How do I find out where a ship was on a given day?

Knowing only Army stuff, I assume there must be a version of a Unit Diary for HM Ships.

How do I get at them?

Ideally, if it's online a link or clue would be great. I'm guessing it will involve a trip to an archive somewhere though.

I'm looking at the period from 1940 up to 1950.

Thanks in advance.



War Hero
Book Reviewer
Ship's logs are in the National Archive at Kew (as also army & RM units' War Diaries). The log wil certainly tell you where the ship was, but often not much else apart from the weather.


Book Reviewer
It will also depend on the size of the ship, a lot of the Harry Tates Navy vessels didn't keep the best of records
Try the Naval Historical Branch in Pompey - they have "Pink Lists", which will tell you where anyship was on a given day. The National Archive also have a set of books which give the same sort of info, but I can't think of the reference off hand - I know I sent them to the NA in 2002/3 - NHB also hold a copy.
Your references at the NA are ADM 199/2545-2577, which cover A-Z including the first batch of MMSs. Check the archive for the volume which includes the ship you want to check on. Most if not all cover WW II, some go back as far as the 20s. If you want copies, be warned - their photocopying is rather expensive.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
If memory serves (!) the Pink List was a forecast of ships' movements - not a record of where 100% of them finished up. Interesting reading nonetheless. The Admiralty Library in Portsmouth also has various manuscripts by individuals; also the Naval Collection in Portsmouth Central Library (top floor, need library card or id) has a wide range of ship's and naval people's biographies. If one is researching a particular ship one might get lucky there.

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