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Royal Navy/Royal Marines - Pensions to the Wounded, Retired, Widows & Orphans - Ratings & Officers

Nature of Source

Details of applications for out-pensions issued by the Royal Greenwich Hospital and the Chatham Chest charity which include applications from Royal Marines. Pensions were paid to the widows of warrant officers, ratings and dockyard workers killed on service. Originally a charge of 6d was deducted per month from the wages of the seaman. The Royal Greenwich Hospital also accepted in-pensioners until 1869. The other bodies that organised pension payments were the Naval Pay Office operating under the direction of the Admiralty and the Charity for the Payment of Pensions to the Widows of Sea Officers. The Admiralty eventually assumed overall responsibility for pension arrangements with the exception of Greenwich Hospital. Some Marine applications may also be found in TNA series WO 22.

After 1853 with the introduction of continuous service for ratings, a 20 year service was rewarded with a good pension. Although the Continuous Service Records exist very few pensions records have survived. Dependants of those killed in action (officers and ratings) were eligible for payments from the Royal Bounty amounting to a year's wages paid by the Naval Pay Office.

No formal structure existed for the provision of pensions for officers for most of the 19th century. Instead they relied on half-pay or retirement pay which eventually evolved into a pension system. A few officers received out-pensions from Greenwich Hospital and the Chatham Chest. Pensions were also paid to widows and dependents or orphans of officers with the records held amongst the series ADM and PMG. For a full listing of the TNA series references for pension records see Rodger's Naval Records for Genealogists.

By 1814 the Chatham Chest fund was combined with the pensions of Greenwich Hospital. Greenwich Hospital closed in 1869 but continued as an organisation distributing pensions. Otherwise by the 19th century, the Admiralty assumed responsibility over pension matters. The widows of officers, ratings and marines killed in action could also take a pension from the Royal Bounty which consisted of welfare payments from the monarchy. Those wounded in action or disabled could be paid a pension.

Royal Navy ex-servicemen suffering mental illness were treated at Hoxton House in London until 1818 and thereafter at the Royal Hospital Haslar near Gosport, Hampshire until 1854. The records can be found at The National Archives in series ADM 102/415-20 for Hoxton House and in series ADM 102/356-73 for Haslar.

Service records for all ranks who served after 1920 remain with the Ministry of Defence with each military service maintaining its own record office. The Veterans UK web site provides contact details of where to apply for service records for each of the services.

See also
Casualty Records, Ratings & Officers
Certificates of Service - Ratings & Officers
Continuous Service Engagement Books, (Service Records) Ratings
Medal Rolls, Ratings & Officers
Muster & Pay Books (Service Records) - Ratings & Officers
Registers of Seamen's Services (Service Records), Ratings

Where Found

For a full listing of the TNA series references for pension records see Rodger's Naval Records for Genealogists.

Royal Marine & Navy Officers

The National Archives (ADM 201/22-23, Marine officer Greenwich Hospital pensions 1862-1908; ADM 96/523, Marine officer Widow's Pensions 1712-1831; PMG 16, Marine officer Widow's Pensions 1836-1920; PMG 20, Marine officer Widow's Pensions 1870-1919; PMG 72, Marine officer Widow's Pensions 1921-1926; PMG 18, Allowances to Marine officer children 1837-1921; ADM 22/254-261, Naval officer Greenwich Hospital out-pension register 1814; ADM 22/47-48, Naval officer Greenwich Hospital out-pension register 1815-1842; PMG 71, Naval officer Greenwich Hospital out-pension register 1846-1921; ADM 7/809-822, Officer pension & salary registers 1694-1832, indexed in ADM 7/823; ADM 45, Officers' and Civilians' Effects Papers, 1830-1860. The series includes details of claims for unpaid Royal Navy/Royal Marines pensions of deceased officers, not ratings, and civilian employees of the Royal Navy and Naval Dockyards)

The name index covering series ADM 45 is available at the TNA Discovery catalogue. First select advanced search from the Discovery home page and enter the name being searched. In the ‘Search for or within references’ box type ADM 45 and then scroll down to ‘Held by’ and click ‘Search The National Archives’. Finally click the search button. Further filters appear on the search results screen.

