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MSF Rev Page of A GUIDE TO RESEARCHING LOG

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A GUIDE TO RESEARCHING LOG BOOKS AND CREW AGREEMENTS
The documents for the years 1939 to 1946 are held at The Public Record Office, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU in their classification BT 381 the official title is Board of Trade: Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen: Log Books and Crew Agreements 1939 – 1946.

HOW THE WW 2 LOG BOOKS AND CREW AGREEMENTS ARE ARRANGED
The official logbooks and crew agreements are arranged in year order. That means that a crew agreement and logbook opened in 1939 that ran into the following year would be found in 1940. Within each year the individual official logbooks and crew agreements are held in numerical order of official ship’s numbers. If you do not know the official number of the ship, these numbers can be found in the Lloyds Shipping Registers for any given year, which appear as the smaller second number next to the Lloyds entries. These numbers can also be obtained from another source within the Public Records Office namely BT 385 INDEX CARDS FOR SHIPS OFFICIAL LOG BOOKS AND CREW AGREEMENTS , these cards recorded the official logbooks and crew agreements received at the registry of shipping, giving the name and official number of the ship and details regarding the range of dates the log books covered. Before undertaking any search within BT 381 it is advisable to check these cards to establish if the official logbooks and crew agreements exist for the year/s that you are researching and if it has been received by the Registry.

OFFICIAL LOG BOOKS These documents were created under the provisions of the 1894 Merchant Shipping Act for use on UK registered ships only. Sections 239 to 244 of this act deal with the specific requirements of maintaining these records. Logbooks were maintained for the whole life of a ship, from when it was first registered to the end of its last voyage. The length of time that each logbook lasted varied from ship to ship. Some lasted approx. six months, others over a year. The Act did not specify a length of time, which MSF 5330 Rev 5/02

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was left to the discretion of the Master. Many of these are the 66 page standard logbooks that were for use on Foreign-going Ships or Home Trade Ships. These were issued by the Board of Trade THE FRONT COVER The front cover includes: 1 The name of the ship 2 Official Number (This will usually be a five or six figure number i.e.: 165916.) This is the official number allocated to a ship at the Registry of Shipping. Do not confuse it with the Lloyds shipping number or the ship call sign. 3. Port of Registry 4. Registered Tonnage Gross & Net 5. Name of Master 6. Number of Master’s Certificate 7. Nature of the voyages or employment 8. Date voyage commenced 9. Port at which voyages commenced 10. Date voyage terminated 11. Port at which voyage terminated (The events inside the logbook would cover these specific dates only). 12. Date at which logbook was received by a Marine Office in the UK, this also specifies which office i.e. Glasgow 13. Red & Black stamp indicating that the logbook contains details of a death at sea, or alternately a black stamp-indicating document did not include details of a death. These read as follows: “This Log contains an entry of a Birth or Death” & “For entry of Birth or Death see page....”, “To be Preserved (Death)”, “This Log contains no entry of Birth or Death” CONTENTS OF A LOG BOOK Pages 1 to 12. LIST OF CREW AND A REPORT OF CHARACTER Each member of the crew is listed next to a pre-printed number; these numbers also correspond to the numbers in the “Agreements & List of the Crew” (Forms ENG. 1). These are attached to each logbook and cover the same dates. NB: Sometimes there are slight differences between these two listings, simply due to human errors. If the numbers do not correspond exactly, examine the whole page of the crew agreement to match the entries to those in the logbook. These pages include the following information: Name and Surname of each Member of Crew Capacity in which engaged. Report of Character for Ability and General Conduct. If there is any entry in the official logbook relating to a member of crew, the number of the page or pages where the entry is to be found, i.e.: J Smith Page 14 PAGES 13 TO 15 MARRIAGES, BIRTHS AND DEATHS All marriages that took place on the ship are recorded and include the following information:

