How do I find my father's records in World War 2?

I know he was in the arctic convoys but that is about all.


4 Answers 4


You could try the Forces War Records.

This is a subscription site that enables you to conduct a free name search to decide whether it has the information you are seeking. In your case, the advantage is that it includes both Royal Navy and Merchant Marine records from WW2.

If you can obtain the name of a ship or his service number, then a family member will be able to obtain access (through Veterans UK) to his full service record which is still restricted for the general public.


Findmypast.co.uk has

Merchant Navy Seamen 1918-1941: records of index cards that the Registrar General of Shipping and Seaman used between the two world wars to produce a centralised index to merchant seamen serving on British merchant navy vessels.

The Arctic convoys started in August 1941, so there's every chance that -- if your father was in the Merchant Navy -- he will show up towards the end of the records at Findmypast.


The Imperial War Museum may be able to help http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections-research The family history notes from the Imperial War Museum at http://archive.iwm.org.uk/upload/pdf/famhist-mnavy2010-4.pdf may also help


If your father was an "Officer" in the Royal Navy during WWII He will be listed in the Royal Navy bi-annual "NAVY LIST". These "Navy Lists" record all British RN Officers and the ships upon which they served. This is a good starting point to:

  1. determine whether your father was a serving Naval Officer during WWII (if he was not an officer he will not be listed in the "Navy Lists"). TheLists also show rank, seniority date for promotion, and occupational classification (i.e. branch of the Navy in which he served).
  2. If your father was A RN OFFICER, details of ships served and dates of service will lead you on your journey to determine whether he served above the Arctic Circle during WWII and hence qualifies for award of Arctic Star Campaign medal.

These Navy Lists can be searched via www.Ancestry.co.uk


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