The Merchant Navy Radio Officer
The history of the Merchant Navy Radio Officer started in the early years of the
twentieth century, and effectively finished at the end of the century. During that
time, thousands of men were trained as Radio Officers in
Britain and Ireland and sailed under the Red Ensign. Many of us were trained in Liverpool.
The main source of emergency assistance in the oceans has always been the nearest deep-sea
ship to your own. Radio Officers kept watch on the international distress frequency in
order to render assistance to ships in trouble. When their own ship was in distress, they
stayed at the morse key until assistance was at hand, (and not infrequently went down with
The Radio Officer not only operated the radio equipment, but also repaired and maintained it.
The companies that built and supplied the electronic equipment (and in many cases supplied the skilled Radio
Officers to the shipping companies), also had their own technical staff based at various
seaports. Both ex-seagoing Radio Officers and shore-based technical staff form the membership
of the LMRES.
ex ROs: morse E