absolute necessity has been to identify just which ship an
individual served in, not least to resolve the many anomalies which
exist in the early records. To assist in this process I have
recorded a number of milestones' of ship careers, currently
encapsulated under some twenty or so headings, mainly dealing with
events such as launch, loss, change of use and the transfer of a crew
from one ship to another. I gratefully acknowledge the use of
the standard references as a 'point of departure' but it should be
noted that, of the first 600 ships entered, 100 could not be
identified from such sources. Input of ship dimensions, not an
original aim, has been found useful as a further aid to ship
identification. This information is now being routinely
entered, and the backlog addressed - leading to the identification of
a few more previously unrecorded ships.
over 95% of the data is derived from primary sources, even the
officials recording the information at the time were sometimes
confused. Despite extensive research in these sources, there is
still doubt concerning some ships . The resultant list is
more complete than any other currently in existence but I make no
claim to infallibility or completeness.
after the ship name are used to differentiate between ships of the
same name; and normally refer to the period from launch or
acquisition to disposal or loss.
with people, a similar method is used to record different spellings
or even names. For formal name changes, a special linking file
is used which can allow the gathering of information on the same
physical ship regardless of the actual name in use. The basic ship
entries include a simplistic entry for number of guns and men.
Both these aspects, and a number of others, merit deeper study.
The database has been structured to allow further development in
these fields if and when time allows.
data is a desirable future option being considered, and not just for
the actions. In the sources, much information for the
individual becomes available once the name of the Commanding Officer
at the time has been established, although noting that a small but
significant proportion of the data is only to be found in the records
of the operational commanders.