Photograph of nurse (Catalogue reference: INF 2/42/808)

This is a brief guide to researching records of nurses who served with the Royal Navy. These records are varied and can be complicated. While most of the relevant records can be found at The National Archives, some material is also held by the Ministry of Defence and the Red Cross.

  • What do I need to know before I start?

    • Try to find out:

      • the name of the person
      • the name of the nursing service
      • a date range to help focus your search
  • What records can I see online?

    • There are no significant collections of Royal Naval nurses' records available online.

Did you know?

Before 1884 the Royal Navy generally employed male nurses only.

The majority of naval nurses in the First and Second World Wars served in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service.

Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs) were non-military organisations created in 1909 and based on the Japanese voluntary aid system. Members were trained by the St John Ambulance Brigade and served alongside all branches of the armed forces.