Naval Historical Branch


The Naval Historical Branch provides historical perspectives on current issues for Naval Staff, the Ministry of Defence and Central Government.

Admiralty Library Collection

The Admiralty Library collection has been built up over the last two hundred years. It contains at least 160,000 volumes and is possibly the best collection of naval books in the country.

The archive dates back to the founding of the Historical Section by Winston Churchill in 1914. The official repository for the Royal Navy’s Corporate Memory (including Royal Marine and RFA papers), it is made up of around 120,000 records.


Admiralty’s War Diary | World War Two | 1939

The records held in the collection include the Second World War Admiralty War Diaries.

The diaries for 1939 can be accessed in a digital format below. The accompanying essay by historian Dr Edward Hampshire of the Naval Historical Branch outlines further reading that will help people continue to explore the issues, actions and debates recorded in the War Diary.

We are presently working to publish all other diaries
and these will be available as soon as possible.

>> Scroll below to explore <<  

Middle East Operations History

Jordan/Lebanon – 1958, Kuwait - 1961

This volume includes histories of two separate crises in the Middle East: the first in 1958 across the whole region as well as north Africa, and the second in 1961 as a result of an Iraqi threat on the sovereignty of the recently independent Gulf state of Kuwait.

The War at sea

1939 - 1945

History of the second world war.

Naval Staff History: British Commonwealth Naval Operations Korea

1950 - 1953

The Korean War, fought between South Korean forces and their Allies on one side and Communist North Korean and Chinese forces on the other, was the first serious conflict of the Cold War. In its early stages the United States and its allies feared that it might herald the start of a new World War between communist and capitalist states. Described in many accounts of the Cold War as a ‘limited war’, it was only really ‘limited’ in the sense that no nuclear weapons were used, and it did not spread beyond Korea and its coastal waters. The fighting itself was often brutal and bloody, and included substantial naval forces from the very start of the conflict to the final ceasefire in 1953.