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The Waterguard Uniform

 
     
 

Page contents:

     
         
   
         

 

 

          The uniform worn by Waterguard officers has evolved and changed over the years.

          During this period the Waterguard service was inextricably linked to the Coastguard Service, and both were controlled to a greater or lesser degree by the Admiralty. The officers in charge of Stations were Naval Officers.

          Whilst no images of the uniforms of the period have been obtained, the cover of Edith Cowper's novel 'The Captain of the Waterguard', first published in 1912 has a picture which may be an image of an early 19th century uniform.

 

 

'Captain of Waterguard'

circa 1822

Left 'click' to enlarge image

 
     
     

          In the Customs Journal for September 1947, an article entitled 'UNIFORMS' by A C Booth was published, it can be read by selecting the 'button' on the right.

 

 

 

          In 1891 the Boatman grade wore a reefer jacket with no sleeve decoration whilst his supervisor, the Preventive Officer, wore a reefer jacket with a single gold stripe with a Naval style curl on the sleeve. From 1903 the uniform of the Preventive Officers - both Upper and Lower Sections - was supplied at the Crown's expense!

           The Chief Preventive Officer wore a reefer jacket with two and half gold stripes with a Naval style curl on the sleeve and the Waterguard Surveyor wore a reefer style frock coat with plain sleeves but with a distinctive cap.

          Throughout this time the Boatman/Preventive Man/Assistant Preventive Officer and Preventive Officer grades, wore a cap with a badge of gold wire depicting a King's Crown. The Preventive Officer's cap had a small gold pom-pom on the top and the Chief Preventive Officer's cap badge had a laurel leaf surround.

          The change in name of the Boatman grade to Preventive Man in 1905, and again in 1923 to Assistant Preventive Officer, saw no corresponding change in the style of uniform.

 

Boatman/Preventive Man

 

circa 1900

Left 'click' to enlarge image

 

 

 

Preventive Officer & Assistant Preventive Officer

c1923-1940

 
     

          In May 1912 the style of hat changed to the more familiar military style peaked cap and the practice of wearing a white cap cover during the summer months replaced the option of wearing straw hats in hot weather. General Order 25/1912 of 10 May 1912, which introduced the changes, can be read by selecting the 'button' on the right.

 

          On 23 December 1912, the Board of Customs & Excise issued General Order 61/1912 which introduced a new style of uniform for both the Waterguard and the Launch and Cutter services. General Order 61/1912 outlined the specifications for the new uniforms, including the issue of cravats to POs and CPOs and the positioning of performance stars on Preventive Men's jacket sleeves, can be read by selecting the 'button' on the right.

 

          Plaque  made for Dave I'Anson by Brian Halsall (ex Liverpool), whose hobby was woodwork. Dave found his old cap badge and great coat epaulette in a drawer, and Brian did the rest!

           

          A great Work of Art, and the only one in existence!

 

 

 

 

          In 1946 the Preventive Officers' and Assistant Preventive Officers' uniforms were augmented with a Naval style curl on the rank distinction rings.

          In 1948, the Assistant Preventive Officers' Uniform was augmented with a Working-dress Blouse made from the same material as the existing Jacket and vest and had the same period of wear. From then on all new-entrant Assistant Preventive Officers received a jacket and vest, working-dress blouse and two pairs of trousers. Their next upper-body garment issue was a blouse, and thereafter they received a jacketand a vest or a working-dress blouse alternately.

          Also, the uniform jacket style was modernised to mirror that worn by Royal Navy officers. At the same time the Assistant Preventive Officers' uniform was upgraded to a single gold stripe on the sleeve, the Preventive Officer two gold stripes and the Chief Preventive Officer's uniform was upgraded from two and a half to three gold stripes. All three grades were issued with greatcoats and raincoats.

          The greatcoat was based on a 'riding officers' greatcoat. The back incorporated a pleat from collar to hem, collected with a half belt and buttons, and a split from the waist down which could be held apart with buttons to accommodate the horses back!

          1948 also saw the issue of a removable, internal plastic disc to protect the lining of the uniform cap.

          From May 1949 a new, larger, cap badge was introduced. The badge consisted of a white metal portcullis in the centre of  gold embroidered laurel wreath with a gold embroidered crown above. But in view of labour difficulties it was not possible to obtain sufficient supplies of the new badge so a temporary badge of pressed to metal was issued to meet immediate needs.

          1952 saw the Chief Preventive Officer's Jacket and Overcoat ensignia upgraded to a three gold stripes on the sleeves and sholder. His cap now had a peak decorated with gold wire leaf. A three uniform cap badges were replaced with a portcullis design surmounted by a gold wire King's Crown.

          OWO 5/1957 announced that a lightweight - unpadded - cap was being introduced for Chief Preventive Officers and Preventive Officers in place of the padded cap then in use by all Waterguard staff. The padded cap continue to be supplied as general wear for Assistant Preventive Officers, with a lightweight cap as an optional issue.

          During the late 1960's all officers on a station were permitted to work in 'short sleeve order' during hot summer months, subject to Management agreement, but then uniform caps had to be worn at all times to identify officers.

