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The Royal Marines Museum depicts the history of the Royal Marines from 1664 to present day through personal stories of war, battle and endurance.

It does this through its unique collection of artefacts, pictures and documents.

One of the most outstanding collections is the medal collection consisting of over 8000 items including gallantry, campaign and foreign awards. Over 80% of this can be seen on display in the Medal Room. The Museum also has a notable paintings collection some of which can be seen hanging in the Minstrel’s gallery.  Explore this collection further by checking out the oil paintings catalogue online. You can also discover other areas of the collection through the Museum’s online exhibitions. Finally, visit our library and archive page to learn more about the Museum’s document collection.

Most of the Museum’s collections have been generously donated by the public or serving and former Royal Marines. This has created a strong emphasis on individuals and their stories. If you are interested in researching your own family’s stories please make sure to view our family history page.

The Museum is continually expanding its collections to ensure we display a well-rounded and engaging picture of the Royal Marines. Please feel free to contact us if you have an original or unique item, document or photograph you would like to donate. Lastly, stay up to date with the latest Royal Marines stories through our blog.

Researching your Family and Royal Marines

The Royal Marines Museum places a strong emphasis on personal stories and aims to enable individuals to discover more about their own family’s stories and history. The best place to start the search for a Royal Marine in your family is to find their service papers. See the guide sheet below on how you can locate these documents. Once you’ve obtained these papers, make sure to have a look at the other guide sheets and recommended books listed below to help you decipher these documents.

 Guide Sheets:

How to Find a Service Record (Downloadable PDF)

Common Abbreviations found in Service Records (Downloadable PDF)

Deciphering a Second World War Service Record (Downloadable PDF)

Recommended Books:

Some of these are available from our bookshop for purchase:
Tracing your Royal Marine Ancestors by Richard Brooks & Matthew Little (Pen & Sword Books Ltd, ISBN 978-1844158690, 2008).
A Short History of the Royal Marines (Royal Marines Historical Society, 2013).
Britain’s Sea Soldiers (two volumes)by Colonel Cyril Field RMLI (Lyceum Press: Liverpool 1924). These volumes cover Marines history up to 1913.
Britain’s Sea Soldiers, volume 3: A record of the Royal Marines during the war 1914-1919 by Sir Herbert Edward Blumberg (Swiss & Co., Devonport, 1927).
The Royal Marine Artillery 1804-1923 (two volumes)by Edward Fraser & L.G. Carr-Laughton (London, Royal United Service Institution, 1930).
By Sea By Land by James D. Ladd (Harper Collins, ISBN 0 00472366 X, 1998). Covers Royal Marines history from 1919 to 1997.

Other Resources:


Still have questions? Make sure to attend one of our ‘Open Wednesday with the Curators’ or make an enquiry.



How to make an enquiry?

The Royal Marines Museum aims to enable individuals’ research, however we are unable to complete research on behalf of individuals. Please ensure that you have had a look at the family history page and library & archive page before submitting an enquiry.

Please note that the Museum does not take enquiries in person or over the phone. However, please feel free to attend one of our ‘Open Wednesdays with the Curators where we’d be more than happy to answer your questions.

You must have a confirmed appointment in order to visit the library and archive, or to speak to a Curator. The Museum requires at least 2 weeks notice in advance of an intended archive or library appointment. Preferred appointment time cannot be guaranteed, and general Museum admission will be charged.

Please allow at least 1 month for a response to your enquiry. Also, note that the Museum only allots a maximum of 30 minutes to answering each enquiry. A general charge may also be requested if the enquiry is judged to be extensive, or if material needs to be reproduced.


National Museum of the Royal Navy Photographic Enquiries

Photographic enquiries for the National Museum of the Royal Navy, which relate to the Surface Fleet, Submarine service and Royal Marines are now all being dealt with through a single access point.  There are variations in the level of cataloguing and digitisation of these collections, which will impact both access to, and reproduction of, parts of these collections.

In many cases enquirers will be required to visit in order to view and select material.  In all cases any Copyright restrictions may also affect the copying and reproduction of some material.  As a result of these factors it will not be possible to service all photographic enquiries.

Staffing of these collections is affected by operational demands, which include exhibitions, publications and marketing.  This is in addition to long term cataloguing and digitisation work by both staff and volunteers, which will further improve access and use of these collections in the future.

Some material from the NMRN collections is available to order from the Print on Demand catalogue which is being added to when time permits:

The contact point for all further photographic enquiries, until further notice, will be as follows:


Enquiries may also be submitted in writing.  We are unable to service any photographic enquiries by telephone.


Use the form below to contact one or our curators:

Required *


What's In the Museum Archive?


The Royal Marines Museum Archive contains approximately a million and a half documents. These range from personal accounts, letters, and diaries, to training manuals, maps, posters, and sound recordings. Most of the material has entered the collection through donations by current and former Royal Marines and their families. The archive does hold some official documents, but the majority of these are held by the National Archives since it is the principle repository for the military records in the United Kingdom.
The Museum also has an extensive Library which holds many publications relating to Royal Marines, campaigns, uniforms, and related naval and army history. It is also one of the few institutions which hold a full run of the Royal Marines journal the Globe & Laurel.
Should you wish to view any of this material please make an appointment through the make an enquiry form within the Make an Enquiry tab. Alternatively, feel free to attend one of our ‘Open Wednesday’s with the Curators’ 
You must have a confirmed appointment in order to visit the library and archive. The Museum requires at least 2 weeks notice in advance of an intended archive or library appointment. Preferred appointment time cannot be guaranteed, and general Museum admission will be charged.



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Royal Marines Museum, Eastney Esplanade, Southsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO4 9PX
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