On 5 April 1958 the Royal Navy issued its first submarine branch badge which was to be worn on the left sleeve. The cloth badge was the first time that submariners had been visibly linked to their “trade”, other than junior ratings by their cap tallies. Due to its ugly design it was soon known as a “sausage on a stick” and as wearing the badge was optional many submariners chose not to do so.
The Naval Board accepted the design and production of the Dolphins went ahead. On 25 July 1966 the RAN issued Navy Order number 411, which covered who was eligible to wear the submarine badge and how.
As one of the protagonists for the submarine badge Commander Cook, who had been promoted and appointed Director of Submarine Policy in February 1966, was given the distinction of being the first submariner to wear the Dolphins. The first qualified Australian submariner to be awarded his Dolphins was G.J. Currie, who was also the first Australian submariner to return to Australia in 1966 prior to the formation of the Australian Submarine Squadron and joined the RN Fourth Division as spare crew.
In 1968 the officers and crew of HMS Trump, the last British submarine in the Royal Navy’s Fourth Division based at Sydney, were given Australian submarine Dolphins to wear for a year. At the end of that year the sailors were asked to fill out a survey. Ninety nine per cent of the crew were in favour of wearing the badge and the design. It was not until 1972, having assessed the value of the Australian submarine badge, that the Royal Navy issued a variation on Captain McIntosh’s design.
by Peter Smith, SAA Historian
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