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Finding out who and what was on a ship

Finding out who and what was on a ship
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Finding out who and what was on a ship

Here are the only sources of information we know about what happened to those on the ship and to details of its cargo.

Casualties and survivors

Those compiling details of wrecks and accidents were mostly concerned with the ship itself and to a lesser extent with its cargo. So they hardly ever recorded the names of those on board who were saved and who perished, although the total number on board and the number of survivors were often noted. Crew agreements may indicate which members of the crew died and which survived. Newspapers may also be a source of information about survivors.

Cargoes

Although cargoes were noted in casualty reports, details could be sketchy: `general` cargo could cover everything from shoes to sealing wax. The only detailed records of cargoes in lost ships are probably those maintained by the Salvage Association [address]. Information may be available from them, but in general they supply it only to salvors.

Cargoes of ships lost in wartime often belonged to the government, or were insured by them. Details may be available from the Department for Transport, Shipping Policy Division 4/17 [address].

Details of wrecks and their cargoes found around the UK must be reported to the Receiver of Wrecks [ address].

Finding out who and what was on a ship
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