A great number of service records for seamen who joined the Royal Navy between 1853 and 1923 are now online and can be searched and downloaded at the relevant documents onlinesection of the The National Archives website. There is no charge for the initial search but a small fee applies to obtain sight of the full record.
Other Navy Records held at the National Archives include Officers’ service records (1756-1917) and wills of Royal Naval Seamen (1786-1822). – many of these records can also be searched and downloaded.
Online Navy Lists, in respect of the Royal Navy, from the collection of the National Library of Scotland on Archive.org
The Lists were initially published on a monthly basis. Currently available (at April 2012), noting that the dates on some editions are not included in the title, are
- 1913 March-December (no dates shown in titles)
- 1914 January-December
- 1915-1917 January, April, July, October
- 1918 January, April, July, December
- 1919 January-March, June-December.
- 1920 January, February-December (no dates shown in titles)
- 1921 January (no date shown in title)
- 1939 February- September, December
- 1940 February-July, October, December
- 1941 April, June, August, October
- 1942 February, April, June, August, October, December
- 1943 February, April, June, August, October, December
- 1944 February, April, June, October
- 1945 January, April, July