Wednesday 4 February 2015

HMS Pembroke.

HMS PEMBROKE          3-Dec-1943      to     23-Jan-1944

The next entry in Dad’s record has him assigned to HMS Pembroke. This again was not a vessel but as far as I can make out it was another shore establishment. This time it does not seem to have been a training school or officer training place but an accountancy base. HMS Pembroke is the name given to several barracks etc attached Royal Dockyard Chatham. Unlike HMS Cochrane I can see no actual deport ship at Chatham so it seems it was a base for administration. It is strange as Dad was of the Portsmouth Division (His serial No. begins with J which indicates this) so if it was just for convenience you would have thought that he would have been on the books in Portsmouth. There are several possibilities of exactly which one he was attached to;
HMS Pembroke I  was a Chatham accounting base 1940-60
HMS Pembroke II was a Chatham accounting base 1940-57
HMS Pembroke III was an accounting base at London and out stations 1942-52
HMS Pembroke IV was an accounting base at the Nore 1939-61

(The Nore is a sandbank at the mouth of the Thames that marks the meeting of the Thames and the North Sea. The world’s first lightship was moored there in 1732. It is perhaps most famous for the Nore Mutiny in the Royal Navy. Because of the importance there was a Commander in Chief of the Nore and ships where at one time anchored there permanently. In 1797 around the time of the French Revolution some of the vessels at the Nore mutinied and took over their vessels. The mutiny at Spithead just before had been mainly about the conditions in the service, but at the Nore it became more political and as such was not so popular and those that continued were severely dealt with.

The usual officer training took about six weeks and Dad was assigned to Pembroke for over seven weeks so it doesn’t seem that this was his officer training. However at the end of it on 24th Jan 1944 he was promoted to Temporary Acting Sub Lieutenant. The Temporary was referring to the type of commission. As Dad was RNVR he would not retain his rank after the conflict was over. The Acting part maybe a clue how he could have been promoted with out going on an Officer Training Course. I have a feeling that he may have been given the equivalent of a ‘field commission’. It seems to me that Dad had been dealing with coding/decoding  on an Admirals staff for along time. His actual rank is given a Temporary Acting Sub Lieutenant (Sp.Cy) which I think stands for Special cipher as that is written on a later report.  I have found that to read ciphers etc you had to be an officer. It would be the next logical step, after coding and decoding, to do the ciphering as well. It may well of being a natural progression that was pushed through by the Admiral.


  1. Hi, Been doing a bit of research on Pembroke IV and it's a lot more complicated than just an accountancy base; it was the command for the whole of the eastern coast of England as far up as Yorkshire, responsible for protecting coastal convoys. Worth checking here:

    It's also the case that "Pembroke IV" was the designation for a number of other smaller stations with a Naval Officer in Command (NOIC); for example, HMS Leigh, which is what Southend pier was designated during the War, was also covered by the term "Pembroke IV", so its entirely possible he wasn't at Chatham at all.,_The_Nore#Sub-areas_during_First_and_Second_World_Wars

    1. Hi There, Thanks for the info. I couldn't find much information when I wrote the blog. I would have thought that my grandparents would have recorded it if their son had been on a ship at sea during this period, and almost certainly if he was posted to somewhere as glamorous as Southend Pier. He may have been taking another short training course rather than just 'waiting'. The shore bases I found difficult to fathom, but thanks for the information, and for reading this blog. Cheers for now, Tony Porter