The Navy List

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The Navy List, or The Monthly Navy List is an encyclopedic publication issued on an almost unfailing monthly basis which lists the officers, ships, ports and stations and assignments of the Royal Navy.

It is an invaluable tool which provides much of our data on ship captaincies and when various men were promoted. The amount of information provided is massive and for the most part easier to read than a man's Service Record, but may not be as reliable a source of data. For instance, if a man is appointed to a ship as executive officer and later assumes command upon the departure of the original captain, his date in a Navy List afterward will show the date at which he was originally appointed to the ship and not when he assumed command of the vessel. Similarly, if a captain re-commissions his ship and is re-appointed in command, his date in an ensuing Navy List may show the date of the re-appointment, not the original date.


In 1879 the Navy List was edited by only two men, Messrs. Senior and Neale of the the Secretary's Department of the Admiralty. Neale informed the Chief Clerk that the number of errors under his joint editorship from 1874 to 1878 were, as follows:[1]

1874 772
1875 375
1876 265
1877 326
1878 259

Abbreviations, &c.

A.F. Admiral of the Fleet. L. Lieutenant.
A. Admiral. S.L. Sub-Lieutenant.
V.A. Vice-Admiral. Mid. Midshipman.
R.A. Rear-Admiral. N.C. Naval Cadet.
C. Captain. S.C. Staff Captain.
Cr. Commander. S.Cr. Staff Commander.
N.L. Navigating Lieutenant. KW. Knight of Windsor.
N.S.L. Navigating Sub-Lieutenant. GSP. Good Service Pension.
Ch.E.Ins. Chief Inspector
of Machinery.
PW. Pension for Wounds.
E.Ins. Inspector of Machinery. GHP. Greenwich Hospital Pension.
Ch.E. Chief Engineer. NP. Naval Pension, late Out-Pension of Greenwich Hospital.
E. Engineer. CGP. Coast Guard Pension.
A.E. Assistant Engineer. AdC. Aide-de-Camp to the Queen.
Ch. Chaplain. Sec. Secretary to a Flag Officer.
N.I. Naval Instructor. AO. Clerk to Secretary to Flag Officer.
I.H. Inspector-General of Hospitals
and Fleets.
Chaplains holding Civil Appointments.
D.I.H. Deputy Inspector-General of
Hospitals and Fleets.
§ Officers who have taken Holy Orders.

Our Resources

We make extensive use of Navy Lists, but most often use an incomplete electronic collection in PDF form, many of which may be found online.

Knowing which editions we have and which we lack is helpful to understand possible gaps in our knowledge and thus our ship captain lists. Those marked with an asterisk below lack the section which contains the list of officers appointed to each ship. Those in bold are ones for which we have only copied the ship/officer sections.

Year Notes
1828 977 pages, unsorted!
1834 Apr, Jul, Oct
1835 Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct
1836 Jan
1848 Jul, Oct
1850 Jan, Apr
1855 Feb, Aug ("New Navy List")
1856 Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct
1860 Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct
1863 Jan, Apr
1869 Jan, Jul
1871 Oct, Nov, Dec
1872 Jul, Aug, Sep
1873 Jan, Jul
1875 Jun, Oct
1876 Jan, Jul
1878 Jul, Oct
1881 Oct, Nov, Dec
1883 Apr, May, Jun
1884 Jul, Oct
1885 Oct, Nov, Dec
1886 Jul, Oct
1887 Jan, Apr
1888 Feb
1890 Jul
1891 Apr
1892 Mar
1894 Apr
1896 Mar
1898 Oct
1900 Jan
1901 Jan
1902 May
1903 May
1904 Oct
1905 Nov
1906 Jun
1907 Mar
1908 Jan, Jul, Oct
1909 Jul
1910 Jan
1911 Apr
1912 Oct
1913 Mar – Dec
1914 Complete
1915 Jan, Apr[2], Jul*, Oct
1916 Jan*, Apr*, Jul*, Oct[3], Dec
1917 Jan*, Apr*, Jul*, Aug, Oct*, Nov
1918 Jan*, Apr*, Jul*, Oct*, Dec
1919 missing Apr
1920 Complete
1921 Jan
1923 Jan
1924 Jul
1925 Apr
1926 Jan
1927 Jul
1928 Jan
1929 Feb
1931 Jul
1933 Jan
1934 Jul
1935 Oct
1937 Jul
1939 May – from here on, Navy Lists are fairly easy to find, but fall outside our primary scope of interest
1941 Dec
1943 Dec
1944 Apr


  1. Unbound material dated 7 March, 1879. The National Archives. ADM 1/6494.
  2. We have the Ship/Officer section as separate JPEGs. Curiously, these are paginated in some unrelated manner to the PDF.
  3. We have the Ship/Officer section as separate JPEGs.


  • Perrin, W. G. (October, 1911). "The Navy List. I.—The Forerunners of the Official Navy List". The Mariner's Mirror. I (10). pp. 257-264.
  • Perrin, W. G. (December, 1911). "The Navy List. II.—The Official Navy List and Its Competitors". The Mariner's Mirror. I (12). pp. 321-329.