. Iron Duke, the then flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet. This image clearly shows the distinctive features of the ‘White Tunic’, i.e. the stand collar, and breast patch pockets, without flaps. Subordinate Officers did not wear shoulder straps with ‘White Undress’, instead displaying their rank on the collar in exactly the same way as on both the navy-blue ‘Round Jacket’, and the navy-blue ‘Undress Coat’; thus Prince George wears the white collar patches (‘turn-backs’) with button and notched hole of white twist, signifying a Midshipman.

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H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, K.G., K.T., K.P., G.C.S.I., G.M.M.G., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O., G.M.B.E., M.C., K.St.J., P.C., A.D.C., Admiral, R.N., in the Flag Officers’ Number 1 Dress ‘Full Dress’; 1st January, 1935 to 20th January, 1936.

 

This colourized photograph depicts The Prince Of Wales in the rank of Admiral, to which he was promoted on the 1st January, 1935, and which he held until his assumption of the rank of Admiral of the Fleet on 21st January, 1936, the day after he acceded to the Throne.

 

In 1919, at the same time as reforms were being to the Officers’ Number 1 Dress ‘Full Dress’, alterations were also made to the ‘Full Dress’ worn by Flag Officers and Commodores (1st Class), albeit to a much lesser extent. A new pattern ‘Full Dress Coat’ was introduced for Flag Officers in 1919, identical in colour, cut, detail and embellishment to the 1904 pattern Flag Officers’ ‘Full Dress Coat’ hitherto worn, the only change made being to the size of the gold rank distinction lace worn on the cuff: the previously -inch (15.9 mm) wide rings of lace were now reduced to ½-inch (12.7 mm). Legwear remained the 1891 pattern ‘Laced Trowsers’, although the 1¾-inch (44.4 mm) wide gold lace stripe down the outside seam was abolished, being replaced with a 1½-inch (38.1 mm) lace stripe (as had been worn by Captains and Commanders before 1919). All other components of the Flag Officers’ Number 1 Dress ‘Full Dress’ remained exactly as before. Flag Officers of the Civil Branches had, since 1918 (1915 for those in the Engineer Branch), been entitled to wear exactly the same uniforms and rank insignia (including the ‘Executive Curl’) as their counterparts in the Military Branch: this included all the components of ‘Full Dress’, in which uniform they were distinguished only by the use of coloured branch distinction cloth between the rows of rank distinction lace.

 

However, despite the changes made in 1919 to the Flag Officers’ ‘Full Dress’, here we see Prince Edward wearing the 1904 pattern ‘Full Dress Coat’ for Flag Officers, together with 1¾-inch (44.4 mm) wide lace stripe on the trousers! As we discussed earlier, this was due to the specific instructions made by King George V to those members of the Royal Family holding Flag rank. Note the Royal Cypher displayed on the ‘Epaulettes’, which from 1920 was worn by all those Officers entitled to wear the 1898 pattern ‘Dress Aiguillette’: unusually, Prince Edward wears the Royal Cypher on the crescent of the epaulettes, as Flag Officers who were entitled to the Royal Cypher normally wore it immediately below the crown. Among the full regalia of Orders, Decorations, and Medals worn by the The Prince of Wales here in ‘Full Dress’, we see the insignia of a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter (K.G.), both the Breast Star (a silver eight-pointed star with a gold and enamel centre, depicting the cross of St George encircled by the Garter), and the Riband, i.e. a sky-blue (properly ‘kingfisher-blue’) sash, from which is suspended over the right hip the oval, gold, pierced Badge of the Order, also known as the ‘The Lesser George’. We also see the insignia of the Grand Master of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (G.M.M.G.), both the Breast Star (a seven-armed, silver-rayed 'Maltese Asterisk', a gold ray between each silver arm, with in front the Cross of St George in red enamel, at the centre of which, within a blue circle, is depicted St Michael trampling over Satan) and, worn at the neck, the Badge of the Order (a gold, seven-armed ‘Maltese Asterisk’, enamelled white and edged gold, the obverse of the blue circled centre portraying St Michael trampling on Satan, with the reverse showing St George on horseback killing the dragon). Prince Edward also wears the Badge of the Royal Victorian Chain around his collar, suspended from a gold chain; conferred as a special mark of the Sovereign’s favour, The Prince of Wales received it on his 27th birthday, i.e. 23rd June, 1921.

