Service Record Abbreviations

This guide sheet contains a selected list of commonly abbreviations and phrases found in Royal Navy & Royal Marines Service Records from various periods. This list is not exhaustive.


A Absence (where not covered by something more specific)

(A) Air Branch

 A/ or Act. prefix for temporary rank

AA Anti-Aircraft

AAC Anti-Aircraft Corps

AC Aircraftsman

ACM Aircrewman

AD Artificer Diver

ADD Artificer Deep Diver

AEM Air Engineering Mechanic

AG Air Gunner

A/G I Anti-Gas Instructor

AM Air Mechanic

Armd Armoured

A/S OW Anti-Submarine Officer’s Writer

AWOL Absent without leave


Battn, Bn Battalion

Bd Band (eg. Bd Cpl, Bd Sgt)

Bde Brigade

Bdr. Bombardier, junior non-commissioned rank Royal Marine Artillery 1804-1923

BEF British Expeditionary Force

BPF British Pacific Fleet

Bty Battery


C or CELLS Confined to ships’ cells or barracks detention block

Capt Captain

CCAC Commando Cliff Assault Centre

Cdr Commander

Cdre Commodore

CG Captain of Gun

CH/ service number prefix for Chatham Division

CHU Commando Holding Unit

C.M. Courts Martial

CMWTC Commando Mountain Warfare Training Centre

CO Commanding Officer

Commd  Commissioned

COPRA Combined Operations Pay & Records Administration (including RM Landing craft crews 1939-46)

Coy Company

CP Civil Power

Cpl. Corporal

CPO Chief Petty Officer

CR 1/2/3 Control Rating & class

CS Continuous Service

C/Sgt Colour-Sergeant (sometimes Col.Sgt)

CSM Company Sergeant Major

CTCRM Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone, Devon.

              Formerly ITCRM.

CW Commander’s Office Writer


DAMS Defensively Armed Merchant Ships (1914-18)

D Detention (in RN or other military Detention Quarters) Sentence of Detention required a Punishment Warrant and was for a period of upwards of 28 days. Could be remitted by up to 7 days and recorded as ‘awarded’ or ‘served’

D Discharged

DD Discharged Dead (usually written in red pencil or heavy black ink)

DEMS Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships (1939-45)

Demob. Demobilisation followed by release class and date


Det Detached, detachment

Div, Divn Division: Chatham (Ch), Portsmouth (Po), Plymouth (Ply)

D/Maj. Drum Major

DP Detained Pay

DW Daily wage

DWS Died on War Service (as opposed to KIA)


EW Engineer’s Writer

EX/ service number prefix for Exton 1939-42


FAA Fleet Air Arm

FCPO Fleet Chief Petty Officer

Flt Flight - Either as part of a rank, e.g., Flt Lt (Flight Lieutenant) OR as in Ship’s Flight, the

part of a naval air squadron assigned to a ship

FO Flying Officer

FP Field Punishment, usually followed by a number that would refer to a set discipline tabled in King/Queens Regulations, and with days forfeited


GD General Duties

GLW Gunnery Lieutenant’s Writer

GM Gunner’s Mate


HBL Home Base Ledger (personnel within the UK)

HDML Harbour Defence Motor Launch

Hd.Qtrs Head Quarters (usually followed by Division)

H.O. Hostilities Only (1939-46)


I of M Instructor of Musketry

ITC Infantry Training Centre (also CTCRM, Lympstone, Exton, etc.)


JSAWC Joint Services Amphibious Warfare Centre


K.I.A Killed In Action

KR &I/QR & AL King’s/Queen’s Regulations and Admiralty Instructions


L Leading – as in LAM Leading Air Mechanic, etc

Lab A Laboratory Assistant

L/Cpl. Lance-Corporal (also L/Sgt)

LH Leading Hand

LR Layer Rating

LRLC Lead Rates’ Leadership Course (2 week course which is not mandatory for

advancement to Acting Leading Rating)

LS Leading Seaman

LS&GC Long Service & Good Conduct Medal

LSP Length of Service Pay

LSR Long Service and Reserve engagement

Lt, Lieut Lieutenant

Lt Cdr Lieutenant Commander

LFX/ service number prefix for Fleet Air Arm, Lee-on-Solent


M Medical Branch

Maj Major

MCTC Military Correction Training Centre

ME Marine Engineering Branch

MEF Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (1915-16)

M.I.A. Missing in Action

M.I.D. Mentioned-In-Despatches

MNBDO Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisation

Mne. Marine, entry rank of Royal Marines from 1923 onwards

MOA Marine Officers’ Attendant

MSM Meritorious Service Medal (can be with annuity)

MTD Mechanical Road Transport Driver

MTI Military Training Instructor

MTM Mechanical Road Transport Mechanic


NA Naval Airman

NAS Naval Air Squadron

NGSM Naval General Service Medal

NCO Non Commissioned Officer

Non-CS Rating entered for non-continuous service

NP Naval Party

NS Non-sea-going or New System


(O) Observer

OM Oberser’s Mate

On Passage aboard ship or transport but not part of detachment

ORA Operating Room Attendant

OS Old system


P Prison (civil prison sentence)

(P) Pilot

P or Prob. Probationary

Pay F Pay forfeited (punishment)

PCG Lump sum credit payment for pay rises during wartime but not paid until discharge

PLY/ service number prefix for Plymouth Division

PO Petty Officer

PO/ service number prefix for Portsmouth Division

POLC Petty Officers Leadership Course (4 week course mandatory for advancement to Acting Petty Officer, although possible to complete post-advancement if operational requirements prevented rating from participating before)

POW Prisoner Of War

PPT Passed the Provisional Test for swimming. Could swim 40 yards in pool with clothes

(duck suit) and stay afloat for 3 minutes

Prob. Probationary – as in Probationary Flying Officer (WW1)

PRTI Physical and Recreational Training Instructor

PST Passed Standard Test for swimming. Same as provisional test but in open sea.

