Admiralty Book of Reference (BR)

Discussion in 'Research Material' started by AlanDavid, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. AlanDavid

    AlanDavid Junior Member

    Does anyone know if a list of titles is available of the BR or Books or Reference series that were published from 1942 onward? The BR series took over from the OU or Official Use series which was discontinued, some of which were transferred to the BR series. Also some titles from the CB or Confidential Book series were also transferred over.

    This included manuals and handbooks on all manor of subjects. My main area of interest in this regard is Royal Navy small arms.

    I have contacted the library at the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth a few times, but never hear back.


  2. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

    Hello Alan,

    The Historic Naval Ships Association has some predominantly US publications on line, but there are some Royal Navy BRs and one OU among them.

    Navy Manuals and Documents Online

    papiermache likes this.
  3. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    This might help, or browse through titles in ADM 234 using "advanced search" on the UK National Archives website.

    Reference: ADM 234/1
    Establishment and numerical list of books of reference
    Date: 1951
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department: BR 1(51)
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

    Closest I could find:

    Reference: ADM 234/253
    Small arms training: volume 1, pamphlet no.4 - light machine gun
    Date: 1942
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department: BR 1301

    Titles of publications which might bear on "small arms" and which may be at Kew:

    BR 161 Royal Navy Handbook of Small Arm Courses for His Majesty’s Fleet

    BR 254 The Eye-Shooting Pocket Book ( may deal with anti-aircraft guns )

    BR 822 A Seaman's Pocket-Book
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
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  4. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    I have B.R. 282 (D.E.M.S. Pocket Book) 1942.

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  5. Reid

    Reid Junior Member

    Have been looking for this one for quite some time; where did you pick it up, Hugh?
  6. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Picked it up for a couple of quid on eBay a while back, Nanette.
    If you need any look-ups just shout.
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  7. AlanDavid

    AlanDavid Junior Member

    Thanks for the details of small arms related BR's above.
    I did have a good look through TNA catalogue but it is far from complete. The handbook for the Smith & Wesson 9mm Light Rifle does not show up along with many others I would expect to see.
    So I am still looking for a detailed list of BR titles if anyone comes across such a list.


  8. bigmull

    bigmull Member

    BR 888 RN Medical Ratings Handbook.
    BR 1938 RN Ratings Handbook.
  9. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    I think this is all the BR's I have, interesting some haven't been produced as BR's but have been included in the series and a note added

    The Military Manual Collectors Newsletter (MMCN) used to have a massive list of manual's that members had compiled and I guess it would cover these but I'm not sure where to get the list now.


    BR109.JPG BR113.JPG BR118.JPG BR143(42).JPG BR149.JPG BR235.JPG br254 the eye shooting pocket book.JPG br265 42 notes on the 3inch marlin machine gun.JPG br282 dems pocket book.JPG br621 close combat.jpg br641 handbook and drill for 50 inch browning colt gun.JPG
  10. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Looks like that should be Military Manual Collectors Club, I used to get their newsletter but a long time ago it moved over to a Yahoo group and after that I didn't see much so not sure if its still around - I found a very old version of their master list but it only covered Army manuals so no help with this

  11. AlanDavid

    AlanDavid Junior Member

    Thanks all for the above post's.

    A few weeks ago on a visit to the U.K. i spent five days in TNA at Kew and managed to read ADM 234/1. It is certainly the most complete listing of BR titles I have seen.
    There were lots of BR's relating to various American Browning machine guns on a variety of mountings and configurations, also reference to handbooks on the Smith Gun, Sten Gun, .3 Marlin MG - as illustrated above. The S&W 9mm carbine of course but also a French 8mm MG.

    Some of the BR titles had notes as to distribution of handbooks etc, where the distribution may be to a training facility, type of ship and so on, all new and interesting information.
    ADM 234/1 is by no means completely comprehensive many gaps between the sequential numbering were present, perhaps as much as 10 or 15 percents of the total listing of several thousand. In addition there was no entry for the Farquahar machine gun, for which a BR is known to exist.
    However, I feel ADM 234/1 is the most comprehensive listing that is likely to be found.


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  12. bigmull

    bigmull Member

    There is a BR that has the rule to Uckers,its either BR100 or BR 1000.

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