In this photo we see young trainee signalmen learning their trade from the instructor standing to the left. They were always nick-named ‘bunting tossers’ within the navy.
The semaphore flag signalling system is or was based on waving a pair of hand-held flags. The letter the boys are signalling is ‘N’ or, if they waved their arms up and down above their heads in quick succession, it would mean ‘error.’
No doubt these boys were trained to a very high standard before they joined the fleet as at the time they were only two ways to make contact with another ship – by flags or Morse code with an Aldis lamp, another form of signalling at great distances.
No doubt these boys had to learn how to use the lamp as well.