RN Name Stamp

Naval regulations stated that ratings should mark all their items of clothing in 3/8” high type. Blue clothing was to be marked with white paint and white clothing with black paint or marking ink. Detailed instructions were issued explaining where each item of clothing should be marked and when kit musters were called, items were to be displayed with the name clearly visible. In order to mark these names on the items of kit, a set of wooden reversed letter stamps were issued to each man: 

This set is for a man named ‘D.Ward’: 

The set is made up of individual wooden letters with a slot cut in the back of each: 

A thin piece of plywood is fitted into these slots as a wedge to hold them secure, and then trimmed off to the correct length for the sailor’s name: 

A larger set of type was used to mark items such as kitbags and hammock, but rather than being a personal issue item, these stamps were loaned out and made up as required. The smaller set of type was, however, a personal issue item and in the official kit layout from the 1930s the type set can be seen on display along with the rest of a man’s kit: 

These sets of type were issued until at least the 1970s, but their passing was not mourned as one sailor recalls, “messy things they were. It was a blessing when the permanent marker was invented.” 

One comment

  1. In the Army, kit inspections were a regular occurance, even if you lived off-Base your field equipment was inspected and you put your name on it so nobody who’d lost theirs ended up with yours in their layout instead 😉
    I don’t recall ever having a kit inspection in the Airforce, even when I lived in Barracks on my Trades course or afterward before I moved out to an apartment. We did have our rooms inspected for cleanliness, damage, properly made beds, etc. but if you didn’t want the Base Chief digging through your personal kit you learned to keep your lockers locked and the dresser drawers closed when you were at work.
    Tool box inspections were automatic before and after every job but personal kit wasn’t. It was more of a “lost it ? guess you’ll have to go get a new one or do without, won’t you.”
    Dress and deportment was maintained of course, but stopping someone in the middle of a complicated job to do something as silly as straighten their beret while they were wearing grease stained coveralls, as I saw happen in a vehicle repair shop, was unheard of unless it was causing a safety habit. We didn’t wear berets with coveralls and put more emphasis on generating properly serviceable A/C as quickly as possible then how we looked doing it.
    The minute you were off the hangar floor, however, you belonged to the SWO and if you were in CANEX you’d best look like having your boots at least black all over, buttons done up and your wedge cap on properly.
    It was sort of “You’re supposed to be a grownup we can trust with multi-million dollar things, if I have to tell you you’re not dressed properly then your NCO’s aren’t doing their jobs” and that’s how I treated those I was responsible for 😉

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