 

Assistant Preventive Officer

Uniform

circa 1945

 

Assistant Preventive Officer

Greatcoat - Epauletes

circa 1950

Assistant Preventive Officer & Preventive Officer Greatcoat

circa 1950

Greatcoat

reverse - circa 1950

 
         

          Although not strictly part of the Waterguard, from the late 1940's Women Search Officers were seconded from the Clerical Officer grade and employed to attend at all the major Passenger Ports. Their job was to attend passenger movements and be available to search female suspects. They wore a smart navy blue Uniform, initialy without insignia, but the Peaked Cap left some thing to be desired until it was replaced in 1964.

           

           

           

           

          'LUCY LOVELATER - WSO' a poem by Sammy Soordook appeared in the May/June 1958 edition of the Customs Journal. A copy of this poem is available via the 'button' on the right.

 

Women Search Officers

circa 1948

Women Search Officer

circa 1964

 

 

          If the officer lived in London he could personally collect the initial 'Hairy' uniform issue from the stores branch at Woolwich, where he was also measured for his 'proper' uniform, otherwise the officer received 'temporary' uniform by post and was measured for his 'proper' uniform at a local tailors. A PDF copy of the initial issue letter is available via the 'button' on the right.

 

          By the end of 1951, the uniform supplied by the contractor - Wather & Gardner of Bristol - had become so poorly fitting that the Board of HM Customs & Excise made arrangements for a general re-measuring and for the contractor to visit all ports each year to re-measure officers. These arrangements were announced by OWO 50/1951 which  is reproduced here as a PDF and can be read by selecting the 'button' on the right.

 

          David Bowie's amusing account of wearing his 'hairies' at the WTC where, with two days to go,  he was issued with - and travelled home with - his 'made to measure' uniform, is reproduced here as a PDF and can be read by selecting the 'button' on the right.

 
     

          About six months later the 'made to measure' uniform arrived from the manufacturer  - Wather & Gardner - in Bristol to augment the cap, cap badge and white cap covers previously issued from Woolwich. This issue consisted of :

          • 2 x Jackets - one lightweight the other heavyweight,

          • 1 x Heavyweight waistcoat,

          • 3 x Pairs of trousers - one lightweight and the other two heavyweight,

          • 1 x Raincoat with a detachable inner lining

          • 1 x Greatcoat

          The officer had to supply his own shoes, socks, shirts and ties.

          Boiler suits were issued to staff on rummage duties.

          Additional uniform was issued to staff on the Irish Land Boundary for the purpose of waterproofing officers in their work when not under cover - for example vehicle examinations in the middle of nowhere! This included a black waterproof cap cover, waterproof leggings, a waterproof 'plasticised' raincoat and waterproof rubber boots.

 

Preventive Officer

circa 1960

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A collar badge as worn by HMC&E

Messengers & Revenue Constables

post 1951

(size 36 x 23 mm - with attachment 'pin')

 

Cap Badge as worn by HMC&E

Messengers & Revenue Constables

post 1951

 

Cap Badge as worn by HMC&E

Messengers & Revenue Constables

post 1951

Reverse - showing attachment 'lugs'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With white cap cover - post 1945

 

With white cap cover - post 1952

 

 

 

 

 

                 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Boatman - Victorian - pre 1900

 

Preventive Officer & Assistant Preventive Officer  - pre 1946

 

Preventive Officer & Assistant Preventive Officer - with inner stretcher - post 1952

 

Preventive Officer & Assistant Preventive Officer - with inner stretcher & white cap cover - post 1952

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Preventive Officer/Surveyor ?

circa 1909

 

Women Search Officer

circa 1970

 

Cutter issue Beret & badge

post 1952

 

Manufactuers label

post 1952

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Laurel leaves & crown in gold wire

pre 1949

 

Temporary badge in pressed metal

1949

 

Laurel leaves & crown in gold wire

post 1949

 

Laurel leaves & crown in gold wire

post 1953

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
                 
                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embroidered laurel leaves & crown

APOs - Rummage Crew - circa 1967

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

post 1923

 

post 1953

 

l

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victorian

Grade/s & date unknown

 

Edwardian

Grade/s & date unknown

 

GVR or GVIR period.

 

Isle of Man C&E Service

post 1952- possibly c1970

 
                 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Launch crews

post 1952

 

Watchers & the Revenue Constable

at Liverpool Custom House! - post 1952

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

East African Customs Preventive Service

c1930

 

Fijian Customs

post 1952

 

Hong Kong Customs & Excise

post 1952 - 1997

 

(most likely) New Zealand

post 1952

 

                 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Nigerian Customs

 

Singapore Customs

pre 1952

 

Republic of Singapore Customs

date unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unknown Customs Preventive Service

pre 1952

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

Victorian

 

pre 1953

 

post 1965

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Customs - Regency - Circa 1820

 

Customs - Regency (?)

