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Service number

Service number

Posted: 4 May 2013 10:20PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 6 May 2013 3:22PM GMT
Hi, Quite a newbie to the family tree research but finding it very interesting and addictive so far.
Trying to find a Great Grand father, who was in the Navy 1912-1921 when he died at aged 37.'due to illness'. I have his Service Number but it doesn't seem to be recognised in any searches. Does the category 'Military include all the Armed Forces?. I would have thought a Service number was unique to the person?

Re: Service number

Posted: 5 May 2013 8:02PM GMT
Classification: Query
You might like to see the attached website explaining how navy numbers evolved. The correct term by 1912 is 'Official number', but I doubt that is really material here.

As with anything associated with genealogy, it is not as simple as you might hope.

Ancestry has both navy and army records in it.

The site below says the navy used 6 digit numbers from 1894, adding a letter prefix in 1908. So, presumably your number should be a letter followed by 6 numbers.

The army tended to use 4 or 5 digit regimental numbers which could be repeated many times across different regiments. In 1917 the Territorials introduced a 6 digit number, without the letter prefix used by the navy.

So, it depends if you have the prefix letter or not. If you do not have a prefix letter, there could be the same number used in the Territorials.

However, the record that comes up SHOULD clearly show if the person shown is navy or army. Once the record is looked at, it should not be in doubt. I am not sure if navy records were included in the losses caused by the blitz.

I suggest trying the search in variable ways, ie, adding or subtracting the various prefixes.

You might be able to determine his role by reference to the website.

Re: Service number

Posted: 12 May 2013 1:34AM GMT
Classification: Query
It would have helped to have his name but you should find his record online at

WWI medals roll for RN are not on Ancestry but in document series ADM 171 at the National Archives, the roll is divided alphabetically by surname groups and each section is available to download free of charge - search discovery on above site for ADM 171

Re: Service number

Posted: 22 Nov 2013 2:33AM GMT
Classification: Query
You don't state which "Navy"...UK, US, Russian?

Individual Military service records are not Public Records, you have to request copies from the National Archives of the Country he served. Other gave you UK, this is US....

Now the U.S Navy only started "service numbers" in 1920 after WWI.

Having the service number helps with identify the correct records should there be one than one person with the name you are requesting.

Also all genealogy sites use names to search, not numbers, again the service number, if on a military record with name can help in identifying the found result as your ancestor.
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