RN Ships' logs

Discussion in 'Research Material' started by popeye1975, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. popeye1975

    popeye1975 Junior Member

    Does anyone know where exist the logs of ships that survived WW2? I was led to believe that it was The National Maritime Museum
  2. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    That’s my understanding too
  3. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Warships? I’ve copied the log of HMS Indomitable for early 1942 - that was in National Archives at Kew.


  4. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
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  5. popeye1975

    popeye1975 Junior Member

    Thanks to all. Some useful stuff there
  6. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

  7. popeye1975

    popeye1975 Junior Member

    Another development. I have discovered that Dad served aboard HMT Queen Mary during her trip to the USA in early May 1943. I have tried to glean from the National Archives excerpts from QM's ship log for that period in the hope that comings and goings of crew might have been recorded but I'm not sure they understand what I want as the replies I get seem to be directing me towards the search for Naval records, which of course just gets me back to where I already am.
  8. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Did he serve as a member of her crew or was he being transported as a passenger? If the latter I doubt he will be mentioned. If the former then he will be on the crew agreement and could be referenced in the logbook.

    Kew copiers won't do research for you unless you pay them do to it. There is a difference between research and copying. They will copy what you ask for and they tend to give you replies such as you have received if they can't find it or your instructions are unclear. You have to give them the exact document reference as well as the relevant part of that document and the time frame you are interested in. The ship's logbook is a large document containing many parts and I would suggest is best viewed by a visit yourself or getting a researcher who knows his way around a logbook to do it for you. Trusting in someone who does not know a logbook and coming back with a negative reply may set your research back a long time. These things happened to me and only when I had the knowledge was I able to search or ask someone to search on my behalf and direct them to the right place, only then, was I as sure as I could be without actually viewing the document personally. Bear in mind also that QUEEN MARY was a big ship with a big crew and the logbook will be large compared to other smaller ships so it is important not to be in a hurry.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
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  9. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    Popeye, I fear you are not making the most of WW2Talk’s hive-mind by raising such narrow points. If you are comfortable with sharing your father’s details then I suggest you start a new thread dedicated to him, sharing what you can, explaining what you hope to find. This approach may identify rich veins to explore in unexpected places.
    Actually Hugh, this is far from a forlorn hope for North Atlantic convoys which are well served by LAC and Héritage, with many nominal rolls surviving and having been digitised. Even the rail movements have survived in many cases. Collectively they are grouped under the ‘Directorate of Movements’. It is the crews that are largely anonymous in these files. Temujin has also identified other sources which might include crews as well.

    I believe that Queen Mary made only one westbound crossing during May 1943. See HQS 63-303-478 in reel C-5709/425. She was given the convoy number TA-41b and the ship allotment number for the crossing of W478 - either of which could substitute for her name in official correspondence.
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Queen Mary - Record of Wartime Cruises - 1943

    May 5, 1943 to May 11, 1943 Gourock to New York
    3,489 5 days, 20 hours, 50 minutes 24.78k

    May 13, 1943 to May 19, 1943
    Drydock in Bayonne, New Jersey

    June 1, 1943 to June 6, 1943 New York to Gourock
    3,469 5 days, 7 hours, 33 minutes 27.19k

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  11. Looking up the link provided by TD above, I was flabbergasted by the number of troops QM carried in her three inbound voyages in November and December 1943: around 12,000 each trip (plus the 900-odd crew)! That's practically a whole division each time, illustrating the ramping up of the BOLERO build up for the Invasion.
    I knew these troopships carried massive numbers of troops, but never checked exactly how many, and thought it was around 4,000, but the actual figure is three times as many. Probably not the luxury cruise one would expect in such ships, but an incredible feat (and risk too) nonetheless.

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  12. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Thanks Rich, my answer was geared to the o/p question regarding the ship's official logbook rather than any other documents that may give up nominal rolls. My answer still stands with regard to that primary source. However, I am glad that there appear to be other documents in North America that may help the op in his quest to find more on his father. CONSIGs can be really difficult people to research and any help he can get will I am sure be appreciated as I know he has been struggling on this for a while.

    ps - attached are the QM movements for 43-46 - courtesy of Roger Griffiths.

