Finding Service Records
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This page provides information on how to find an individual’s service records. The National Museum of the Royal Navy only holds a very limited number of service related documents as most UK service records are held by the Ministry of Defence or the National Archives. It is advised that you look there first before contacting the NMRN.
Records for those serving after 1924
Records for all personnel who were in service after 1924 are held by the Ministry of Defence. They are generally only accessible to the individual concerned or their next of kin.
The correct forms and details of how to apply can be found by following this link
RN Disclosure Cell, Room 48, West Battery, Whale Island, Portsmouth, PO2 8DX
Records for those serving before or during World War 1
Service records for all personnel who were in service before 1924 are held by The National Archives. Guides covering how these records can be accessed are available on their website
The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU Tel: 020 8876 3444
NMRN Records Held at Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton
RN and RNVR Ratings Engagement and Enrolment Papers 1888 to 1923:
There are significant gaps, notably the Royal Naval Air Service, for which most of the Engagement Papers were destroyed. The records include papers for the following ratings:
Continuous Service (CS); Non-Continuous Service (NCS); Special Service (SS); Seamen, Stokers; Artificers; Artisans; Ship’s Police; Sick Berth Attendants; Mine Clearance Service (MCS).
Royal Marine Attestation Packs:
Approximately 60,000 of these are held within the date range 1850 to 1923. Others can be found at the National Archives. The records include: RMLI (Plymouth, Chatham & Portsmouth Divisions) Continuous Service (CS) & Short Service (SS); RMA CS & SS; RND (Divisional Engineers, Divisional Train, RM Medical Unit, Ordnance Company) Deal Short Service; RMB - Royal Naval School of Music; RM Labour Corps (New Formation) Short Service.
Royal Naval Reserve Ratings:
Original service cards (approx. A3 size) for 140,000 ratings. These relate to people who earned their living by seafaring but were also members of the RN Reserve, to be called up in case of hostilities.
Royal Naval Division:
Original service cards (approx. A5 size) for 50,000 RND officers and men.