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The Senior Service


Part of the re-enactment group Lace Wars

Re-enacting the Royal Navy of the Eighteenth Century


Senior Service is a historical re-enactment group, whose members aim to accurately portray members of the Royal Navy during the mid-eighteenth century, together with civilians of that time whose lives and trades were associated with the sea. We are one of the member groups of the re-enactment society Lace Wars, through whom we mainly participate in events commemorating the 1745-1746 Jacobite Rebellion and in other events linked to British history during the 1740s and 1750s (for example Britain's colourful smuggling history).


The events that we attend usually involve an element of 'living history', in which we interpret eighteenth century life by adopting eighteenth century persona and demonstrating skills and trades from that period. In participating in such events we enjoy deepening their own knowledge and educating members of the public about eighteenth century life, both on land and sea, and hopefully dispelling some of the popular myths about the Royal Navy in the process. According to the requirements of a particular event, we can find ourselves portraying a wide range of eighteenth century maritime roles. For example, previous naval impressions that we have undertaken have included press gangs, anti-smuggling operations, manning coastal defences and representing armed detachments on 'land service' in support of British government forces on campaign. In addition, members have also adopted civilian roles on both sides of the law; including smugglers, pirates, highwaymen, county militia and even honest tradesmen.

As with the other groups within Lace Wars, Senior Service aims for the highest standards of dress, with member's clothing being based on contemporary evidence from pictures, documents and, for officers, from original surviving uniforms.  Although we normally depict British seamen as they would have been clothed during the 1740s and 1750s, the conservative nature of naval clothing throughout the Eighteenth Century allows us, with only minor changes to our clothing, to portray seamen over a much wider period; from the 1730s through to the 1770s and beyond. This allows us to cover not only the wars of the mid-eighteenth century, including the Jacobite Rebellion, and the Seven Years War (including the French and Indian War in North America), but also some of the great naval voyages that occurred in this period; for example Commodore Anson's circumnavigation and the voyages of Captain Cook.

Many of our members are experienced re-enactors who have been members of other re-enactment groups prior to joining Senior Service. However, we are always on the lookout for new members, regardless of experience. We make new members welcome, and will always make time to help them get started. What links us all is a common interest in Britain's rich maritime history.

God Save King George


For more information and details of joining the Senior Service contact

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