The British Royal Naval Division was made up of men from the Royal Navy and its reserve forces. These men, who were not needed at sea, fought on land alongside the Army during World War One.

The records cover more than 50,000 officers and ratings who joined the Royal Naval Division or who passed through Crystal Palace, London when it was used as an initial training centre during the First World War.

What can these records tell me about my ancestor?
The Royal Naval Division Service Records are extremely detailed and will give you a combination of the following information about your ancestor:

Biographical information
o Name
o Date of birth
o Address
o Occupation
o Religion
o Name and address of next of kin
o Swimming ability

Appearance
o Hair colour
o Eye colour
o Distinguishing marks, including tattoos and scars
o Height
o Chest size
o Complexion

Service history
o Rank
o Service number
o Where stationed
o Wounds or illnesses
o Awards
o Disciplinary action

What do the records look like?
Each record includes images of the original service records that The National Archives holds.
There will usually be two or three pages for each man, but many will have more.

The Royal Naval Division in World War One
The Royal Naval Division was formed in August 1914 and included recruits from the following:
• Royal Naval Reserve
• Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
• Royal Fleet Reserve
• Royal Navy
• Royal Marines
• Army

The Royal Naval Division fought on land during WWI, seeing service at Antwerp in 1914, Gallipoli in 1915, Ancre in 1916 and Passchendaele in 1917.

Find out more
The National Archives holds the Royal Naval Division Records of Service in the series ADM339.
The records do not cover officers who transferred to the Royal Naval Division from the Royal Marines.