These are records of the issuing of the British War Medal, the Mercantile Marine Medal and the Silver War Badge to merchant seamen and officers in the First World War. They consist of over 155,000 index cards (catalog references BT 351/1) and, for the Silver War Badge, a list of recipients (catalog reference MT 9/1404).
The CLIP site provides information and data about the records of British merchant seafarers, mainly from 1863 to 1913. Even after twenty years of work by ourselves and others, the millions of entries transcribed are only a small sample of the huge volume of crew documents scattered across many archives. This site is designed to help you to find records of a merchant seafarer, either from our data, or from other data sites, or by helping you find the original documents so that you can order copies.
The site also provides information and data about the records of British merchant shipping with records of every British registered ship from 1855 to the 1950s – all 200,000 of them. The data is focused on tracking down crew lists, but we provide other resources, such as indexed images of the Mercantile Navy List, as well as a comprehensive set of links to other sites.
In 2012, the National Archives and the National Maritime Museum began a project using volunteers to transcribe and make available online, all the surviving Merchant Navy crew lists from 1915. We would also like to acknowledge the significant contribution of Jan and Pete Owens at the Crew List Index Project without whose technical support and help this database would not have been possible.
As there are no records for individual merchant seafarers from this period, these records are of international significance in highlighting the vital contribution made by the Merchant Navy during the First World War. They are also of great value to family historians, as one of the few sources of information about seafaring ancestors active in 1915.
Despite their acknowledged sacrifice, those New Zealanders who were employed in the Mercantile Marine, on ships owned by companies such as Union Steamship Company and New Zealand Shipping Company, continue to be omitted from this nation’s memory of WWI.
Those who made the ultimate sacrifice rarely feature on the WWI memorials of their local towns and cities in New Zealand. Their names did not appear on the 2018 Armistice Centenary Field of Remembrance on New Zealand’s Auckland Domain, despite receiving the same British War Medal as those of the armed forces.
The New Zealand Mercantile Marine casualties are remembered here, some of them were no more than children. All of them are heroes.