Naval History Homepage and Site Search

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1. How the Ship Histories homepage looks

2. Examples of edited Ship Histories - HMS Eclipse, HMS Eskimo, HMS Gloucester, HMS Kennet, HMS Knight Templar, HMS Newcastle, HMS Parramatta, HMS Pegasus, HMS Saxon, HMS Snipe - there is no one ideal way

3. Transcribed and Edited versions compared - HMS Eclipse, HMS Eskimo, HMS Gloucester, HMS Saxon, HMS Snipe - an idea of the work involved

4. Editing Guidelines (below) - based on experience to date


Click here for the latest Editing Guidelines


To make the sets of log book scans available as Ship Histories to naval and family historians together with the transcribed information or 'events', suitably edited.


Minimum transcribed information should normally be Date and Location (From/To or At).

Editors can, if they wish, add other significant events from the scans - ships encountered, port and anchorage arrivals and departures, personnel coming and going, action and battle details, and from time to time, descriptions of shipboard and voyage routines, sick lists etc.




  1. Check the status of the ship histories - edited, formatted, or to be formatted.
  2. Select a ship you would like to work on - click for brief details and image of each ship. The WORD files range from 225Kb to around 2,500Kb. Editing each ship can take a few hours up to many days.
  3. Let the Old Weather Editing Team know which ship you would like to edit, and the formatted WORD file will be emailed to you. Formatting means the log page links have been activated, dates edited, and month and year headings added. A quick check has been made to ensure the log pages are in date order, but this should not be assumed.
  4. There are groups of links, sometimes at the start of each month, sometimes at the end (and also in the middle). You can, if you wish, open these, and assign the first two categories to the beginning or end of the appropriate months; also delete any blank or repeated pages.
  5. For each day within the month:

    1. Remove any location duplications (From/To or At) and check spelling if necessary.
    2. Delete duplicated events (up to six volunteers may have entered information), check transcription and spelling, add the time with am or pm if necessary, and arrange events in time order. The original headings - Place: Sighted: Ship: Met: Other: etc can be removed at this stage. To save time, use "find and replace".
    3. It is up to you if you want to add any more information from the scans - ships encountered and the result, port or anchorage arrivals and departures, personnel coming and going, action and battle details, and from time to time, a description of shipboard and voyage routines, sick lists etc.
  6. Again, if in doubt, you can always check edited ship histories listed on the homepage.

  7. When editing is completed, the Ship History will be updated and credited to the Editor(s). Editor(s) might even go further and consider publishing the information in book form, including e-books.
  8. Once completed, you can always select another ship to work on.

Based on experience too date and in no particular order:

Some of the abbreviations used: ' - miles; "anchor shape" - anchored; a/c - altered course; as reqte - as requisite; as reqd - as required; brg - bearing; cos or co & spd - course and speed; incd or Incr - increased; recd - received; red - reduced.

Perhaps add the occasional personal observation - Another day swinging round an anchor in Scapa Flow, Orkneys in February.

Possibly follow editing with proof-reading.

Include as much as you want from the logs to build a story that interests you.

You will need to have or acquire some knowledge of naval terminology e.g. "Commenced as reqd for chasing AE1" should have read "Course & speed as reqd for closing AE1".

If the ship is continually at sea, it can be helpful to add the True Bearing and Distance at noon.

You may have to check the spelling of some locations, ships, naval equipment - Google often helps, but in some cases, old maps, charts and atlases, Seamanship Manuals etc. might be useful. If in doubt, make a best guess and add (?).

Some days may have two log book scans e.g. one with Notes pasted on to the page. In other cases, one log page may cover two or even more days. When the ship is out of commission, the log books often cease.

With the largest files - you might want to share the work with other editors.

By working on the same ship, you get used to the writing in the log book.

Use 12 hour clock specifying am or pm.

If the time is not given for an event, you can read off 'am' or 'pm' from the left column of the log page.

If you happen to know or find out the type or class of ship that is encountered, a particularly obscure location, what a strange piece of equipment is used for, don't waste it. Add the information in brackets. The same goes for links to relates sites and books.

You will sometimes find transcribed information that does not make sense, and cannot be found in the log book scan e.g. Visited Roman Catholic Church - while in the middle of the Atlantic!

The Old Weather forum can be used to share other editing experiences like this.

Thank you and Good Luck.

Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net and the Old Weather Team