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Hi Andrew !! Problem at all No !! :JC_doubleup:

 

The uniforms of the Royal Navy of this period can be quite complex and confusing to decipher, so I thought it useful to lay out in a detailed way Officers' dress, using Prince Edward as the example !! Here are a couple of very good colour plates from around 1920, and while generally accurate, the artist has made a few mistakes. . . :dash1:

  • the Royal Cypher on the shoulder strap for Admiral of the Fleet should be surmounted by a crown (the artist has obviously got confused by the fact that the cypher itself sits below the crown forming part of the rank insignia)
  • the Lieutenant-Commander is in 'Frock Coat Dress' and therefore should be wearing the 'Undress Sword Belt' instead of the 'Full Dress Sword Belt'.
  • the Admiral must be an Aide-de-Camp to HM The King, otherwise the wearing of the 'Dress Aiguillette' is wrong; only Admirals of the Fleet wore the 'Dress Aiguillete' by virtue solely of their rank.
  • the Sub-Lieutenant (or Mate, the uniform being identical) is in 'Frock Coat with Epaulettes Dress' and therefore should be wearing the 'Full Dress Sword Belt' instead of the 'Undress Sword Belt' (or the Sub-Lieutenant is not a Sub-Lieutenant at all, but rather a Commissioned Warrant Officer, for whom the only feature distinguishing him from a Sub-Lieutenant or Mate would be the wearing of an 'Undress Sword Belt'!)
  • the Midshipman should be wearing his 'Undress Dirk Belt' under the 'Morning Waistcoat', and not over it.
  • The 'Chief Boatswain', which was one of the appointments and titles which could be held by a Commissioned Warrant Officer, is actually only a Boatswain, as he is wearing the 'Full Dress' of a Warrant Officer. If he had been 'Chief Boatswain', he would be wearing 'Shoulder Scales' and, on the cockade of the 'Cocked Hat' would have a loop of bright bullion twisted round a button.
  • The 'Web Equipment, Pattern 1908', as worn by both the Sergeant of the Royal Marine Light Infantry and the Able Seaman, has been incorrectly rendered by the artist as if constructed from leather; the equipment should be in a lighter, greenish, shade, to indicate 'blancoed' cotton webbing.

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Another illustration, from 1915, showing an Admiral, his Flag Lieutenant and Secretary, and a Midshipman, all in Number 5 Dress 'Undress'. Note the 'Staff Aiguillette' worn by the two members of the Admiral's Staff. The Admiral's Secretary wears white branch distinction cloth indicating the Accountant Branch, and thus holds the rank of 'Fleet Paymaster' (equivalent to the rank of 'Commander' in the Military Branch). As a member of one of the Civil Branches, the Fleet Paymaster lacks the 'Executive Curl' on his rank distinction lace, and instead of the gold oak leaf embroidery worn on the front edge of the peak by Commanders in the Military Branch, wears plain gold embroidery.

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  • 1 month later...

Принц Уэлльский возвращается в Великобританию после поездки в Индию. Телеграфная фотография французского агентства "Трампю".

 

Prince of Wales returns home after the voyage to the British India Empire.

