OK, seeing as I did all the RAF stuff in the previous post, I figured I should do the rank and rate markings for the rest of the RN and a range of uniforms to go with them. The background "history" is that the existing structures were all updated in accordance with the hypothetical changes I outlined above. Those would have happened around 1920, after the end of the Great War. What I'm presenting here is the "alternative history" outcome of that hypothetical review for the Royal Navy...
At this time, the Navy fought hard to retain its independence from the Army and the newly-emerging RAF. They retained their existing "officer"-status Warrant Officers as a distinct group, separate from (and senior to!) the Warrant Officers of the Army and RAF, who were effectively very senior NCOs.
The RN enlisted Rates were ammended and re-aligned against Army ranks. The rate of Petty Officer, Second Class was re-introduced using its old insignia and aligned with an Army Sergeant, therefore placing Petty Officer, First Class alongside a Staff Sergeant or Colour Sergeant in the Army. Chief Petty Officer was therefore aligned with the Army's Warrant Officer, Class Three (WO III), with the Army still retained after the review but only in the Line Infantry Regiments. CPO was not, however, granted "warrant" status as this was felt to be incompatible with the more senior RN Warrant Officers; CPO therefore remained a Senior NCO rate, senior to Staff Sergeant in the Army and Flight Sergeant in the RAF but junior to all Army and RAF Warrant Officers. The rate of Leading Seaman remained directly equivalent to that of Corporal in either the Army or the RAF. Able and Ordinary Rate had no distinctive substantive marking.
Some politicians advocated changing the RN rate insignia to bring them broadly in line with those of the Army, now that these were also echoed by the very similar Other Ranks insignia for enlisted airmen in the RAF. The Admiralty refused to do this but reluctantly agreed to discontine using sleeve chevrons as distinctive "long-service and good conduct" for enlisted rates as the Army and RAF complained that they looked too much like the rank chevrons for sergeant, corporal and lance-corporal. The introduction of alternatives took some time to agree but, in the end, the Navy opted for the simple expedient of ust using smaller versions of the old LSGC chevrons and now placing them on the lower sleeve, above the cuff.
With financial austerity after the end of the war, the Navy was persuaded to rationalise its range of required uniforms for officers and ratings. The frock coat in both dress and undress format was consigned to history. The officers' Full Dress was simplified: fringed bullion epaulettes and cocked hats were viewed as anachronistic (at least by some...) and went the same way as the frock coats. The double-breasted formal day-coat was retained but would be worn with gold-faced shoulder boards and peaked cap instead. Comissioned Officers wore eight rows of buttons and Warrant Officers six rows. Collars were white with gold lace edging that varied by rank. Flag Officers retained their collar oak-leaves but these were of a simplified design that reflected the pattern of embroidery on the peaks of their caps and no longer extended all the way around the collar. The detailed slash cuffs were removed for all ranks. Midshipmen and Naval Cadets recieved new, simplified dress jackets. The CPO rate was granted a single-breasted version of the WO frock coat that had a collar in navy blue with white braid edging (rather than white with gold), to be worn with a plain black leather cutlass belt.
Petty Officers of substantive grade were authorised a new dress coat with six gilt buttons to match the CPOs' new tailcoat. Collars were in lighter blue to match the traditional seaman's collar. Sailors of the seaman branch (including those appointed PO Second Class but not confirmed) continued to wear their traditional sailor suits; those not routinely dressed as seamen were authorised a simplified version of the POs' new coat but with black buttons and a lower collar that had three white edging stipes, the same as the seaman's collar. A new solid brass cap badge was introduced for all junior rates not wearing the traditional sailors' cap.
The officers' "monkey jacket" became accepted day-to-day formal wear for all non-ceremonial occaisions in the absence of the frock coat. Similar uniforms were confirmed for senior ratings. Junior ratings of the seaman branch continued to wear traditional sailor suits and a simplified, single-breasted version of the PO jacket was confirmed for non-seaman branches.
Simplified versions of the ratings uniforms, including a more practical blue shirt, were authorised for general working duties.
Over a decade later, these were supplemented (but never officially replaced) by working uniforms based on new field uniforms developed for the Army and the RAF. Their versions came as two types: a "field" version that buttoned all the wat to the top and had bigger chest pockets and a "staff" version that included a tailored collar and lapels and smaller tailored breast pockets like Army service dress. The Admiralty, however, adopted only the "field" version as they belived this uniform should only be worn as working dress -- the one concession was that Officers and Senior Ratings were granted approval to wear rank-appropriate gilt buttons in place of the plain black buttons used by Junior Ratings. Ankle gaiters (when worn) and webbing belts were issued in Admiraly Grey (commonly called "battleship" grey) rather than the Army's drab green khaki.
(The RAF also chose to adopt this grey colour as it better matched their grey-blue uniforms.)
Initially, officers and senior ratings were expected to wear white shirts but with new hostilities looming this was later ammended to accept the blue working shirt for all ranks (which in reality was simply ackowledging what had happened unofficially from very early on).
With the outbreak of war once again, a final variant was developed for raiding parties and landing parties which incorporated dark grey shirts and rank/rate markings in Admiralty grey rather than the usual red or gold. With the adoption of the beret as accepted uniform headwear (especially for specialist units) the Admiralty authorised navy blue berets with reduced size cap badges for all ranks; for the specialist landing and raiding parties, all cap badges were issued grey silk embroidery, rather than the usual bullion.
Finally, here are a few random collections of the various uniforms, grouped for individual officer or sailor; they are:
a Vice-Admiral, a Surgeon-Commander (RN Medical Officer), a Chief Petty Officer and a Leading Seaman.
(Note that the CPO images show a double-breasted variant of the full dress coat which is essentially the same as the design for Warrant Officers but with the navy blue collar and a black belt. I had originally intended for this to be the CPO version but that it would only be worn by certain senior appointments, such as Master-at-Arms, and would only be authorised when under arms and wearing a cutlass for State ceremonial events or when escorting the White Ensign. In the end, I changed this for the single-breasted version seen above and then went on to develop the new jacktets for POs, etc. - although I guess this double-breasted version could still be retained for the original purpose!)
The forum setup won't display the whole images and doesn't seem to shrink them to thumbnails any more so if you want to see all of each image, you'll need to right-click on it and then click on "View image"
I have slightly updated versions of all the RAF stuff, which I'll try to post soon. I also have a lot of Army and Royal Marines things to go with this hypothetical "alternative" history too - but some of those are still a work-in-progress so they may take a little longer!