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Date when married Names and Surnames of both Parties Age Whether Single, Widow or Widower Profession or Occupation Father’s Name and Surname Profession or Occupation of Father All births that took place on the ship are recorded and include the following information: Date of Birth Name (if any) of Child NB. This is sometimes not recorded and given at a later date Sex Name and Surname of F ather Rank, Profession or Occupation of Father Name and surname of Mother Maiden Surname of Mother Details of Father, Nationality (stating Birthplace), Last place of Abode Details of Mother, Nationality (stating Birthplace) Last place of Abode Signature of both Father and Mother Port at which Report is made and Signature and Title of Officer to whom reported RELATED RECORDS AT THE PRO BT 341 INQUIRIES INTO DEATHS AT SEA, PAPERS AND REPORTS 1939 TO 1946 BT 334 REGISTERS AND INDEXES OF BIRTHS, DEATHS AND MARRIAGES AT SEA PAGES 16, 17,18, 19 & 20. Record of Drills (Boat Drills, etc), Muster and examination of Live Saving Appliances as required by the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1932. PAGES 21,22,23 & 24 Record of inspections of crew accommodation (Paragraph 30 of the Board of Trade Instructions as to the survey of Master’s and Crew Spaces, 1937) PAGE 25 1. EMPLOYMENT OF LASCARS Lascars are defined in the logbook as Asiatic and East Africans employed under Agreements for Natives of Asia or East Africa, which open and terminate in Asia The details for recording the employment of Lascar seamen are defined and the Master’s requirements are listed. The legislation and various technicalities explaining what the Master was required to record in the following Notice of Freeboard sections are also explained on this page. 2. FEES Fees for services rendered by Consular Offices are listed on this page. HM Consuls were required to make the statutory examination for provisions of water and for examination

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of logbooks affixing Consular Seal etc. Consular Fee stamps were affixed to the rear of the crew agreements.

3. NOTICES OF FREEBOARD PAGES 26, 27, 28 & 29
This is the common term for the pages that are officially known as Dates of Departure and Arrival at Each Dock, Wharf, Harbour or other Places with the Draught of Water and Freeboard. These pages list the date and Hour of Departure that the ship left the various ports. NB: In some cases this information is not recorded. This was due to the Admiralty restrictions of World War 2, that instructed Masters of ships not to record this information in case the logbook fell into enemy hands. If this information is missing this can be obtained from separate records known as “Ships movement Cards” that cover the years 1939 to 1945 that are held at the Registry of Shipping.

4. PAGES 30, 31, 32 & 33 WIRELESS TELEGRAPH RECORD Routine record of use of the wireless aboard the vessel
5. THE NARRATIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VOYAGE PAGES 34 ONWARD TO END OF BOOK This section records the date, time and place of the occurrence or situation by Latitude and Longitude at Sea and brief details of the event. It is completed by the Master or First Mate of the ship and deal with the day to day events that occur during the course of a voyage. Mostly the section records illness amongst the crew, breeches of discipline and relevant fines.

AGREEMENTS AND LIST OF THE CREW FOREIGN GOING SHIP The official number of these forms was ENG 1 and they were issued by the Board of Trade. The Term Foreign-going is defined as: “a ship employed in trading or going between some place or places in the United Kingdom and some place or places situated beyond the following limits: the coasts of the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and the continent of Europe between River Elbe and Brest inclusive, For this purpose the term “United Kingdom” is construed as including the Irish Free State”. FRONT PAGE 1 & PAGE 2 Contains the following information 1 Name of ship. This will either be pre-fixed by S.S. *(Steamship) or M.S. (Motor Ship) 2 Official number 3 Port of registry 4 Port number and date of register

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5 Registered Tonnage, Gross and Net 6 Registered Managing Owner or Manager including name and address 7 date of commencement of voyage 8 Port at which voyage commenced 9 Date and port at which the voyage terminated NB The crew agreement is usually attached to the logbook and the dates will correspond to those included on the cover of this document. There are however some slight variations, especially on the larger ships as several crew agreements could be opened at various times. The front cover lists the rules and requirements to which members of the crew were subject. Additional Clauses are also included in the front cover these include: bed & bedding allocations and allowances pensions information regarding the “Merchant Navy Officers and Pension Fund”, hours of duty/labour, notices of compensation and seafarers’ war risk money. PAGE THREE Provides the ship “Scales of Provisions”, that is the food allocation to which each member of crew was entitled. Very often the legislation ruling the ships provisions was included in (pasted into) the crew agreement, these are the Statutory Rules and Orders 1939 No 1859 Merchant Seamen’s Shipping Provisions. PAGE FOUR Lists the Regulations for maintaining discipline. The various fines for offences are listed on this page. PAGE FIVE Lists young persons under 18 years of age, and account for all apprentices employed on board during the voyage. NB. Although listed on these pages those listed also appear in the main crew agreement. PAGES SIX AND SEVEN & FOLLOWING PAGES TO SEVENTEEN The information contained on these pages is as follows: Number on Crew Agreement NB this should correspond with the number at the beginning of the official
logbook which also lists individual seamen. Sometimes however due to clerical the seaman may not have the same number that appears on the logbook. Signature of Crew and Numbers of Discharge Book. Age. Birthplace

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Home address. NB. The Home Address is the one to which communications would be made in the event of the death of the seaman. Name of the last Ship, with Official no. or port of Registry and year of discharge if more than a year previously. NB. Mostly only the name of the ship is given in this section Date and Place of signing this agreement.

