An outline of the history of the Writers Branch.

For centuries, English warships sailed the seas with hardy sailors, who not only fought with their vessels, but went about day to day duties. By and by most of the men were illiterate, with only the officers on board the ones who could read and write.  Most of the ships business was carried out ashore by civilian clerks.

Up until 1867, the royal navy never considered the idea of passing part of the clerical duties afloat to naval ratings. Civil clerks had always been the backbone of naval administration.  However clerical work meant a degree of education far beyond that of the 18th and 19th century sailor.

As we know the amount of clerical work we do was increasing, putting more pressure on the admiralty to employ more clerks.

By 1867 the position was out of hand so much so that the admiralty decided to drastically limit the entry of the clerks.  To offset this reduction, a new sea going rating of writer was established.


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