Possibly Cutter Crew

 

Customs - Victorian

 

Customs - Victorian

 

                 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Customs - Victorian *

 

* Reverse

 

Customs - Silver - Victorian

 

HM C&E - George VI

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Australian Customs

 

Bahamas Customs

 

Burma (Rangoon) Customs - GRV

 

Canadian Customs - post 1902

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
                 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Falkland Island C&E

post 1952

 

Indian HM Customs - Bombay - Victorian

 

* Reverse

 

Jersey (CI) HMC&E - George VI

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

*Jersey (CI) HMC&E - Silver - George VI

 

Malta - Customs - c1936

 

Malta - Customs - 1953-1964

 

Malta - Customs - 1964-1974

 
                 
                 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Malta - Custom House - pre 1902

 

Malta - Custom House - 1902-c1936

 

Malta - Custom House Weigher

pre-1902

 

Northern Rhodesia Customs

 post 1902

 
                 
                 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Pakistan Customs Services - 1948

 

South African Customs - pre 1960

Unusual buttons in as much as the South African Mint got it wrong placeing a E11R cypher with a Kings Crown.

 

South African Customs - 1961

 

Unknown Dominion/Service

The GRI (Georgius Rex Imperator) was mainly used for India and which ceased to be used after 1948

 
                 
                 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Unknown Dominion/Service

What does W. F. P. S. stand for?

(Waterguard F. . . . . . Preventive Services)

 

Unknown Dominion/Service

Customs - Edward VII

 

Unknown Dominion/Service

Customs - George V

 

Unknown Dominion/Service

HM Customs - Elizabeth II

 
                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Coastguard - Victorian

 

Coastguard - pre 1952

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assistant Preventive Officer

 

Preventive Officer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boatman

 

Preventive Officer

 

 Chief Preventive Officer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preventive Man/

Assistant Preventive Officer

& Coast Preventive Man

 

Preventive Officer

 

 Chief Preventive Officer

Lower Section

 

Chief Preventive Officer

Upper Section

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Coast Preventive Man

 

Assistant Preventive Officer

 

Preventive Officer

 

  Chief Preventive Officer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coast Preventive Man

 

Waterguard Auxiliary

 

Assistant Preventive Officer

 

Preventive Officer

 

                 
                 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Preventive Officer - On secondment to

UK Sovereign Base Areas - Cyprus

 

Chief Preventive Officer

 

An 'unofficial' uniform worn by a certain Assistant Waterguard Superintendent

on official visits to US & USAF bases.

 

 

 
     
 
 
                 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

National Waterguard Tie

 

Liverpool Division Waterguard Tie

 

Liverpool Division Waterguard S&SC Tie

 

Gravesend Waterguard Tie

 
 

The Crown & Portcullis above a knoted Red Ensign

 

A Liver bird above a POs sleeve insignia

 

A Liver bird above a POs sleeve insignia and the dates 1913-1998

 

The Watch Tower at Gravesend flying the knotted Red Ensign.

 
 

Originally in production from 1973

in blue & maroon

 

Produced in blue

 

Produced to commemorate 25 years of the Sports & Social Club

in blue & maroon

 

Designed by Chris Ballard & Stev Hill in 1983 when they set up the Gravesend Waterguard Reunion  Association

 

 

                 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Cutter Association Ties

 

The second Cutter Association Tie

 

Cutter Engineer's Ties

 

Cutter Association's 25 Anniversary Tie

 
 

A Portcullis and a Revenue Cutter

 

Stripes & RCA motif  at the bottom in gold and silver cutter motif in the centre

 

A Portcullis above Engineer's tools with a motto below

 

A Revenue Cutter with the year below

 
 

Produced in blue with a silver or gold motif for issue to members of the Cutter service only

 

Produced in blue and restricted for issue to crew members and past  crew members only

 

Produced by Andy Anderson (ChiefEngineer) in blue & maroon and restricted for issue to cutter Engineer's only

 

Produced in blue with a silver motif for general issue to all members of the Cutter Association

 
                 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Waterguard Training Centre Tie

 

Waterguard Training Centre APO course number 82 Tie (the last course ever!) 

 

Training Centre Tie

 

 

 
 

The Crown above a laural wreath surrouding the initials WTC

 

The Crown above a laural wreath surrouding a Portcullis and the number 82

 

The Crown above a laural wreath surrouding the initials TC

 

 

 
 

Produced in blue, for issue to instructors only, by the WTC office c1965

 

Produced in blue, for issue to course members & instructors c1970

 

Produced in blue, for issue to instructors only, by the TC office post1972

 

 

 
 
                 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Brighton Collection Tie

 

South West England Collection Tie

 

 

 

 

 
 

A Portcullis and the Brighton Pavilion.

 

A Portcullis and an outline of South West England

 

 

 

 

 
 

Produced in green

 

Produced in blue c1984

 

 

 

 

 

 

                 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

St. Lucia C&E Tie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

The St. Lucia crest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Produced in blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 
                 

  home  

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offices & buildings  

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pay & conditions  

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     search  

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This site was designed, and is maintained by Trevor Tomasin (ex APO - LAP) and dedicated to fond memories of my ' Waterguard' days.