Sources of Reference and answer to Frequently Asked Questions

Personnel records of Naval Personnel – Ministry of Defence and Public Record Office sources

MOD Service Records
Ratings Pre 1924, WRNS WW1 records, Officers 1756-1917 & all ship records: National Archives (PRO) Kew, Richmond, Surrey. TW9 4DU. Tel: 020 8876 3444

Ratings 1924-1972, Officers 1906-1982, WRNS 1939-1971, Reservists WWII: Director of Naval Personnel, Navy Search, TNT Records Management, PO Box 7814, Tetron Point, William Nadin Way, Swadlincote, Derbyshire DE11 1EG Tel: 01283 227912 or 227913

Ratings Post 1939, WRNS Post 1971: Disclosure Cell, Navy Command Secretariat 4, West Battery, Mail Point G2, Whale Island, Portsmouth PO2 8DX. Tel 023 9262 8666/667/672

War Medals
Information is available at

For early naval personnel records - for officers up until 1931, ratings up to 1923, Royal Navy Reserve and voluntary reserve up to 1931 (dates are on joining)

Go to the National Archives on: and follow links to RN personnel.

The sources of information are huge. For example there are 600.000 personnel records of ratings which include year and place of birth, ships served in, rates, official numbers, period of service and date of death (if in service), wounds and for later entrants many badges, character/ability, physical appearance.

Officer records include full name, rank, ships, date and place of birth, entry into service, gallantry and distinguished service awards, final date in service and next-of-kin.

Alphabetical list of RN officers who served from 1939 to 1945:

Comprehensive list of RN Coastal Forces by boat/class/type, identification number, flotilla, base, together with names of senior officers and commanding officers:

For Information on Specific Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs), Motor Gun Boats (MGBs), Motor Launches (MLs) and Harbour Defence Motor Launches (HDMLs)

Site: This site is the first listed under Coastal Forces Veterans. Scroll down to “Mess Deck” on the home page and click on “Boat Data Base”. You simply type in the number of the MTB/MGB/ML/HDML

For photographs of Coastal Forces Boats

For a good selection of MTBs, MGBs, MLs, HDMLs official RN photographs, go to: Go to Type of Ship index Coastal Forces are to be found under Index 11, along with Fishery Protection and Patrol Boats; there are, for example 67 photographs of MTBs, 47 MLs and a separate section for the Zeebrugge Raid.

Register of National Historic Ships – Including the Coastal Forces Vessels
The National Register consists of over 200 vessels all of which have historic importance. The vessels have to be at least 33 foot overall, be over 50 years and to be of British build.
SITE: The index is alphabetical but you can type a name/number into the search facility.


Applying for medals (you have to be Next-of-Kin), medal policy, qualifying periods, contact the Medal Office go to:

For a summary of World War Two campaign medals and eligibility criteria go to:

For details of gallantry and distinguished service awards go to: gallantry awards/

General Enquiries Linked to First and Second World Wars – Ships, Bases, Personalities

The Imperial War Museum holds a vast archive of material relating to the world wars and all wars of the last century. These archives are made up of photographs, letters, audio interviews and other sources of reference. The collection can be accessed and search results downloaded for personal purposes from:

National Museum of the Royal Navy

The National Museum of the Royal Navy not only encompasses HMS Victory and all but the Mary Rose Museum within the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, but also the Royal Naval Submarine Museum at Gosport, the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton and the Royal Marines Museum at Eastney. The website has all visitors need to know, including the dockyard attractions and events, opening times and ticket costs, current themes and temporary exhibition, a reference library of 15,000 images and oral recordings. There is a description of shopping opportunities, a twitter page and options for becoming anew “Museum Friend”

Bringing the story of the Royal Navy's Coastal Forces to present and future generations through a permanent exhibition