Best viewed in full screen mode, press F11 to switch modes ~ to magnify a page in IE or Firefox hold down CTRL and press + or - key . See Accessibility

The Royal Navy Research Archive aims to provide virtual museum, giving access to a range of web materials related to RN ships, establishments, units, and personnel, primarily from the start of World War One through into the 21st century. Content includes articles, short histories and the reminiscences of the men and women who served in the Royal Navy, WRNS, and Royal Marines.

Links marked   are to material  produced by others but hosted by the Royal Navy Research Archive.


Web Sites:


  • The MONAB Story - a history of the mobile airfields of the Royal Navy - nine Mobile Naval Air Bases and one Transportable Aircraft Maintenance Yard operated during the last years of World War 2. Without the contributions of these units and the men who served in them, British forces could not have participated in the final stages of the conflict in the Pacific.
    [Last updated  27 August 2017]

  • Royal Navy Escort Carriers - the histories of the 45 vessels of this type to serve with the Royal Navy - 39 U.S. & 6 U.K. built ships, based on merchant hulls adapted to operate as small aircraft carriers, they saw service in all theatres of the war, operating in a variety of roles.
    [Last updated  19 November 2017]

  • Royal Navy Air Squadrons 1938 - present day **NEW**
    Since 1939 there have been nearly 250 Naval Air Squadrons, including 100 second line training and support squadrons, 137 first line squadrons and 12 Reserve units. Some have enjoyed long serve, some several incarnations, others were short lived but performed a vital role. IN the 21st century there are 19 with one new squadron to commission soon, 809 for the new Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. Squadron histories will be added as they become available.
    [Last updated 27 April 2018]

  • Fleet Air Arm Bases 1939 - present day
    This site covers all Fleet Air Arm establishments, both at home and overseas, including Air Stations, Air Sections, Air Maintenance & Repair Yards, Lodger units at RAF bases,  and training establishments.

    [under reconstruction - last updated 15 January 2018]

  • The British Pacific & East Indies Fleets - the story of the  international mix of men on the Warships, Auxiliaries, Naval air squadrons, and Shore bases involved with the war against the Japanese -  later referred to as the ‘Forgotten Fleets’
    [ Last updated  21 September 2018)

  • HMS SLINGER - John Lawson's pages devoted to the WW2 escort carrier on which he served during WW2
    [Last updated 23 August 2010]


Short Unit Histories & Articles:

More histories & articles...



More reminiscences...

Personal diaries & journals:

  • Diary of Gunner August Joyce Halden, Royal Marine Artillery *NEW**
     Covering December 1903 to August 1906 Gunner Halden records events during his time on the China Station. Transcript and scrapbook available

  • Journal of A.B, (Gunner) William Judson 1908 to 1910 **NEW**
    Follows William as part of the crew draft of the gunboat H.M.S READBREAST on the East Indies Station. From RN Barracks Plymouth (VIVID) to Bombay and anti-smuggling patrols in the Persian Gulf from April 1908 until paying off in March 1910 and his return to H.M.S. VIVID.

  • ,Journal of the Reverend William Elliot, a Georgian Naval Chaplain
    Based around his Journal covering March 1808 to November 1814 this gives some insight onto the role the Naval Chaplains who served during the Napoleonic Wars. The original journal is available as a PDF, as is the full transcript.

  • Eleven months aboard H.M. Submarine STORM
    Formed around extracts from the wartime diary of Able Seaman (Torpedoman) Harold Machin who served on H.M. S/M STORM during her service with the Eastern Fleet. The diary covers the period January to November 1944.

  • Eleven months aboard HMS INDOMITABLE  
    One sailors diary of his first eleven months at sea on the new Fleet Carrier HMS INDOMITABLE covering September 1941 to August 1942 - combined with another sailors photographs this gives an insight into the  first year of the ship's commission.

  • The diary of Petty Officer Ernest Arthur Cobb
    Diary of events during the ill-fated first commission of the Hawkins-class heavy cruiser, HMS Raleigh on the North America and West Indies Station, wrecked after only a year in service.



    The story of K.19516 William John Bowtle, RN, Stoker 1st Class, killed in action on 4th January, 1918 PDF

  • Able Seaman Alfred Walter Noel Langrish - Sussex Division RNVR & the Royal Naval Division
    An account of Alfred's time in trhe RN Division based around the information on his service record.  Transferred to RND November 4th 1914, fought at Gallipoli  and on the Western Front, taken prisoner in March 1918 he was repatriated in January 1919.
    [Last updated
    : 12 November 2014]

  • Sub Lieutenant (A) William Anthony Clarke, RNVR (P)
    Known as Tony, or 'Nobby', he joined the navy at 19 and trained to be a pilot. During his career he flew fighter panes from HMS ATTACKER and later served with a Fleet |Requirements unit in the UK.