Pte. Private, entry rank of Marines up to 1923

PURMS Permanently Unfit for Royal Marines Service

PVR Premature Voluntary Release

PWC Post War Clothing (1939-45)


QARNNS Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service

QELR Qualified Educationally for Leading Rate

QESDL Qualified Educationally for Special Duties List

QMS Quartermaster Sergeant (now Warrant Officer 2 or WO2)

QR Quarters Rating


R run, deserted

RAN Royal Australian Navy

RCN Royal Canadian Navy

RFR Royal Fleet Reserve (c1900-1914) sometimes given as a number prefix

RMA service number prefix for Royal Marine Artillery upto1923

RMB Royal Marine Barracks

RMB as service number prefix for Royal Marine Band personnel

RME Royal Marine Engineers (1939-46)

RMFVR Royal Marines Forces Reserve (renamed RMR in the 1960s)

RMG Recommended for Medal & Gratuity (see NGSM & MSM)

RMLC Royal Marine Labour Corps (1917-19)

RMLI Royal Marines Light Infantry (1855-1923)

RMMS Royal Marines Military School (Second World War officer training establishment at

Thurlestone, Devon)

RMP Royal Marine Police (1922-49). Also RMPSR Special Reserve

RMRD Royal Marine Reserve Depot

RMSAS Royal Marines Small Arms School

RMSC Regt Royal Marines Support Craft Regiment

RMSM Royal Marine School of Music

RMTG Royal Marines Training Group (c1942-46) usually one of four camps in Wales

RMTTD Royal Marines Technical Training Depot (Fort Cumberland c1930-1973, then to

Poole, Dorset)

RNACD Royal Naval Armoured Car Division, also RN Armoured Cars, RNAS Armoured Cars

RNAS Royal Naval Air Service 1914-19

RNAS (plus place name) Royal Naval Air Station, e.g. RNAS Yeovilton

RND Royal Naval Division (1914-18) RM provided two Battalions & support units.

Sometimes referred to as Victory Brigade and RM Brigade 1914-15.

RNR Royal Naval Reserve

RQ Run, with a query

RR Recommended for Re-engagement

RM Royal Marines

RNSM Royal Naval School of Music (1903-50)

RNVR Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

RNZN Royal New Zealand Navy

RNZNVR Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve

Rt right


S Seagoing

(s) Indicating short service when placed after service number (1914-18)

SAR Search and Rescue

S/C Submarine Coxswain

SCGM Senior Cook General Mess

SDI Submarine Detector Instructor

SEAC South East Asia Command (1942-46)

SG Seaman Gunner

Sgt. Sergeant

Shore landed after leaving the service for a non-dishonourable reason

Sh T (H/LG) Shorthand Typist (Higher/Lower Grade)

SM Submarine Service

SNLR Services No Longer Required

SO Senior Observer

SOS Struck Off Strength

Sqn or Sqdn Squadron

SP Senior Pilot

S&S or S/L Supply & Secretariat or Supply/Logistics Branch

SS Special Service (eg SS Bde was renamed 3 Commando Bde)

Sup. Or Supy. Supernumerary, attached but not on the strength of (e.g.) a unit or ship

Supr Superior


TAG Telegraphist Air Gunner

TC Torpedo Coxswain

TDI Telegraphist Detector Instructor

Tel  Telegraphist

Temp or Tpy. Or Tempy. Temporary rank or appointment

TG Training Group (see RMTG)

TGM Torpedo Gummer’s Mate

TLW Torpedo Lieutenant’s Writer

TOS Taken on Strength

TO(V/S) Trained Operator (Visual Signalling)

TO(W/T) Trained Operator (Wireless Telegraphy)

Tp Troop

TSM Troop Sergeant-Major

TTD Technical Training Department (see RMTTD)

TTW Technical Training Wing


UL Unpaid leave


VG Very good

V/S Visual Signaller


WAR CHEVRONS also known as service stripes, worn point up on lower right sleeve.

WE Weapons Engineering Branch

WG War Gratuity

WO Warrant Officer

WOUND STRIPES Two inch lengths of gold or red braid worn above left sleeve cuff. Issued

for each time wounded.

WRA Ward Room Attendant

WRNS Women’s Royal Naval Service

WSI War Service Increment paid for years of war service completed 1939-45

WT Wireless Telegraphist

WT Waiting trial


X Seaman/Operations/Executive Branch

XRA X-ray Assistant


Yeo Stores Yeoman of Stores

Yrs Years

HMS Hermes returning from the Falklands