Ratings

The National Archives (ADM 82, ADM 22/52-55, Chatham Chest; ADM 6, ADM 22, ADM 73, PMG 70, PMG 71, Greenwich Hospital; ADM 6, ADM 65, ADM 73, Greenwich in- pension records including entry books and admission papers 1704-1869; ADM 6/267-320, Greenwich Hospital out-pension registers 1789-1859; ADM 73/95-131, Greenwich Hospital out-pension pay books 1781-1809; ADM 73/1-35, Greenwich Hospital Pensioners' Admission Papers indexed by surname; ADM 22/254-443, Greenwich Hospital out-pension pay books 1814-1846; WO 22, Greenwich Hospital out-pension pay books; 1842-1883; PMG 71/5-13, Pensions and gratuities to seamen and Marines 1879-1921; PIN 71, Selection of disablement pensions 1854-1979)

The name index covering series PIN 71 is available at the TNA Discovery catalogue. First select advanced search from the Discovery home page and enter the name being searched. In the ‘Search for or within references’ box type PIN 71 and then scroll down to ‘Held by’ and click ‘Search The National Archives’. Finally click the search button. Further filters appear on the search results screen.

A two percent selection of WWI Pensions Award Files covering all services extracted from PIN 26 is available at the TNA Discovery catalogue. First select advanced search from the Discovery home page and enter the name being searched. In the ‘Search for or within references’ box type PIN 26 and then scroll down to ‘Held by’ and click ‘Search The National Archives’. Finally click the search button. Further filters appear on the search results screen.

A selection of series are available online at Findmypast, see below for coverage.

Period Covered

1737 - 1921

Genealogical Value

Name and date of death of seaman. Supporting documents such as birth and marriage certificates. Names of ships served on.

Further References

Addis, C.P. The Men Who Fought with Nelson in HMS Victory at Trafalgar: Nelson Society, 1988

 

Adkins, Roy & Lesley. Jack Tar: The Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary Seamen in Nelson's Navy: Abacus, 2009

 

Bevan, Amanda. Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives: The National Archives, 2006

 

Blank, Dr. Stuart. Researching British Military History on the Internet: Alwyn Enterprises, 2007

 

Brooks, Richard & Little, Matthew. Tracing Your Royal Marine Ancestors: Pen and Sword Books, 2008

 

Burt, R.A. British Battleships of World War One: Seaforth, 2012

 

Clarke, John D. Men of HMS Victory at Trafalgar Including the Muster Roll, Casualties, Rewards and Medals: Naval & Military Press 2002

 

Cock, Randolph & Rodgers N.A.M. A Guide to the Naval Records in The National Archives of the UK: Institute of Historical Research, 2006

 

Coleman, E.C. Rank and Rate: Insignia of Royal Naval Ratings, WRNS, Royal Marines, QARNNS and Auxiliaries: Crowood Press, 2012

 

Divall, Ken. My Ancestor was a Royal Marine: Society of Genealogists, 2008

 

Fenton, Roy & Briody, Nuala & Macdonald, Mike. Maritime Information : A Guide to Libraries and Sources of Information in the United Kingdom: Maritime Information Association, 2004

 

Fowler, Simon. A Guide to Military History on the Internet: Pen & Sword, 2007

 

Fowler, Simon. Tracing Your Naval Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen & Sword Books, 2011

 

Gregson, Keith. Nelson's Navy 1793-1815: Federation of Family History Societies, 2006

 

Hurst, Norman (comp). Naval Chronicle, 1799-1818: Index to Births, Marriages and Deaths: N. Hurst, 1989

 

Ingham, Mary. Tracing Your Service Women Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen and Sword Books 2012

 

Lavery, Brian. Life in Nelson's Navy: The History Press, 2011

 

Lavery, Brian. Empire of the Seas: The Remarkable Story of How the Navy Forged the Modern World: Conway, 2012

 

Lavery, Brian. Nelson's Navy: The Ships, Men and Organisation, 1793-1815: Conway, 2013

 

Mackenzie, Robert Holden. The Trafalgar Roll: The Ships and the Officers: Chatham, 2004

 

