Detail from The Watch Ashore page

The Watch Ashore

Background to the Collection

The Watch Ashore was formed in 1933 so that the wives and mothers of officers in the Merchant Navy could assist in work to improve conditions at a time of intense depression within the British shipping industry. Various branches throughout Britain provided a useful social service where members were able to meet others who shared the loneliness and special responsibilities that resulted in having husbands, fathers and sons away for long periods.

There are a number of branches still in operation, who continue to take part in charity fund raising, outings and activities. Also, representatives on various Merchant Navy Welfare Boards are involved in the Seafarers Link, a phone service for retired seafarers.

What is in the collection?

Material in this collection (ref U DWA) covers the period 1933-2010. Records include minutes, correspondence, photographs and papers.

Records relate to the national organisation, and include some material relating to a number of regional branches.

What areas of research would the collection support?

The collection could be used for research into seafaring charity work during the 20th century. It could also be used to construct a history of the organisation.

Are there any access issues?

Some files within this collection are closed to protect the sensitive data of persons mentioned within the records. Please see individual catalogue descriptions for further details.

Is there any related material?

Related material can be found in the following collections:

  • Mission to Seafarers [U DMS]

  • Apostleship of the Sea [U DAPS]. 

Please also see our Politics and Campaigning page for further guidance on our political collections.

See the online catalogue description