  • In search of Mike Cumberlege
    Robin Knight describes the life and death of an unsung British hero Lieutenant Mike Cumberlege D.S.O.* R.N.R.
    [Last updated: 02 November 2018]

  • Lieutenant Pearce Trewhella Lovelock DSC, RNVR
    One of the first RNVR officers to see active service, Lt. Lovelock commanded several small ships and spent most of his service with the Eastern Fleet operating out of East Africa and Ceylon in minesweeping trawlers.

    [Last updated: 09 August 2016]

  • WRNS Ldg Officer's Steward Lois Lade
    A short piece about Lois; time as an 'immobile' Wren working at HMS Vernon (R) in Brighton during WW2


More  people...

Miscellaneous items and photographs:


  • H.M.S. ENTERPRISE delivers Emperor Haile Selassie
    A collection of 10 images showing H.M.S. ENTERPRISE delivering Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and his forty-six person entourage to Haifa on May 8th 1936.

  • HMS OCEAN 1951 - 53
    A collection of photographs, mainly from the private collections of CPO Baker and Able Seaman Hiles, showing the ship and her squadrons from commissioning at Malta to the end of the Korean war. Includes IWM film 'Korean carrier'.

  • BOMB ALLEY by Anon
    A short poem written by a crew member of the destroyer HMS Partridge recalling her experiences with Malta convoy duty in June 1942.

  • Photographs from the album of Petty Officer Cyril Poole
    Cyril served on HMS Berwick in the mid 1930s on the China Station.   He was lost when HMS Wryneck was sunk April 127th 941.

  • Officers of the WW1 Cruiser HMS CONSTANCE taken in 1918

  • A collection of pictures showing HMS WARSPITE on  D-Day

  • Veteran returns to former HMS SIMBANG, 65 years on

    Can you identify places, people and ships? Some will be genuine unidentified pictures, some just for fun but either way we hope you'll join in.
    [Last updated  16 July 2018]


  • RN and RM vessels

  • Support Units

  • Air Squadrons


Short histories of individual vessels or details of flotillas, fleets or Task Forces.

  • Training establishments

  • Naval Barracks

  • Naval Bases

  • Naval Air Stations

  • Lodger Units


The histories of Naval shore bases around the globe, from Air Stations to Naval bases and dockyards.

  • Royal Navy

  • WRNS

  • Royal Marines

  • RN Volunteer Reserve

  • Civilian Staff


The stories of men and women who served at home and abroad in all branches of the RN and RM.


Looking for service records or how to claim medals and badges?

Click here to learn where to look for answers



Contribute your own materials to this archive

Click here to learn how


If you have written a book on an aspect of Royal Navy history we would be pleased to review it and add it to the archive - please Click here to read the current reviews and for more information.


Help support the site

If you find this site interesting and informative can you make a small donation? towards its continued upkeep?

Click here to learn how you can




Content last modified:

02 November 2018



Latest additions & amendments:

Book Review Updated October 2018

BEHIND A NOTICE Added October 2018


FAA Bases

RNAS Ayr Updated September 2018

R.N.A.S./R.N.A.R.Y. Sembawang Added January 2018

R.N.A.S. Sembawang 1st Commission gallery Added January 2018


RN Air Squadrons

Galleries for the following squadron histories

 709, 1843. 1845, 1846 Added July 2018

1846 Squadron - history and personnel list completed April 2018

1847 Squadron - history and personnel list completed April 2018

1848 Squadron - history and personnel list completed April 2018

1849 Squadron - history and personnel list  completed April 2018

1850 Squadron - history and personnel list completed April 2018

1700 ASR Squadron - history and personnel list completed February 2018

1700 Squadron - The RN's newest squadron formed in October 2017 - added January 2018


RNRA pages

Mystery photos quiz page (updated) July 2018

Diary of Gunner August Joyce Halden, Royal Marine Artillery

Added October 2018


The British Pacific & East Indies Fleets

L.C.(Q) 389 updated January 2018

H.M.S. MORAY FIRTH updated Mary 2018

H.M.S. CUILLIN SOUND updated September 2018



Visitor No.




Join the Mailing List and
automatically receive  our newsletter
Enter your name and email address below:
Subscribe Unsubscribe

Click here for help with  the subscription process


This site has been neonate for inclusion in the British Library's Web Archiving Programme and will appear as part of the collection later this year



Search this site

Click the small X next to the search button to close search results




Help For Heroes supports those Navy, Army and Royal Air Force servicemen and women wounded in the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, both directly and through its support of other service charities.



Why not sign-up for the

The RN Research Archive Forum offers a digital community where users can post questions, start discussions or share their experiences and resources with others.

CLICK HERE to access the Forum


To contact the webmaster CLICK HERE

Site tested with


  Internet Explorer 7





  Firefox 2



© The Royal Navy Research Archive  2005 -2018