Ship's logs


Has anyone had any success in finding ship's logs and other important documents? I tried to track down several documents last year, but met with confusion. It started when I wanted to see Collingwood's original dispatch from Euryalus on 22nd Oct. The people at the Historic Dockyard Portsmouth said that it was at the NMM at Greenwich, but the NMM had no knowledge of its whereabouts. I tried the National Archives (Kew) website, but to no avail.

Before going to the NMM last year I phoned and asked to see the logs of Pallas, Imperieuse, Speedy (in the respective eras of Cochrane's command) and Royal Soveriegn and Euryalus. Of these, only Euryalus was available (covering the time I wished to study anyway, which was Oct '05). May I say at this juncture that the staff at both establishments were unfailingly polite and helpful as far as they could be.

My original quest (in the case of the logs of Euryalus and Royal Sov) was to ascertain what signals (I didn't know at the time that the record of signals were kept in their own log) Collingwood made during the battle, and thus what influence Collingwood had, if any, on the outcome.

So, does anyone know of a list or source for the navy's historical documents?

Many thanks.


War Hero
Not suprised there was confusion.not wanting to be a conspiracist,but "they" might not want you to find these documents. for what ever reason.It maybe that they come under the OSA rules and wont be released for many years to come.There are still documents dting from the Crimea that are not released as there are surviving relatives of Persons concerned and certain documents "may" have a detrimental effect if released.I.e. some toff done cocked up big time and there might be much egg on face if Joe Public knew!Good luck in your search.
Have you tried the IWM?


Lantern Swinger
You were close - you need to contact the Naval Historical Branch in Jago Road in the Dockyard. Don't have a number to hand, but if you call the exchange and ask to be put through, you should be OK. Fascinating place, they have some incredible stuff in there, and you should come up with what you are after, or they will definitely know where to find it.


No, chaps, I hadn't contacted either of these places. I was led to believe that the Imperial War Museum didn't stock documents of this type, but I will find out for sure. I hadn't even heard of the Naval Historical Branch, but I'll certainly be giving them a call.

I'll be visiting the NMM again in July, so if I find any interesting snippets there I'll post them here.

Many thanks for your help!
Collingwood was on RoyalSovereign and commanded the 'lee' division of the British battle fleet at Trafalgar

Collingwood was actually engaged with the combined Franco Spanish fleet
at 1157 hrs on 21 October 1805 and was unsupported untill Nelson engaged at approx 1215 .with the weather column.

Euryalis was not part of Nelson's or Collingwoods formations but was awarded the Trafalgar Battle honour

Posted for interest value!!



War Hero
Ships Logs are held at the National Archive, Kew under class ADM 53: there are also Captain's and Master's Logs there. This is for sure - I sent them to the PRO/National Archive from 1979-2003 when I worked for the MoD.
Clock on the the Archive site, and go to the Catalogue, the browse ADM 53. There is also a search facility for individual ships if you specify the dates you require. Don't ask for photocopies - they're quite expensive. Well worth a visit, and they brief you how to find things from the catalogue before they let yoyu loose. All you need is some ID with your address on it.


War Hero
The Hood assoc are in the throes of publishing the Logs on their site.To date they have done a few but the majority is still to be added.


Book Reviewer
Re Greenie's post: Euryalus was a frigate and therefore did not lie in the line. She was the first to spot the enemy fleet leaving Cadiz and later towed Collingwood's dismasted Royal Sovereign out of the battle. The last Euryalus (F15) was the sixth of the name; the fourth landed the Lancashire Fusiliers at Gallipoli where they won 6 VCs before breakfast.

All ships' logs ought to be in the PRO at Kew in the ADM series.

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