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  • 5 years later...
On 9/2/2015 at 1:03 AM, cmf said:

Hi Andrew !! Problem at all No !! :JC_doubleup:

 

The uniforms of the Royal Navy of this period can be quite complex and confusing to decipher, so I thought it useful to lay out in a detailed way Officers' dress, using Prince Edward as the example !! Here are a couple of very good colour plates from around 1920, and while generally accurate, the artist has made a few mistakes. . . :dash1:

  • the Royal Cypher on the shoulder strap for Admiral of the Fleet should be surmounted by a crown (the artist has obviously got confused by the fact that the cypher itself sits below the crown forming part of the rank insignia)
  • the Lieutenant-Commander is in 'Frock Coat Dress' and therefore should be wearing the 'Undress Sword Belt' instead of the 'Full Dress Sword Belt'.
  • the Admiral must be an Aide-de-Camp to HM The King, otherwise the wearing of the 'Dress Aiguillette' is wrong; only Admirals of the Fleet wore the 'Dress Aiguillete' by virtue solely of their rank.
  • the Sub-Lieutenant (or Mate, the uniform being identical) is in 'Frock Coat with Epaulettes Dress' and therefore should be wearing the 'Full Dress Sword Belt' instead of the 'Undress Sword Belt' (or the Sub-Lieutenant is not a Sub-Lieutenant at all, but rather a Commissioned Warrant Officer, for whom the only feature distinguishing him from a Sub-Lieutenant or Mate would be the wearing of an 'Undress Sword Belt'!)
  • the Midshipman should be wearing his 'Undress Dirk Belt' under the 'Morning Waistcoat', and not over it.
  • The 'Chief Boatswain', which was one of the appointments and titles which could be held by a Commissioned Warrant Officer, is actually only a Boatswain, as he is wearing the 'Full Dress' of a Warrant Officer. If he had been 'Chief Boatswain', he would be wearing 'Shoulder Scales' and, on the cockade of the 'Cocked Hat' would have a loop of bright bullion twisted round a button.
  • The 'Web Equipment, Pattern 1908', as worn by both the Sergeant of the Royal Marine Light Infantry and the Able Seaman, has been incorrectly rendered by the artist as if constructed from leather; the equipment should be in a lighter, greenish, shade, to indicate 'blancoed' cotton webbing.

 

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Hello, sorry for such a late reply; I as you do find the history of Royal Navy uniforms absolutely and endlessly fascinating.

What I find particularly interesting about the bottom picture is that it's one of the few photographs I've been able to find of the post-1918 full dress as worn by warrant officers (and I have to date been unable to find any photographs.

What's also interesting is that the full dress (for all commissioned officers, and chief warrant officers and warrant officers, though the two latter are by this point of course simply 'commissioned officers' and 'senior commissioned officers') are still listed in the 1955 RN dress regulations, as are the midshipman's round jacket, dirk-belt, and dirk, and the Master-at-arms' frock coat, though all are of course listed as 'in abeyance'.

What I have found, in all my research, rather frustrating, is that I have not been able to find any Admiralty Fleet Order abolishing (or otherwise amending) these items of uniform before Admiralty Fleet Order 1/60, which introduces the Ceremonial Day Coat as worn today by certain Royal Navy flag officers, and which was subsequently amended by Admiralty Fleet Order 40/60, re-introducing the embroidered full dress sword belts as worn by flag officers, Commodores, Captains and Commanders.

One other thing: after his promotion to Commander RN in 1975, the present Prince of Wales starts wearing the Ceremonial Day Coat, laced trousers and the full dress sword belt as worn by Commodores, Captains and Commanders before 1939, (as can be seen at the earliest at the funeral of Lord Mountbatten, and as famously worn at his wedding to his first wife), as as does his brother the Duke of York after his promotion to honorary Commander in 1999. Both Princes continued to do so after their respective promotions to Captain RN, and they both do of course to the present day as flag officers.

However, I have been able to find no Admiralty Fleet Order or Defence Council Instruction authorising the wearing of the Ceremonial Day Coat and it's accoutrements for officers below flag rank; indeed, a AFO of 1976 in fact further restricts the wearing of this rig to Admirals of the Fleet, full Admirals, and flag officers holding various other appointments. The only two things that I can even think might have any bearing on this is a bit in the 2005 RN dress regulations that says "other officers may do so with the authorisation of the Second Sea Lord", and the bit in each post-1999 RN dress regulations that states "members of the Royal Family" (but this states "holding flag rank".

 Do you have any insight on either of these? It's been perplexing me for ages.

Many thanks in advance, 

J.W. (Skipperino).

 

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