Naval Biographical Database



An 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. 

Although 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.

Dates 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.

As 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.

Operational 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.

   © CHD 2010