What can these records tell me?

Depending on the form and its origin and whether it pertained to the Royal Navy or the Royal Marines, transcripts may include the following:

  • Full name
  • Age at pension
  • Service, in years and months
  • Attestation year (the year joined)
  • Discharge year
  • When appointed/granted pension
  • Year eligible for pension
  • Discharge from pension
  • Age at death
  • Death date
  • Corps for army or number for navy/marines
  • Monthly return
  • Parish
  • County
  • Country
  • Series
  • Piece
  • Item

Images may provide additional information such as the amount of the pension being paid, next of kin, or additional remarks noted in the register. Use the previous and next arrows in the image viewer to see all the images associated with your ancestor. However, please note that blank pages have not been imaged, which is why it may appear that a right-hand image is missing when in fact it was intentionally left out.

Discover more about these records

The records in this collection relate to armed forces pensioners from the Royal Navy (seamen) and the Royal Marines (marines). Often at the end of their careers after being discharged, seamen and marines would be awarded pensions.

There are two types of pensions awarded by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines:

  • Out-pensions - Pensions awarded to veterans that were living independently
  • In-pensions - Pensions awarded to veterans living in the Royal Hospital Greenwich, which was the Navy’s care home for its veterans. Those living in the town of Greenwich referred to in-pensioners as 'Greenwich geese'.

Pensions were originally paid out of the Chatham Chest, which was a fund set up around 1590 for the sole purpose of paying pensions to disabled seamen. Contributions were deducted from members’ paychecks (sixpence per month) to finance the fund. However, in 1804, the Royal Hospital Greenwich took over responsibility for paying out pensions. Hence, ex-seamen and ex-marines in receipt of pensions were referred to as Greenwich pensioners.

Series included in these records

The National Archives series included in this collection are as follows:

  • ADM 6 / 223-320 – Registers of candidates for admission to Greenwich Hospital and registers of applications to Greenwich Hospital for admission, out-pensions or other relief, 1737-1859
  • ADM 22 / 254-443 – Pay books of naval out-pensions at Greenwich Hospital, 1814-1846
  • ADM 29 / 1-32, 34-131 – Admiralty: Royal Navy, Royal Marines, coastguard and related services: Officers’ and Ratings’ Service Records (Series II) 1802-1919
  • ADM 73 / 1-69 and 95-131 – Admiralty: Royal Greenwich Hospital: Pensioners and School Admission Papers, Out Pensions Pay Books and Miscellaneous Registers 1704-1869, including general registers of pensioners and their families.
  • WO 4 / 887-891 – Greenwich Hospital pensions 1846-1854
  • WO 22 / 208 – Mercantile Marine: Miscellaneous returns for England, Scotland, Wales and Jersey
  • WO 23 / 24 – Register of Greenwich Hospital pensions 1868-1870