Wardroom Mess Rules

The following extracts from the Wardroom Mess Rules (2016 edition) provide guidance on some of the basics that might affect Officers’ Association members.


The following dress rules apply in the Wardroom Mess unless an alternative rig is published for a specific function or event. Officers are reminded that this is a ‘self policing’ code of dress. If you believe that an individual’s standard of dress is unacceptable, you are to discuss your concerns with the Officer concerned immediately. Do not walk on by. If inappropriately dressed, Mess Members should excuse their rig/dress to the Senior Officer present.

The table below gives the Minimum standard expected within the mess. For the purpose of these rules the normal working day is 0800 – 1630 (Mondays – Fridays).

Main Dining RoomBreakfast – Uniform/Plain Clothes (Planters as ordered)
Lunch – Uniform/Plain Clothes (Planters as ordered)
Dinner – Relaxed/Uniforrn
Main BarNormal working hours: Uniform/Plain Clothes
Out of normal working hours: Relaxed
Buzz BarNormal working hours: Uniform/Relaxed
Out of normal working hours: Casual/Sports
Dryad & Mercury RoomsNormal working hours: Uniform/Plain Clothes
Out of normal working hours: Relaxed
Trafalgar & TV RoomsNormal working hours: Uniform/Relaxed
Out of normal working hours: Casual


Uniform: In accordance with Daily Orders or as ordered.

Plain Clothes: Male – Lounge Suit, blazer or sports jacket with smart trousers, collar and tie. Female — collared shirt / blouse, shoulders covered, dress/skirt (length not to be shorter than I” above the knee) or trousers with a jacket. Smart shoes.

AcceptableNot Acceptable
MaleFemaleMale & Female
Tailored trousers
Jeans (not faded or ripped)*
Dress (thick straps)/skirt (length not to be shorter than 1″ above the kneeCargo/combat trousers
Shirts with collar, negative tieTailored trousers Jeans (not faded or ripped *Shorts
Polo shirtsBlouse/collared shirtJeggings, leggings
 Top that covers the shouldersSweat shirts, hoodies
 Polo shirtsAny garment bearing an inappropriate logo
 Long or short sleeved ‘V’ neck/ crew neck/roll neck sweatersTrainers
Shirts without a collar ie T-shirts
Flip flops
Sports wear
*If in doubt, they are unacceptable

Mess Functions: The rig for Mess Functions will be promulgated by the Social Secretary. For the Summer Ball and Trafalgar Night Dinner the rig will be 2As (Mess Dress with white waistcoats).

  1. Weekends/Leave Periods. At weekends (from 1500 on Fridays), on Bank Holidays and during Leave Periods, relaxed rig is acceptable in the Mess throughout the day, including Sunday Lunch.
  2. Guests. Mess members are to ensure that their guests conform to the stipulated dress standards.
  3. When official functions are being held in the Mess, relaxed rig is not to be worn within the Foyer area or Dining Room after 1830.
  4. The Mess President is the final arbiter of dress in the mess. In his absence, the Vice President, the DCO and the OOD have particular responsibility for the general adherence to Mess Rules and are empowered to invite any person considered to be ‘out of rig’ to leave the Mess public rooms. It is, however, beholden upon all Mess members to ensure that standards of dress are maintained. Any person breaching dress regulations is to call on the Mess President and put their reasons in writing.


Opening Times. The bar will be open as follows:

  1. Weekdays (Mon – Fri)
    • 1200 – 1315 Main Bar
    • 1800 – 2300 Buzz Bar
  2. Saturday/Sunday
    • 1145 – 1300 Buzz Bar
    • 1800 – 2300 Buzz Bar
  3. A selection of bar meals will be available in the Buzz Bar 2000 – 2230, Mon – Thu.

Night Bar. The following applies:

  1. The purpose of the Wardroom Night Bar is to enable officers in the late hours or when returning from ashore to obtain drinks outside normal bar hours. The key can be drawn from the Wardroom Hall Porter against a signature by a Full Mess Member with a COLLINGWOOD Mess Number. It is not to be drawn after major Mess functions.
  2. The officer who draws the key from the Hall Porter is to return it personally.
  3. Any discrepancies in stock will be charged against the officer or group of officers who have drawn the key during the previous evening.
  4. Any shortcomings in the facilities provided should be reported to the WRMM at the first opportunity.
  5. The basis of operation is trust and any abuse will result in the facility being withdrawn.

Exceptional Opening Hours. The opening of any bar for the sale of liquor outside normal hours may only be authorised by the Mess President or Vice President. Individuals should not approach Mess staff directly on this matter, particularly as there are invariably significant contractual issues to consider.


