To access these records you will either need to visit us, pay for research (£) or, where you can identify a specific record reference, order a copy (£).
Seamen’s pouches (1941-1972)
Search Discovery (£), our catalogue, by name in BT 372 and BT 391 to see if a seamans pouch survives. Not every pouch survives and many were destroyed before transfer.
Seamen’s pouches are also available for the Second World War period arranged in alphabetical ranges in BT 390.
Fourth Register of Seamen combined index (1918-c.1972)
Consult the register in BT 364 (1918 to c.1972). These index cards are on microfiche (the originals are held by Southampton Archives).
The central indexed register, or Fourth Register of Seamen, was started in 1913 and maintained until 1941. The entries for 1913-1918 were destroyed, therefore the register covers the period from 1918 to 1940.
Fifth Register of Seamen’s Service (seamen’s docket books) (1941-1972)
Browse our catalogue for seamens docket books in BT 382.
Index of First World War Mercantile Marine Medals and the British War Medal (1914-1925)
Look through the microfiche index in BT 351 by name for recipients of medals.
Agreements and crew lists (1835-1994)
The National Archives holds the following proportions of agreements and crew lists after 1861:
- 1861-1938: 10%
- 1939-1950: 100%
- 1951-1994: 10%
Use the box below to search for agreements and crew lists by ship’s official number in BT 99, BT 380 and BT 381 or by ship’s name if it was a famous ship in BT 100.
You can obtain the ship’s official number from the Crew list index project website (CLIP) or the Miramar Ship Index (£).
For some dates after 1927, you will have to browse our catalogue as the numbers are given as ranges.
Most crew lists from 1863 to 1976 are held by the Maritime History Archive in Newfoundland, and are searchable online by ship’s number.
For more information read Crew lists, agreements and log books of merchant ships after 1861.
Merchant Navy gallantry awards for the Second World War (1939-1947)
Search our catalogue by name of person or ship in T 335 to find what the award was, the person’s rank at the time, and the ship they were serving on.
Narrow your search by using double quotation marks to find a ships’s or person’s full name, such as “Sydney Star” or “John Williams”
Why can’t I find a seaman in the Fourth or Fifth Register?
There are a number of reasons why you may not be able to find a record in BT 364 or BT 382.
It may be because:
- the seaman was not a British seaman or did not sail on British vessels
- the seaman was only employed temporarily and was not issued with a discharge ‘A’ number or a British Seaman’s Identity Card
- the seaman was an apprentice and had not yet been issued with a discharge ‘A’ number or a British Seaman’s Identity Card