    Attached Files:

  13. popeye1975

    popeye1975 Junior Member

    Dad was an RN signalman and as there was no permanent RN presence in NYC it's unlikely they would have sent him across to the US on a 'jolly'. He was almost certainly on board as a signalman. In fact my brother weighed in with the theory that he may have even temporarily been on the comms staff of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was onboard the ship on his way to a conference in (I think) Canada. With regards to starting a thread specifically dealing with his Naval records, I need to check for sure but I'm certain I did that at some stage. But if I can get a copy of his records posted on here then it may be an idea going forward
  14. popeye1975

    popeye1975 Junior Member

    Latest. My brother thinks that my Dad was on his way to NYC to join another ship - either in NY or another US or Canadian port. He seems to have the idea that there was a ship (either RN or civilian) operating in the Western Atlantic based in US waters. Not sure how much credence can be put on this as I've put all my eggs in one basket with my brother before only for him to change his account. I'm interested to know, if anyone can tell me, which British ships would have been in New York about that time (May/June 1943?. Cheers
  15. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    Re your father’s role on the QM, it was common practice for suitably qualified naval personnel to have to “work their passage” when being transported from one location to another by ship even though nominally a “passenger”. I believe some also volunteered to assist simply to give themselves something to do.

    As for his time in NYC, the RN had a transit camp (stone frigate) just outside the city, which was named HMS Asbury for a while. It was a satellite unit to HMS Saker.
    HMS Saker - Wikipedia

    RN personnel would be billeted in such transit camps until arrangements could be made to send them on to man the ships they were being posted to. That may have been in NY but more likely somewhere else in the US. As for which ship he was destined for, only his service records will tell you.

    1943 saw thousands of RN personnel being shipped to NY to man frigates, escort carriers and landing craft building in the US in places as far afield as Boston, Philadelphia, places on the Great Lakes, Florida and even Seattle over on the West Coast. There were for example 33 escort carriers completed (Sept 1942-Feb 1944) for Britain and 78 Captain class frigates (US destroyer escorts- Feb 1943-Feb 1944) before even considering the hundreds of minesweepers and landing craft, all of which needed crews.

    Small numbers of RN ships were also being repaired on the East Coast in summer 1943. An example would be the battleship Royal Sovereign in the Philadelphia Navy Yard for a year between Nov 1942 and Nov 1943.

    To get some idea of what was involved, the early chapters of this book are helpful

    Without his personnel records it is impossible to say what his final destination was to be.
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  16. popeye1975

    popeye1975 Junior Member

    Dad travelled on HMT Mauretania on his way back to the UK in 1942. Between Durban and Rio de Janeiro he was actually employed as a guard for German and Italian POW's. Ironically after the ship arrived in Rio several German prisoners tried to swim ashore to what they assumed was neutral Brazil, not realising that they were heading for a country that had declared war on Germany that very day...
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2021
  17. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Screen Shot 2021-11-30 at 10.15.28.png Welcome to 1940s New York: NYC neighborhood profiles from 1943, based on the 1940 Census

    The above shows Myrtle Avenue East/West running across the above map. The book referred to by Ewen Scott above is " The Captain Class Frigates in the Second World War" by D.J. Collingwood which states that the two hotels were in New Jersey and names them as the Berkeley Carteret and Monterey. There is a postcard view here:

    Beach scene at Asbury Park, N. J., Monterey Hotel and Asbury Carlton in background
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2021
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  18. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Highly unlikely that your Dad was actually serving on the QM although, as mentioned already, he may have volunteered to help out. Whilst it refers to the Queen Elizabeth you may find this link of interest as an illustration of RN personnel travelling to the US.
    John Dennett | D-Day Revisited

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  19. popeye1975

    popeye1975 Junior Member

    If only. His service records tell me who was paying him. And that's it.

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