Meal Times (note PAYD in operation)

  1. Breakfast:
    • Mon – Fri 0700 – 0800. Dining Room to be cleared by 0830.
    • Sat 0800 – 0900. Dining Room to be cleared by 0915.
    • Sun 0830 – 0930. Dining Room to be cleared by 0945.
  2. Lunch:
    • Mon – Fri 1150 – 1320
    • Sat 1230 – 1315
    • Sun 1230 – 1315
  3. Dinner:
    • Mon – Thu 1845 – 1950. Dining Room to be cleared by 2020. Note dress regulations change by 1915.
    • Fri – Sun 1845 – 1950. Dining Room to be cleared by 2020. Note dress regulations change by 1915.

Bar Meals: Mon – Thu 1830 – 2200

Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate is available from the Dryad Reading Room along with fresh water.

Duty Officers. Duty Officers may arrange late or early meals as required with the Hall Porter.

Mess Function Nights. A notice will be promulgated advertising times and locations of early dinners for duty and accommodated officers not attending the mess function, normally 1800 – 1845. Note dress regulations for these evenings.

Mess Members. Mess members wishing to invite guests to meals, other than snacks or lunch on weekdays, should enter their names in the Guest Meals Book kept in the foyer by 1700 on the preceding day for weekday meals and by 1300 on the preceding Friday for weekend requirements. The WRMM is also to be informed when booking meals for groups larger than 4.


Suggestions. Suggestions on matters other than food are to be made direct to a member of the Mess Committee or by entry in the Mess Suggestion Book. Suggestions requiring early action should be referred to the WRMM rather than written in the book. Answers to suggestions in the book will normally be made by the WRMM.

Complaints. Complaints concerning service or accommodation can be made by talking to the WRMM in person or by completing a proforma to report failures by contract staff, a copy of which should be in each cabin. Extra copies are available from the Hall Porter. Other complaints are to be made to the Wardroom Mess Secretary. During non-working hours complaints requiring immediate action should be made to the Hall Porter.

Food Matters. Complaints should be made at the time to the Dining Room Supervisor who will endeavour to rectify the cause of complaint. Any other matter should be raised with the WRMM.

Defects. Defects in cabins are to be reported to the Housekeeper in accordance with instructions displayed in each cabin. There is also a Defect Book kept in the Wardroom foyer in which to report defects and where progress of rectification can be monitored. Queries can be made with the WRMM.


Hairdresser. The Hairdresser will be in attendance as advertised. Appointments can be booked with the Hall Porter and charges may be debited on Mess Bills. Wives and partners of Mess Members are most welcome to make use of this facility, but are discouraged from making appointments during peak times.

Newspapers and Magazines. Newspapers and magazines are Mess property and are not to be removed from the Public Rooms or defaced in any way.

Mobile Phones. Use of mobile telephones is not permitted within the dining rooms and, with the exception of duty personnel. Discrete use in the public rooms is acceptable, although common courtesy dictates that calls should be taken in private — phones should always be switched to silent mode.

Any suggestions relating to the provision of magazines and journals are welcomed and should be brought to the attention of the Mess Committee through the appropriate representative or recorded in the Mess Suggestions Book.


Guests. Mess Members are welcome to entertain guests in the public rooms. Guest’s meal requirements, other than snacks, must be entered in the Guest Meals Book kept in the foyer by 1700 on the preceding day for weekday meals and by 1300 on the preceding Friday for weekend requirements. The WRMM is also to be informed when booking meals for groups larger than 4.

Guests are to be clear of the Establishment by 2359, except on function nights. Applications for extensions beyond this time are to be approved by the Mess President.

Children. In general the Mess encourages families to use the Wardroom and children are welcome out of working hours, but must be properly supervised at all times.

Private Entertaining. The public rooms are available for private entertaining subject to the Mess President’s written approval. Mess Members booking a private function should consult the WRMM at an early stage to ensure that the facilities are available and to agree the charges.

Charges. Charges are based on the size of the room, the amount of disruption the use of the room for a private event will cause to Mess Members and the category of Mess Member booking the room; there will also be a separate Crown charge for the use of the facility and an additional charge levied to cover insurance. Officers will not be able to book an event for a non-mess member in their name in order that the lower tariff applies. A table of applicable charges for room hire is available from the WRMM.


The Secretary of the HMS COLLINGWOOD Officers’ Association maintains a list of those who wish to receive a copy of the social programme. Officers’ Association Members and Honorary Members will be welcome at Mess functions when numbers allow and should apply to the Officers’ Association Mess Secretary giving an address at which they can be readily contacted. Applications to attend Mess Guest Nights and “Partners” Night Dinners are encouraged from members in these categories, although it might not always be possible to accommodate all bids. For dances and balls, applications for ‘Officers’ Association Members plus partner’ can sometimes be accepted.

