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Marine and Naval Ratings Service Numbers

Royal Navy

The numbers of ratings consisted of a Prefix indicating their Port Division (responsible for their training, promotion and manning of ships), a forward slash, a Main Letter denoting their trade, and a 4-6 figure number. An additional letter "X" after the main letter indicates that the rating was engaged after the the new pay code of the early 1930s was introduced.

(W) - World War 2 only

Prefix Letters
Home Port DivisionsCChatham
LTLowestoft (W)
RRosyth (W)
Overseas Port DivisionsMALTAMalta
AAlexandria (W)
Fleet Air ArmFAA(W)
Main Letters
Long Service
(12 years plus optional 10 years to qualify for pension)
JSeamen and Communications
KStokers and Mechanicians
LOfficers' Stewards, some Officers' Cooks
MOthers -Artificers, Electrical, Supply etc
NNAAFI staff (W)
FFleet Air Arm
Short Service
(7 years plus 5 years on Reserve)
SSSeamen and Communications
SFFleet Air Arm


  • C/JX - Long service seaman from Chatham Port Division
  • D/SKX - Short service stoker from the Devonport Port Division
  • P/M - Long service, miscellaneous rating from the Portsmouth Port Division, who engaged before the new pay code into use.

Royal Marines

Some Royal Marine numbers had prefix letters as shown below (e.g. PO/1327) and sometimes there was a letter after the number indicating their trade .

(W) - World War 2 only

CHChatham Group
PLYPlymouth Group
POPortsmouth Group
EXExton (W)
RMBRoyal Marine Bands

Royal Marine Police guarding dock yards and depots had group prefixes as shown above with main letters "RMP" (eg. PO/RMP12345).