Think of the First World War at sea, and Jutland and a number of other big ship actions probably spring to mind.

However, the real history of the war at sea is a much richer story, incorporating not only these battles, but requisitions by the Navy, the development of new technologies, and transporting supplies to the troops on the Western Front. A few vessels even managed to continue their usual roles, seemingly relatively unscathed by the war.

At National Historic Ships UK, we maintain the National Register of Historic Vessels, which lists over 1,200 vessels more than 50 years old that are still afloat or preserved today) there are over 60 ships which took some part in the First World War. Each of them has a story to tell.

This website is dedicated to telling the stories of these veterans. We should not forget the enormous debt we owe to those who served, in whatever capacity.

There are three ways you can navigate the website:

  • The Vessels
    At the start of this project we are highlighting 60 still-surviving vessels that were involved in the First World War. You can browse the full list on the Vessels page and find the stories about each of them.
  • Map of the World
    The map shows the vessels at the location of their main story. Click on a pin to bring up the story of the vessel’s role in the war.
  • First World War Timeline
    Here we place the vessels in the wider context of the war, so you can see what was happening around each vessel’s stories.

Do you know of stories about any the vessels in the First World War on this website? Do you have photographs you’d like to share? If so, please get in touch and we can make the site an even richer resource for telling this largely untold aspect of the War.

Contact us at:

or at:
National Historic Ships
Park Row
London SE10 9NF
Tel. 020 8312 8558