Header image 
navigation

 

Accessing Service Records

Information about access to service records of members of the of Royal Navy, Women's Royal Naval Service, and the Royal Marines.
This page is aimed at providing a summary of who holds which records and the procedures and regulations concerning access to them.

All records prior to 1931

The UK National Archive (formerly the Public Record Office) holds the following records which are available for online access:

  • Royal Navy & Royal Marine commissioned & Warrant officers' service records 1756-1931 Search
  • Royal Navy ratings up to 1913 info on searching
  • Royal Navy ratings’ service records 1853-1928 Search
  • Royal Marines' service records (1842-1925) Search
  • Royal Naval Reserve service records 1860-1955 Search
  • Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve service records 1903-1922 Search
  • Royal Naval Air Service Officers 1906-1918 Search
  • Royal Naval Air Service Ratings Search
  • Women's Royal Naval service records 1917-19 Search
  • Royal Naval Division service records 1914-1919 Search

These records are freely available for public access; however, the National Archives does not have the manpower to perform searches. Digital records can be download in PDF for a nominal fee/Enquirers are welcome to visit Kew and perform their own search, or hire an independent researcher - see the National Archive website for further details.

Ancestry.com holds the following records which are available for online access for subscribers:

  • Naval Officer and Rating Service Records, 1802-1919 Search

Records of Merchant seamen serving in the Royal Navy under T124X and T124T contracts

The UK National Archive (formerly the Public Record Office) holds the following records which are available for online access:

The reference BT 391 includes the T124X records which detail the sea service of merchant seamen who served on Royal Navy ships. The T124T records detail the sea service of merchant seamen who served on tugs. Information is contained in pouches and includes personal details such as name, age, rank, rating/grade and qualifications, together with details of the vessels on which the individual served. The pouches are presented in alphabetical order by the seaman's last name.

CLICK HERE to open the National Archive catalogue page ‘Registry of Shipping and Seamen: War of 1939-1945; Combined Office Merchant Navy Operations, Seamen's Pouches’Enter the name to search for as SURNAME, FIRST, MIDDLE.

These records are not digitised so they cannot be downloaded - they are copied upon request.

Service records for deceased Royal Navy & Royal Marine personnel who died after 1924

The RN Disclosure Cell processes requests for service records of Commissioned and non-commissioned officers (both RN and RM) from 1924 onwards.

Information from these records can be requested under the Ministry of defence (MOD) Publication Scheme. Subject to the payment of an administration fee* of £30 per record and provision of a death certificate (except where death was in service), certain information can be provided from the records of service of Service personnel on request under the publication scheme.

Download, print, and compete BOTH parts 1 & 2 of the relevant forms and mail them to the address below

Part 1
For Next of Kin applicants:
Application part 1: Request for Service personnel details: next of kin form  PDF or DOC formats

For None Next of Kin applicants:
Application part 1: Request for Service personnel details: general enquirer's form PDF or DOC format

Part 2
For both next of kin & None next of kin
Application part 2: Request for Service personnel details: Royal Navy/Royal Marines part 2 PDF or DOC format

Send your completed forms (and administration fee* if applicable) to:
RN Disclosure Cell,
Room 48,
West Battery,
Whale Island,
Portsmouth,
Hampshire,
United Kingdom
PO2 8DX

*The application form part 2 states a cheque, but other acceptable methods of payment are Postal Order, Banker’s Draft or International Money Order, made out to the value of 30 GBP and payable to ‘the MOD Accounting Officer’.

All questions or requests for more information please write to the above address or see the MOD guidance on how to request records of deceased service personnel. THE ROYAL NAVY RESEARCH ARCHIVE (THIS SITE) IS NOT INVOLVED WITH THE PROCESS OF REQUESTING SERVICE RECORDS.

Obtaining information about yourself: Records of non-commissioned officers and ratings who entered the Royal Navy or Royal Marines after 1924 that are still living

The RN Disclosure Cell processes requests for service records for current or former RN/RM personnel

The Data Protection Act 1998 provided access for living individuals (including foreign nationals) to personal data held about them by any organisation. The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 18), which implements the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the UK, strengthen this right.

You – the Subject of the request - must make a Subject Access Request (SAR). Download and complete DPA SAR Form 1694:

Application form: DPA SAR form 1694 PDF or DOC format

Please state clearly the information you require and send it, with the necessary proof of identification requested, to:

RN Disclosure Cell,
Mail Point 1.3,
Navy Command Headquarters,
Leach Building,
Whale Island,
Portsmouth,
Hampshire,
United Kingdom
PO2 8BY

Or to the relevant address listed at the bottom of the form.

All questions or requests for more information please write to the above address or see the MOD guidance on how to Obtain information about yourself held by MOD. THE ROYAL NAVY RESEARCH ARCHIVE (THIS SITE) IS NOT INVOLVED WITH THE PROCESS OF REQUESTING SERVICE RECORDS.

How long will a request take to process? How do I complain. Ways to gather limited information  for free.

Please be patient:

The MOD web site states that a request can take several months to complete.

Not satisfied with how your request was handled:

You can contact the MOD Information Rights team to lodge a complaint cio-foi@mod.uk

Limited service records can be found for free using:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission site
T
he Armed Forces Memorial roll of honour

Information contained on this page is drawn from

The Ministry of Defence www.gov.uk/
The Veteran's Agency www.veterans-uk.info/
The National Archives www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

 



 

×

Search RNRA materials

X