Hierarchy at Sea

Edward Weddall joined the Navy at the age of fifteen pretending that he was sixteen. He gave his date of birth as 1843, when he was really born in 1844. That was not uncommon for youngsters to pretend they were older to join the services. It was harder to prove age as there few passports if any, were issued and authorities rarely questions anyone who looked of age. Edward Weddall was one of those who slipped through the cracks.

Edward’s parents may well have condoned his early joining the navy, he was one of many children and had older brothers to inherit his father’s farm. It was Victorian time and survival of the fittest was the order of the day.

Ranks in the Navy

Commissioned Officers

  • Admiral
  • Captain
  • Lieutenants
  • Warrant Officers


  • Purser
  • Surgeon
  • Boatswain
  • Gunner
  • Carpenter

Inferior and Petty Officers includes:

  • Armorer
  • Cook
  • Gunsmith
  • Sail-maker
  • Schoolmaster
  • Master-at-Arms
  • Midshipman
  • Coxswain
  • Quartermasters
  • Gunners mates

Royal Marines

  • Officers
  • and men
  • ‘The People”
  • Able seamen
  • Ordinary seamen
  • Landowners
  • Servants
  • Dogs