11 March 2019

Deaths at Sea on British Registered Ships

At Saturday's BIFHSGO meeting I was asked about finding information on deaths at sea. I remembered having seen such an online collection but couldn't remember where.

So I asked a friend — Google.

Findmypast has a collection: British Armed Forces and Overseas Deaths and Burials. It "brings together an extensive collection of death and burial records from The National Archives and the General Register Office. Among the records, you will find members of the British armed forces who died while serving their country overseas, British civilians who died while travelling or working overseas, and individuals, including seamen, who died at sea."

By "an extensive collection " they mean 237 sources, from ARO2 - GRO War Death Army Officers Indices (1939 to 1948) to WO 69/71 - Register of Marriages & Baptisms, C Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery. It's more than ships and more than deaths. And more than I was expecting!

  • By searching for the name of the merchant navy ship on which my father was serving when it was sunk in 1940 I found entries for the 10 people "killed by enemy action."
  • My Great Uncle is included in the GRO War Death Army Officers Indices (1914 To 1921).
  • Searching Northwood, a family name, yielded records of deaths of two Australians in a mid-air collision involving a British Airways plane in 1976 over Zagreb in GRO Death Abroad Indices (1966 To 1994).

One of the sources goes back to before 1800. This would be a good place to look for people with a British connection you've had difficulty tracing.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant John. I put in several of my family names and was shocked to receive 98 records. One of my more distant relations was killed when the famous British ship "the Hood" was sunk in 1941. Amazing. Cheers, BT

K said...

I hope I can find the source for the 1800s.