In what Capacity engaged. Number of Certificate (if any) and No. of Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) Commission Date and hour that seaman is to be on board Amount of Wages advanced upon or at the time of engagement Amount of weekly, half monthly or monthly Allotment Signature or initials of Official before whom the seaman is engaged Particulars of Discharge Date, Place and Cause of leaving this ship Balance of wages paid on discharge. Release signature. These pages are of most use to researchers; they provide the name, date and place of birth of a seaman, that can lead back to a local registrar’s office. The last ship is also listed therefore the preceding ship’s logbooks could be examined. RELATED RECORDS Information was taken from these documents and formed the basis of the Fifth register of Seaman’s service held at the Public Record Office in BT 382. PAGES EIGHTEEN TO TWENTY THREE Consular Officers used these pages as a record of Fees Chargeable. When docking at a foreign port the Master of the ship often had to contact the local H.M. British Consul i.e. He may have had to hand in a Return of Birth of Death. The Consul officials charged fees for this service, using their official stamp on the log book, and issuing consular service stamps when any monetary transaction took place between the Master of a ship and the Consul. These pages are sometimes of use when the ports of call have not been recorded in the official logbooks due to Admiralty instruction, as these do give some indication of the itinerary.
WHAT OTHER RECORDS ARE HELD IN BT 381 LOG BOOKS FROM SMALLER SHIPS

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The official number of these documents is D & 0 7. These documents are blue in colour and hold fewer pages than those of larger official logbooks and crew agreements Official logbooks and crew agreements for ships of less than 80 tons registered exclusively employed upon the coast of the United Kingdom and Eire. Commonly known as “Home Trade” vessels. These are a different type of document being a combination of both the official logbooks and crew agreements in one. These documents contain the following information. First Page: Details of ship, including name, official number, port of registry, owner’s date of commencement and termination of voyage. Pages Two & Three: List of Crew that records the Name of the Master and the other members of the Crew, Year of Birth, Nationality, Last Ship in which the seaman served, year of service in last ship, date and place of joining the ship during the half-year. Grade/Rank, Number of Certificate, Date, Place and Cause of leaving the ship. Register of Young Persons under the Age of 18 and Account of Apprentices on Board, Particulars of all Births and deaths that occurred on the ship. Pages Four and Seven: Notice of Freeboard Pages that include a list of all ports. Page Eight: Narrative section of the logbook listing dates and places of occurrences and entry Page Nine: Crew Inspections. There are several versions of this form however they mainly contain the same basic information listed above. DOCUMENTS FROM SHIPS LOST AT SEA When an UK ship was lost at sea the official logbooks and crew agreements from that voyage were often also lost at the same time. In these circumstances, two documents were forwarded to the registry of shipping for the purposes of registering the deaths at sea and other details concerning the loss. LIST C. & D. (CASUALTIES AND DEATHS FORMS). Using a copy of the original crew list, the owners of the ship would list those members of crew who lost their lives when the ship sunk and also what happened to the surviving members of the crew. Very often a date and location of where the seaman was discharged on arriving back in the UK or other locations are recorded. The format of this document resembles the crew list from where this information was extracted

OFFICE COPY OF THE AGREEMENT AND LIST OF CREW
These forms are exact copies of the ENG 1 forms mentioned previously . They differ only in that these were completed in port before the ship sailed. These are all printed in red ink.

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When the ship was sunk these documents then proved to be of vital importance to the registration of the deaths that occurred on the ship, providing the registrars with all the necessary documentation to register deaths at sea. ACCOUNT OF CHANGES IN THE CREW OF A FOREIGN-GOING SHIP Forms known as ENG. 2. These forms recorded all crew who had joined, left or died aboard the ship since the original crew agreement had been completed. Please note that these details will not appear in the main crew agreement.

MISC PAPERS Very often additional papers are attached to the above documents; these comprise of telegraph messages concerning the loss, list of passengers not included in the crew list and other interesting papers. Later enquiries from the Next of kin and other authorities regarding the loss are sometimes attached. RELATED RECORDS Registers of Birth, Marriages and Death at Sea 1891 to 1964. Held at the Public Records office in their classification BT 334. The information from the above documents was used to register the death aboard the ships and these details are included in the registers. REGISTRY OF SHIPPING & SEAMEN MARCH 2002


				
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