Promotion Path – is this usual?

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    Sarah W

      I am hoping someone can clarify the following for me. I am researching an Anglo/Maltese boy (English father/Maltese mother) who joined the RN in 1823 aged 11 as a Volunteer First Class. His naval records show he became a midshipman in 1827, then Vol 1st Class 1828, Midshipman 1829, Mate 1830, Vol Ist Class 1831, Mate 1832, Lieutenant 1841, Commander 1854. Some of these dates don’t tally with other records so I am trying to work out which are the most likely.
      Is this a normal path? – he seems to go backwards on occasion.
      Also, would he have had to have gone back to England when he signed up – or could he have joined a vessel in Malta? His father did not have any naval connections although an older brother has joined up a few years earlier.
      Any thoughts would be appreciated.

      David Hepper

        Before being commissioned, I don’t think it was unusual to move between Midshipman/Volunteer/Mate etc – they were all recognised as being ranks held by potential officers. What does his entry in O’Byrne say about his career ?

        Peter Leech

          At the time he entered the RN then you’d have been midshipman aboard a ship, rather than midshipman in the navy per se. Therefore if you were rated as midshipman in one ship and then that ship paid off, then if you joined another ship then you might not do so as a midshipman which would account for joining another ship as a volunteer.

          Additionally, if I remember correctly at the time qualifying and acting as a masters mate gave additional pay over and above that of a midshipman. As a career path his doesn’t strike me as being particularly unusual, especially given that he’d have been competing for scarce jobs with officers who served during the Napoleonic wars.

          At the time he could have joined a vessel in Malta, and he wouldn’t have had to go to England.

          Sarah W

            Thank you Peter and David for your assistance. It is most helpful. Regards.

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