Naval Heritage Centenary

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Useful Sources

Within the UK there is a wealth of information resources on naval and maritime history. Below are a number of reference sources, which aim to help you begin your navigation of the subject.

They have been grouped into the following topics:

Personnel records, Ship records, Merchant Navy, General sources, Archives and Foreign sources


Please note: the Royal Naval Museum does not hold any official service records within their collection. All official service records are available via the following resources. A list of published genealogical sources for researching naval officers can be found on our information sheet

Naval Biographical Database -

This is an on-going private enterprise. Information is gathered from a variety of primary sources and currently covers the period 1660- 1800s on Flag Officers, Captains, Warrant Officers and Yard Officers. A search facility and further information on current coverage and cost is available on the website.

Service records

Ratings Pre 1924, WRNS WW1 records, Officers 1756-1917 and all ship records: National Archives (PRO) Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU Tel: 020 8876 3444 (Documents online:

Ratings 1924-39, Officers 1906-1982, WRNS 1939-1955, Reservists WW2 : Director of Naval Personnel, Navy Search, TNT Records Management, PO Box 7814, Tenton Point, William Nadin Way, Swadlincote, Derbyshire DE11 1EG  Tel: 01283 227912 or 227913  email: [email protected]

Ratings Post 1939, WRNS Post 1956: DNPers Disclosure Cell, MP G-2, Room 48, West Battery, Whale Island, Portsmouth PO2 8DX

Officers aged under 60 & still serving/retired: Officers’ Mobilisation Division, Room 171, Victory Building, HM Naval Base Portsmouth PO1 3LS

Medal entitlements: available only to next of kin on written request.

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA)
(Joint Personnel Administration Centre) MoD Medal Office Building 250 Imjin Barracks Gloucester GL3 1HW

E-mail: [email protected]

(For information on how to understand medals why not visit the Navy's People section on the Sea Your History website?)

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Ship Records

National Archives

Naval Biographical Database -

Merchant Navy

Registry of Shipping and Seamen.  MCA Cardiff, Anchor Court, Ocean Way Cardiff CF24 5JW

E-mail: registryofshipping&[email protected]

Website: Maritime And Coastguard Agency

Merseyside Maritime Museum -

National Maritime Museum -

National Fisheries Heritage Centre (trawler histories): Alexander Dock, Great Grimsby, Lincolnshire, DN31 1UZ

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General sources

Commonwealth War Graves Commission -

Imperial War Museum -

Royal Navy -

Science Museum -

Veterans Agency -


National Archives -

National Register of

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Foreign Sources


National Archives of Australia -

Australian National Maritime Museum -


National Archives of Canada -

Maritime Museum of British Columbia –

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic -

United States of America

National Archives of the United States of America -

Naval Historical Centre -

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