Friday, 23 January 2009

World War Two merchant shipping records online

From the National Archives (Kew) website:

The movements of merchant ships during the Second World War can now be discovered at DocumentsOnline. The merchant shipping movement cards record the journeys of both British registered and Allied vessels engaged in the war effort from 1939.

The series of cards within BT 389 record the name of the ship, any former name it had, its size (tonnage), to whom it was registered, the ship's destination, date of arrival and occasionally ports of call. They also record any cargo carried on board. Importantly for historians, the cards show if the ship was torpedoed, mined, damaged or sunk during the war.

The merchant shipping movement cards were started by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen. They are concerned only with the details of the ship and therefore do not contain details of any passengers or crew, as this information was considered a security risk by the Admiralty during the war.

You can search for cards by:
Ship name
Former ship name
Gross tonnage

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