If you’re stuck at home and want to do something good, then the National Archives is seeking volunteers to help transcribe First World War Royal Navy service records for a free online database it is building.

Service records for the First World War can provide information about individuals and their lives. However, as crew lists for ships and submarines during this period rarely survive, it is difficult for researchers to determine who was on a ship or in a certain battle together.

Royal Navy: First World War – Lives at Sea is a fully-searchable online resource, hosted by the National Maritime Museum, which provides researchers with crew lists that have been reconstructed from transcribed service records.

The project aims to facilitate and promote new research into topics such as mortality rates, invalidity, the areas men were recruited from and the type of tradesmen enlisted.

Volunteers on the project are tasked with inputting information from service records into a database. All you need to be involved is a computer, internet connection and a willingness to learn. No prior historical knowledge or training is necessary. There is also no minimum time commitment for volunteers. Whether you can do a little or a lot, all contributions are welcome.

For more information and to register your interest, contact [email protected]

There are 400,000 service records to transcribe so they say the more volunteers the merrier.

Sailors on HMS Prince George, Malta 1917-1918 (c) National Archives

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