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Navy records

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John Report 30 Mar 2019 21:09

Does anyone have access to navy records? We're trying to put into order the navy service of our late father, Jack Clough, born August 1925, Rochdale (Wardle). He joined the RN in ?1945. We know he crossed the Atlantic as peace in Europe was declared, and believe he crossed the Pacific as peace in the Far East was declared. He was at Hiroshima, Vancouver, New York, China, and at one stage was on HMS Belfast. But we don't know the sequence, dates etc. Any help would be really appreciated.


KathleenBell Report 30 Mar 2019 23:22

Service records from after around 1920 are still with the MOD and are not online.

Have a look here to see how to access them (they will cost £30 and could take several months to arrive):-

Kath. x


ErikaH Report 31 Mar 2019 12:06

I think you will find that Naval personnel are handed their records when leaving, so it may be that no records are available.

Google HMS Belfast to find out where she was - and when. She fired some of the first shots on D-Day, whch was, of course, before your father's time in the Service.


PatinCyprus Report 31 Mar 2019 12:59

This link confirms where you will find naval records


John Report 31 Mar 2019 15:24

Thanks for the replies, which have clarified the situation for us. We'll try the naval records. We do have his signing on papers, but nothing else, but that should be a good start.


Andysmum Report 13 Apr 2019 16:56

I have been away on holiday, without internet access, so have only just read this post.

OH served in HMS Belfast on her last major commission, and has several books about her. I can tell you roughly where she was from the end of the war until she became a museum in the Thames, if you are interested. Unfortunately, none of the books has a list of personnel. Not surprising, as there were 700 men on board and they changed every 2-3 years!!

Regarding personnel records - only officers were given them on leaving the service. For ratings, you have to apply, as explained above.

Good luck! :-)


John Report 20 Apr 2019 18:54

Hi, Andy's mum, thanks for the info, and sorry about the delayed reply - I've only just seen it. Your reply is very thoughtful, and if you could let me know her voyages for the first 2 years after the war I would be extremely grateful (my dad left the Navy in 1947). Thanks also for clarifying the position with records for officers and other ranks; dad was a petty officer (radio operator). Do you know if that means he was classified as an officer as far as issue of records was concerned?
Once again thanks for your thoughtfulness, and kind regards


ArgyllGran Report 20 Apr 2019 21:38

Some info about her post-war movements here:

though not details of individual voyages.


John Report 21 Apr 2019 13:24

Hi, ArgyllGran

thanks for the info - that's very kind. I've also found a detailed account of her movements in 1946/1947 from the journal of Midshipman J D Gresson (RNZN) on the following link:-


Andysmum Report 21 Apr 2019 15:48

Hi John, to answer the second question first - a Petty Officer is a senior rating, so his records will still be with the MOD. As his next-of kin you should have no trouble getting them.

For Belfast's movements after the war, I quote,

"After the war's end Belfast still managed to do sterling work in helping to evacuate the unfortunate emaciated survivors of the Japanese prisoner of war and civilian internment camps in Shanghai. In September 1945 the officers and men organised a party for the children in the camps. The most popular item on the menu was chocolate, which most of the children had never tasted before; the men even searched their lockers and every last piece of chocolate was consumed. Belfast continued on peacekeeping duties until the autumn of 1947, when she returned home for a well-earned rest and refit."

"Peacekeeping duties" probably means cruising around the area generally (China, Japan, Indonesia etc.) visiting major ports, and showing the flag to indicate that the Royal Navy was still a force to be reckoned with!!

It doesn't say which way she returned home, but probably across the Indian Ocean, round South Africa and up the Atlantic.

Good luck with the rest of your research.


John Report 21 Apr 2019 16:10

Hi, Andy's mum
Thanks for the reply, and the work you've done for it. I've now got some really good info about HMS Belfast for the years in question; hopefully I can cross reference this with dad's military record and put together a good history

Thanks once again