Over-subscribed Mess Functions. If the numbers wishing to attend a Mess function exceed the places available, seating will be allocated in accordance with guidance approved by the Mess Committee or within the rules as follows:

  1. Officers of Commander’s rank and above and members of the Mess Committee have priority over other Mess members.
  2. Full Mess Members have priority over all others.
  3. Associate Mess Members have priority over Officers’ Association members.
  4. When all members requesting places have been accommodated, guests will take similar priority to their hosts.

Mess Members are to sign the respective attendance form or book personally due to the need to ensure possible cancellation rules. The Mess Secretary, or his nominated representative, will draft the seating plan for approval by the Mess President.


Mess Dinners. For all Mess Dinners (including Ladies Nights, Guest Nights and the COLLINGWOOD Dinner), except in cases where an officer is unexpectedly required for duty, if there is no reserve list, a cancellation charge may be levied on all Mess Members as follows:

  1. Within 5 days of midday of the event – cost of the food element per person.
  2. Within 24 hours of midday of the event – 100%.

Summer Ball/Christmas Dance. For events of this nature, a cancellation charge to be decided by the Mess Committee will be levied on officers and their guests who cancel within 2 weeks of the event.

Other Events. Officers who enter their name in the Function Book for other events and then do not (or their guests do not) attend will be liable to the cancellation charges as at paragraph 47.

Notification of cancellation after publication of a list or after a closing date is to be through the Mess Secretary or the organising officer. Cancellation charges may be waived by the Mess President in exceptional circumstances, those that booked early will be favourably considered.


Mess Bills for all Mess Members are normally issued within 3 days after the end of the month to which they refer. The expected option for payment of mess bills is by direct debit mandate (a rebate is given for use of this facility). Those officers who do not wish to make use of this are required to pay their Mess Bill by the date stated on the bill by cash, cheque or card (administration charges apply). Any failure to do so will incur an administrative charge which will be £10 or 10% of the value of the Mess Bill, whichever is the greater. The Mess President will be informed of any overdue accounts and action will be taken to recover monies owed. Payments by cheque or direct debit are to be drawn on UK bank accounts only. An individual’s Mess Bill may not exceed E250 per calendar month without the approval of the Mess President.


The Mess Committee shall consist of 10 appointed and 9 elected serving members. Only elected members may vote on Committee proposals.

  1. Permanent members will comprise:
    1. The Mess President (The Executive Officer)
    2. The Vice President
    3. Senior Logistics Officer
    4. The Mess Secretary
    5. The Assistant Mess Secretary
    6. The Wardroom Mess Manager
    7. The Officers’ Association Liaison Officer
    8. The Social Secretary
    9. The Wardroom Mess Treasurer
  2. Elected members will comprise:
    1. One Lieutenant Commander or Lieutenant representing WETG and DCCIS Department officers.
    2. One Lieutenant Commander or Lieutenant representing WTG Group officers.
    3. One Lieutenant Commander or Lieutenant representing RNLA(E), WSTG Group Officers and SCU.
    4. One Lieutenant Commander or Lieutenant representing officers in Atlantic Building.
    5. One RAF Representative representing Swanwick Military personnel.
    6. One ‘Livers-ln’ Officer representing victualled members.
    7. One Officer from WETG representing Officers on course.
    8. One Officer from WTG representing Senior Officers on course.
    9. One Officer from WTG representing Junior Officers on course.
    10. One representative for unattached Civilian members.
    11. One Lieutenant Commander or Lieutenant representing MWC.
    12. One Officers Association representative.
    13. One Lt Cdr / Lt representing International Officers serving in HMS COLLINGWOOD (staff and students).
  3. Period of Service. Each elected member of the Mess Committee will normally serve for a period of one year, after which time they should stand down, but may offer themselves for re-election at the subsequent General Mess Meeting.
  4. Election to the Mess Committee. Election to the Mess Committee is as follows:
    1. The representatives in sub-paragraph b (1) – (4) above inclusive may only be nominated and voted for by staff officers of the appropriate rank and department who live out.
    2. The ‘Officers on Course’ representatives may be nominated and voted for by officers on course.
    3. The ‘Livers-in’ Officers’ representative may only be nominated and voted for by victualled officers.
    4. The Civilian Members representative may only be nominated and voted for by Civilian Mess Members.

Mess Business Plan. The Mess Treasurer is responsible for producing the annual Business Plan for approval by the Sole Managing Trustee.