Morris, Stuart. Dorset, The Royal Navy: Dovecote Press, 2011  

Pappalardo, Bruno. Tracing Your Naval Ancestors: PRO, 2003

 

Pappalardo, Bruno. Royal Navy Lieutenants' Passing Certificates 1691-1902: List & Index Society, 2001 (Available in The National Archives reading rooms)

 

Pope, Dudley.Life In Nelson's Navy: Chatham Publishing, 1997

 

Prysor, Glyn. Citizen Sailors: The Royal Navy In the Second World War: Penguin Books, 2012

 

Rodger, N.A.M. Naval Records for Genealogists: PRO, 1998

 

Royal Marines Historical Society. A Register of Royal Marine Deaths, 1914-19: 1991

 

Spencer, William. Family History in the Wars: The National Archives, 2007

 

Storey, Neil. Military Photographs and How to Date Them: Countryside Books, 2009

 

Tracing Your Family History. Royal Navy: Imperial War Museum, 2006

 

Tracy, Nicholas. The Naval Chronicle: The Contemporary Record of the Royal Navy at War, vols 1-5: various publishers

 

Usher, George. Dictionary of British Military History: A&C Black Publishers, 2006

 

Waller, Ian. My Ancestor was in the Royal Navy: Society of Genealogists, 2014

 

Watts, Christopher T. and Watts, Michael J. Tracing Births, Deaths and Marriages at Sea: Society of Genealogists, 2004

 

Willis, Sam. In the Hour of Victory: The Royal Navy At War in the Age Nelson: Atlantic Books, 2014

 

Wills, Simon. Tracing Your Seafaring Ancestors: A Guide to Maritime Photographs for Family Historians: Pen and Sword Books, 2016

Wilson, Alastair. A Biographical Dictionary of The Twentieth Century Royal Navy: Volume 1 Admirals of the Fleet and Admirals: Seaforth, 2013

 


TNA Research Guides

Websites

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/royal-naval-officers-service-records.htm (TNA guide to the Royal Naval Officers' Service Records found in series ADM 196)
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/looking-for-subject/default.htm (TNA Guide: Looking for a subject, Military history)
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/looking-for-person/default.htm (TNA Guide: Looking for a person, Navy)
www.barnettmaritime.co.uk (British Maritime History: Background to researching mariners: Mercantile & Naval)
www.royalnavalmuseum.org/info_sheets_nav_rankings.htm (Officer Ranks in the Royal Navy: The Naval Hierarchy Explained)
www.ukmfh.org.uk (UK Military Family History Online: Links to web sites with online data and information to aid in military family history research)
www.genuki.org.uk/big/MilitaryRecords.html (GENUKI Military guide with useful links)
www.rmg.co.uk/researchers/library/research-guides (National Maritime Museum: The Royal Navy: Guides to tracing people, ship records, administrative records, naval gunnery etc)
http://archive.iwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.3240 (Imperial War Museum, Your History, Family History: Royal Navy: Information sheets include Tracing Royal Navy Ancestry, Naval Service Records and List of Abbreviations)
http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazfd/gazfd48.htm (British Military Records Part 2: The Royal Navy, by Fawne Stratford-Devai)
www.bl.uk/collection-guides/uk-national-government-publications (British Library Guide: Service lists for the Army, Navy and Air Force)
www.pbenyon.plus.com/Naval.html (Naval enthusiast site that contains a number of indexes including extracts from the Navy Lists, ship's photos & other information)
www.naval-history.net (Information on battles, actions, medals, convoys, warships, merchant ships and ship losses, including photos of lost soldiers)
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nelson (Online exhibition to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805)
www.navyrecords.org.uk (Navy Records Society: Publisher of original documents on the Royal Navy)
http://navaldockyards.moonfruit.com (Naval Dockyards Society)

