The Royal Navy First World War Lives at Sea project is a collaboration between The National Archives and the National Maritime Museum, to create a free to search database relating to all the men who served in the Navy during the First World War.

The project aims to identify and to transcribe from these service records, with the help of volunteers, all the Royal Navy officers and ratings who served in the First World War, their date and place of birth, their occupation prior to joining the Royal Navy, names and dates of ships, submarines, shore establishment served in during their service, together with their ranks or ratings and the date and cause of discharge.

As a Transcription Tuesday volunteer you will be given unique log-in details for the website in which you will do the transcription work along with guidance on how to get started.

Below is an example screenshot of what the transcription pages look like, so on the left you will see an image of a service record and to your right you will see the database into which you would transcribe the information that is being captured.


The resulting database will be a key resource in commemorating the Royal Navy’s contribution to the First World War effort through the lives of those officers and ratings who served.

The database aims to aid, facilitate and promote a wide and diverse variety of research both at the personal family level, and into the composition and operations of the Royal Navy during the First World War.

Research using the database could be specific to individual officers and ratings through their personal and service histories, or wider studies such as, where men were recruited from and from which trades, and to enable the creation of crew lists for ships and submarines for given dates.

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Such lists do not survive for the First World War and so for the first time researchers will be able to place officers and ratings in naval battles of the war.

The free database website resource is now live with just over 25,000 service records currently searchable out of an estimated 400,000 officer/rating histories.

With the help of volunteer transcribers, we hope to complete the whole project by November 2021.