How to look for records of... Royal Navy ratings after 1923

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

View online

How many are online?

  • None
  • Some
  • All

Order copies

We can either copy our records onto paper or deliver them to you digitally

Pay for research

Use our paid search service or find an independent researcher

Visit us

Visit us in Kew to see original documents or view online records for free



This is a brief guide to researching records of Royal Navy ratings after 1923. If the rating joined the Royal Navy after 1926, their service record will still be held by the Ministry of Defence.

This guide will help you to find out if the information you are looking for exists and, if it does, where to find it or more information about it.

What do I need to know before I start?

Try to find out:

  • the name and rank of the person
  • the name of the ship(s) the person served on
  • a date range of service

What records can I see online?

Registers of seamen’s service (1925-1929)

Search and download (£) ratings’ service records for those who enlisted between 1924 and 1926 (ADM 362) from our catalogue. You can search ADM 362 by name, official number and date of birth. The type of information they contain is similar to ratings’ records for the earlier period – see our Royal Navy ratings’ service records 1853-1923 research guide for more information on what they can contain.

If the rating saw service after 1928 try searching for their continuous record card in ADM 363 (see below).

Continuous record cards (1925-1939)

Search and download (£) a ratings’ continuous service record (ADM 363) from our catalogue. You can search ADM 363 by name, official number and date of birth.

Please note, a rating must have enlisted in or before 1926 in order to have a continuous record card in ADM 363.

Medal rolls (1793-1972)

Search by name for information about the award of campaign, long service and good conduct medals in the Royal Navy medal roll (ADM 171) using Ancestry.co.uk (£). These rolls do not usually contain biographical information. Digital microfilm copies of these records are also available to download and browse from our website free of charge.

What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?

The records held by The National Archives for ratings during this period are available online – please see above.

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

Service records (1927-present)

If the rating joined in 1927 or after visit the GOV.UK website for information about how to request a summary of a service record from the Ministry of Defence. These are available to next of kin and members of the general public on request to the MOD, provided the subject is no longer living. An administrative fee applies.

What other resources will help me find information?

Books

Search The National Archives’ bookshop to see whether any of the publications below may be available to buy. Alternatively, look in The National Archives’ library catalogue to see what is available to consult at Kew.

Bruno Pappalardo, Tracing your Naval Ancestors (The National Archives, 2003)

Did you know?

rating is the most junior class of seaman in the Royal Navy – these are below both commissioned officers and warrant officer in seniority.

Service records for ratings who joined the Royal Navy after 1926 are held by the Ministry of Defence (MOD). These are available to next of kin and members of the general public on request to the MOD, provided the subject is no longer living. An administrative fee applies.