How to look for records of... Royal Navy ratings joining after 1928

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

Visit us in Kew

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

Pay for research

This is a brief guide to researching records of Royal Navy ratings after 1928. If the rating joined the Royal Navy after 1928, their service record will still be held by the Ministry of Defence.

What do I need to know before I start?

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

Service records for ratings who joined the Royal Navy after 1928 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.

What records can I see online?

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 only 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 (1929-present)

If the rating joined in 1929 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. Please note, these records are not available to view online.

What other resources will help me find information?

Books

Search The National Archives’ bookshop to see whether the publication 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)