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Researching Your Ancestors in the Royal Navy


Some of you may have heard of ARRSE :) and the ARRSEpedia, which is a wikipedia we can all edit.

Somewhere in the depths of the ARRSEpedia are a couple of pages on Researching Your Military Ancestors and Ancestors in the Royal Navy.

If you have any knowledge of these subjects you'd like to share, please feel free to join in building these pages.

If you're a wiki biff, PM me here and we'll find a way of getting it in there.

Kind regards

Fluff, a pongo descended from tars


If you are interested in ancestors that served in the RN you can download their service documents for a small fee (about £3-£5) from the national archives under military history.

You'll need your ancestors Date of Birth. I did it for my granddad and my husbands granddad - both matelots in WW1.


The National Archives are very useful. I got the records of two great grandfathers for WW1. It even turned out one was at Jutland.

Another possible sourse is the archives of the London & Edinburgh Gazettes. Found another gg grandfather was onboard when one of the first VCs was won in the Crimean War - albeit they were in the Baltic at the time.

London Gazette

Edinburgh Gazette
I wrote to 'Centurion' and for a small fee got my fathers war record, splendid and frightening thing it was; he never talked about it.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Click on as a starter and also there is a paperback on the subject by NAM Rodger - usually on sale in Kew & there's also a copy in Portsmouth central library if one is in the vicinity.

If one sends for papers it has to be by or in the name of the next of kin, and expect some months to pass between the cashing of the £30 cheque and the arrival of the result.
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