Epaulettes first appeared on British uniforms in the second half of the 18th century. The epaulette was officially incorporated into Royal Navy uniform regulations in 1795, although some officers wore them before this date. Under this system Flag Officers wore silver stars on their epaulettes to distinguish their ranks. A Captain with at least three years seniority had two plain epaulettes, while a Junior Captain wore one on the right shoulder, and a Commander one of the left
Rear Admiral and Vice Admiral are ranks in the Royal Navy, so Miss Crawford is referring to Admirals she has known. She, herself, notes the possibility for double meaning in the phrase 'rears and vices', and it has been suggested that 'rears' is intended to bring to mind the Navy's reputation for homosexual activity.
WW1 Women's Royal Naval Service uniform. Worn by Sybil W Aspinall, who joined the WRNS in 1918. She was Assistant Principal(again, women were not allowed to have navy ranks), and she worked in Admiralty House, London. She was awarded the British War Medal. The WRNS was formed in 1918. There were two branches, the Mobile, whose members could be sent anywhere in Britain, and the Immobile, who lived at home and worked locally. Only women who had a male relative in the Navy were eligible to…
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