Online Databases

www.findmypast.co.uk (British Royal Navy & Royal Marines Service and Pension Records, 1704-1919. Explore over 911,000 pension records, spanning over 200 years from 1704-1934, to uncover fascinating details of your relative's service with the British Royal Navy or Royal Marines. The dataset includes records from TNA series ADM 6/223-320, Registers of candidates for admission to Greenwich Hospital and registers of applications to Greenwich Hospital for admission, out-pensions or other relief, 1737-1859; ADM 22/254-443, Pay books of naval out-pensions at Greenwich Hospital, 1814-1846; ADM 73/1-69 and 95-131, Admiralty: Royal Greenwich Hospital: Pensioners and School Admission Papers, Out Pensions Pay Books and Miscellaneous Registers, 1704-1869, including general registers of pensioners and their families; WO 4/887-891, Greenwich Hospital pensions, 1846-1854; WO 22/208, Mercantile Marine: Miscellaneous returns for England, Scotland, Wales and Jersey; WO 23/24, Register of Greenwich Hospital pensions, 1868-1870)
www.findmypast.co.uk
(British Royal Navy & Royal Marines Service and Pension Records, 1704-1919. The dataset consists of an assortment of documents kept by the Greenwich Hospital and the Royal Hospital Chelsea to record the details of Greenwich Pensioners)
www.navylist.org (Naval Biographical Database: Biographical information on Royal Navy commission, warrant and yard officers extracted from a variety of sources, starting from 1660. The database also identifies volunteers who supported the Navy as well as a complete ship listing including places. Expect to find the person's name, rank, entry and discharge date, pension award, date of death and family members)
www.ancerstry.co.uk
(UK, Naval Officer and Rating Service Records, 1802-1919
British officers and ratings [non-commissioned seamen] in the Royal Navy were awarded pensions after 20 years’ service. This collection includes records that documented that service, including musters and pay registers, which were compiled by the Navy Pay Office)
TNA Online Collections (Wills of Royal Naval Seamen: A collection of around 20,000 wills made by seamen of the Royal Navy 1786-1882. TNA Online Collections is produced by The National Archives and contains online access to indexes, transcriptions and digital images of some of the TNA's most important holdings. Searches are free but a fee is levied for each downloaded item. However downloads are free if used at TNA or the Society of Genealogists)
www.forces-war-records.co.uk (Military Genealogy Forces War Records: Military records of over two million British Armed Forces personnel cross matched with over 4000 Regiments including Rolls of Honour, Crimean and Boer War Databases, Medal Rolls and Casualties Lists. The site also has a facility to access information on specific units or bases including regiments, ships, airfields)
www.navyrecordsonline.co.uk
(Navy Records Online is an online archive of miscellaneous British naval records including charts, portraits, cartoons, logs, letters, diaries, battle plans, sketchbooks, photograph albums and videos)
www.genhound.co.uk (Dartmouth Royal Naval College Staff 1928 including officers, masters and staff)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Armed forces deaths 1796-1994 and GRO Naval war deaths WWI and WWII)
www.naval-history.net (Casualty Lists of the Royal And Dominion Navies 1889-2009, researched and compiled by Don Kindell)
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/trafalgarancestors (Trafalgar Ancestors: Names and details of those that served in the Battle of Trafalgar compiled by Bruno Pappalardo)
www.ageofnelson.org/NavyList/index.html (The Complete Navy List of the Napoleonic Wars, 1793-1815: Transcribed names and details of more than 11,000 commissioned officers who served in the Royal Navy from 1787 onwards, up to those who entered the service before 1817)
www.ageofnelson.org/TrafalgarRoll/index.html (The Ayshford Trafalgar Roll: Names and details of over 21,000 seamen and marines who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805)
www.1812privateers.org/ADM26/ADM26.html (Transcripts of the ADM 26 registers which allowed ratings/sailors and not officers to remit part of their pay to a third party, usually a relative, 1795-1851)

CD Roms

Archive CD Books (1861 Census - Royal Navy at Sea & Ports Abroad)
S & N Genealogy Supplies (Royal Navy Ships at Sea and in Ports Abroad in the 1871 Census and 1901 census)
www.ageofnelson.org/NavyList/CD.html (The Complete Navy List of the Napoleonic Wars, 1793-1815: Transcribed names and details of more than 11,000 commissioned officers who served in the Royal Navy from 1787 onwards, up to those who entered the service before 1817)
www.ageofnelson.org/TrafalgarRoll/index.html (The Ayshford Trafalgar Roll: Names and details of over 21,000 seamen and marines who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805)