Projects. Day to day business in the Wardroom is the responsibility of the WRMM. For an improvement to the Wardroom estate over and above this, a suitable officer or project team will be nominated to implement the proposal.


Mess Officials shall comprise:

  1. Vice President. The most senior active Service Commander after the Executive Officer, appointed to serve in HMS COLLINGWOOD for a full appointment, will normally hold this appointment and may Chair Mess Committee meetings in the absence of the Mess President.
  2. Duty Commanding Officer. In the absence of the President and Vice President, the DCO (when onboard) or in his absence the OOD, if an officer, is responsible for ensuring that any Mess guests calling on the Mess are entertained in the best tradition of the Service. He is also to ensure that the Mess Rules, and any Establishment Orders relating to the Mess, are adhered to. It is, however, incumbent on all Mess Members to make any guests to the Mess feel welcome and to ensure that standards of dress and behaviour are maintained.
  3. Mess Secretary. The Mess Secretary appointment is made by the Mess President. The officer is responsible for:
    1. Arranging Mess Committee Meetings in accordance with Rule 7, taking minutes and arranging for their publication.
    2. Formulating, for the agreement of the Mess Committee, an annual Social Programme and publishing a termly diary.
    3. Oversight of the organisation of social events.
    4. The overall arrangements for Mess Dinners.
    5. Keeping the Mess Rules under review, proposing and implementing changes as necessary.
  4. The Assistant Mess Secretary is appointed by the Mess President from Sub Lieutenants / Lieutenants serving on the staff. The Officer is responsible for assisting the Mess Secretary in his duties listed in sub-paragraph c. above. In particular the Officer is to:
    1. Compile a list of leavers for each Mess Dinner and arrange production of the Menu Card.
    2. Co-ordinate the administration of the Mess Committee.
  5. HMSCOA Liaison Officer.
    1. Providing the formal link between the OA and the Wardroom Mess.
    2. Representing, in a voting capacity, the members’ interests on the Wardroom Mess Committee.
    3. Assist the OA Secretary in the production of the twice yearly OA Newsletter.
  6. Social Secretary. The Mess Social Secretary is responsible for:
    1. Coordinating and publishing the termly social calendar.
    2. Promoting Mess social events.
    3. Coordinating social events as required by the Mess Committee.


Mess Committee Meetings.
  1. Frequency. Meetings will normally take place monthly.
  2. Chairman. The Mess President, or in his absence the Vice President, will act as Chairman.
  3. Voting. Voting at Mess Committee Meetings is limited to the elected members (“Ex Officio” Members have no right to vote) and the OA’s Liaison Officer, the Chairman having a casting vote.
  4. Quorum. A quorum shall be deemed to exist when at least a chairman (President or Vice President) and 3 of the elected members and 2 of the appointed members of the Committee are present.
  5. Agenda. Items for the agenda are to be submitted to the Assistant Mess Secretary at least 5 working days prior to the meeting. The Assistant Mess Secretary will draft (for Mess Secretary approval) and distribute the Agenda for the Mess Committee at least 2 days prior to the meeting.
  6. Minutes. These shall be taken by the Assistant Mess Secretary and posted on the Mess Notice Board and Wardroom Website. A copy of the Minutes is also to be passed to each member of the Mess Committee.
  7. Attendance. Only the appointed and elected Committee members will normally attend meetings. Other officers may, however, be invited to present, discuss or consider specific topics when appropriate.
General Mess Meetings
  1. A General Mess Meeting will be held:
    1. Annually.
    2. When required by the Mess President.
    3. After a majority vote of the Mess Committee.
    4. If specifically requested by a Mess member in the Suggestion Book. In this case, the request must be endorsed within 4 days by at least 20% of the Full Mess Membership numbers on the date of the request.
  2. Attendance. General Mess Meetings are to be attended by all full members of the Mess. Non attendees are to submit apologies to the Mess President.
  3. Agenda. An agenda is to be prominently displayed at least 2 full working days before the time and date of the meeting.


The car parking billets immediately opposite the main entrance are reserved for senior officers (Commanders and above). Privately owned vehicles are not to be parked in the roads leading to the Wardroom entrance and under no circumstances are they to be parked on the pavements. Cars are not to be parked outside Roope building, unless for loading/unloading purposes.

Motor cycles and scooters may only be parked in marked areas in the car park, or in the nominated shelter. They are not to be parked in cycle storages.

Cycles may be parked in the racks beneath the covered way adjacent to the car park, but not leaned against the wooden trellis fences. They are not to be left outside the main entrance to the Wardroom.

Extract of Wardroom Mess Rules dated 1 June 2016, updated where necessary.