Merchant Navy Discharge Books

Published: 22nd March 2015

A plea in Coontin Kin No. 35 Simmer 2000 asking seamen and women to allow information from their Discharge Books to be copied and retained by the Society for research by future generations has resulted in almost 1000 responses. To date, books have come from local Shetlanders, from other parts of the U.K. and also from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Copying was done firstly by the books being handed in to the Society for photocopying and then returned to the owner, and latterly by laptop and scanning at an agreed location. This is now the favoured option, avoiding the need for paper copies as, after a working life at sea, there may be up to four books, paper discharges and certificates for qualifications. A book or books scanned on to a disk is acceptable and saves postage. If the original books are sent to the Society they are copied and returned to the owner as soon as possible, with postage refunded.

A copy of the transcriptions to date is available to view on the SFHS. computers at 6 Hillhead, Lerwick. This is a valuable research tool so the Society, along with the local Merchant Navy Association, would hope that more books might be forthcoming to swell the numbers already transcribed by our dedicated team of Capt. George Sutherland, Member No. 1550, Bruce Benson Member No. 610, and Michael Jamieson, Member No. 737,