Friday, 7 November 2008

WW1 Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve records now online

The National Archives at Kew has released 40,000 service records online for sailors who served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, through its Documents Online service.

From the press release:

The Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) was formed from civilian volunteers enlisted to assist the navy from 1903. Formerly relying solely upon professional seamen from the merchant service and fishing fleets, the rapid expansion of the navy at the turn of the century forced it to look else elsewhere for recruits. The navy therefore opened its doors to men in civilian shore jobs for the first time.

Volunteers joining the RNVR agreed to serve ´either ashore or afloat´ when required, and consequently performed a wide range of duties. With the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, these volunteers were called upon and either drafted into ships of the fleet, or ordered - with reservists from the Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Fleet Reserve - to join the Royal Naval Division who fought alongside the army.

Records are held for ratings (seamen who did not hold a commission) who joined between 1903 and 1919, and officers who signed up between 1914 and 1922.

The digitised documents (found in ADM 337) provide a range of information on each individual, including name, division, date of birth, former occupation, ships and units served in, and period of service. Other fascinating details for family historians are given, such as height, hair colour and eye colour, along with remarks about character and ability. In some cases a record may also reveal the person´s place of birth. The officers´ records include details of promotions, honours and awards from World War One.

The records can be found at Documents Online .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
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