Discover if your ancestor served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve during WWI and what campaign medals he was awarded.There are 72,264 records.

The Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve was founded in 1903 and formed of officers and other ranks who undertook naval training in their spare time. Unlike the Royal Navy Reserve they were not necessarily professional seamen. Known affectionately during the First World War as the “Wavy Navy” the RNVR was to take over from the earlier Royal Navy Artillery Volunteers, beginning with divisions in London, the Clyde and the Mersey.

Many of the men in the early days of the London division were yachtsmen. One company was made up entirely of men from the Stock Exchange. In the early months of the war many were incorporated into the Army Royal Naval Division for service ashore. Many of the initial contingent were wiped out at Antwerp. Brigaded with the Royal Marines they also served ashore in the Dardanelles and on the Western Front.

Others went to the Royal Navy where they worked on the big ships of the Grand Fleet. Some were armed guards on merchant ships and many took part in boarding parties. They also manned armed yachts and launches.

These records were transcribed and compiled by Jack Marshall.

About the World War One campaign medals

1914 Star : Authorised in April 1917 and awarded to those who served in France and Belgium between 5 August and midnight on 22/23 November 1914 or those who served on the strength of a unit. Recipients of the 1914 Star automatically qualified for the British War and Victory Medals, but were ineligible for the 1914-15 Star.

Clasp to the 1914 Star : Sanctioned by King George V in October 1919 and awarded to all who had been under fire in France or Belgium between 5 August and midnight on 22/23 November 1914.

1914-15 Star : Authorised in 1918 and awarded to those who saw active service between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915. Recipients of the 1914-15 Star automatically qualified for the British War and Victory Medals. Recipients of the 1914 Star were ineligible for the 1914-15 Star.

British War Medal : Authorised in 1919 to mark the end of the Great War and awarded to all ranks who had completed 28 days of mobilised service between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918.

Victory Medal : Authorised in 1919 to commemorate the victory of the Allies over the Central Powers. It was awarded to all who embarked on active service at sea or on land in a Theatre of Operations between midnight on 4/5 August 1914 and midnight on 11/12 November 1918. Recipients of the Victory Medal automatically qualified for the British War Medal.

Those mentioned in despatches between 4 August 1914 and 10 August 1920 were entitled to wear a bronze oak leaf emblem on the ribbon of their Victory Medal. For those mentioned in despatches but not entitled to the Victory Medal, the oak leaf emblem was worn on the ribbon of their British War Medal. For those mentioned in despatches but not entitled to either the British War or Victory Medal, the oak leaf emblem was worn on their jacket.