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National Maritime Museum

The Royal Indian Navy (1612-1947) Association


Reference code(s): GB 0064 RIN

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: The Royal Indian Navy (1612-1947) Association

Date(s): 1750-1986

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 14 boxes, 2 folders and 8 volumes

Name of creator(s): The Royal Indian Navy (1612-1947) Association


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Royal Indian Navy's foundation dates from a squadron of ships that was sent out by the East Indies Company to the Swally, Surat on 5 September 1612, under the command of Captain Thomas Bast, to protect British trading interests from the Portuguese. Until 1686, this force was known as the Honourable East Indies Company's Marine, with headquarters initially in Surat, and then Bombay, to where the Company formally transferring its interests in 1685. From 1686 the force became known as the Bombay Marine.

On 1 May 1830, the Bombay Marine became the Indian Navy by Government Order. The Indian Navy was abolished in 1863 and the naval protection of Indian Waters was taken over by the Admiralty. From 1863-1877 the Service was again known as the Bombay Marine, and acted in a non-combatant role, trooping and laying submarine telegraph cables from Bombay to Suez, and Karachi to Basra.

In 1877 the Service was reorganised by Admiral Bythesea, NC, and became Her Majesty's Indian Marine, divided into Eastern and Western Divisions, with dockyards at Calcutta and Bombay. Its duties included: the transportation of troops and stores; maintenance of Station ships and gunboats; building, repair and maintenance of all Indian Government vessels; and marine survey. The HMIM took part in the Abyssinian War of 1871, the Egyptian campaigns 1882 and 1885, the 3rd Burmese War 1885, and the Chin-hushai Expedition in Burma 1889.

These years as a trooping/ surveying organisation earned the Service Royal recognition and in 1892 Queen Victoria authorised the name to be changed to the Royal Indian Marine. The RIM participated in the Suakin Expedition 1896, an Expedition to Mkwelo in East Africa 1897, the Boer War, the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, and a Somaliland Expedition 1902-4. From 1909-14, the RIM was engaged in the suppression of gun-running in the Persian Gulf. After extensive service in World War I, the RIM returned to trooping/ surveying duties and the Service reached its lowest ebb in 1925 as a result of the Inchcape Report. A committee, formed under the Chair of Lord Rawlinson, C-in-C, India (Rawlinson Committee), put foward proposals for reconstituting the Service on a combatant footing, and in 1928 the White Ensign was hoisted onboard all RIM ships.

On 8 September 1934, the Indian Navy (Discipline) Bill received Governor-General's assent and HM King George V conferred the title of Royal Indian Navy on the Service. In February 1939, the Chatfield Committee made recommendations for the RIN taking over increased responsibility for the naval defence of India. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, the RIN began to establish reserves - the Royal Indian Naval Reserve, recruited from serving officers in the Mercantile Marine; and the Royal Indian Naval Volunteer Reserve, recruited from the general public and given intensive training, mainly in Bombay. In addition to the ordinary Continuous Service Ratings, the RIN recruited Special Service Ratings who served for 5 years and then transferred to the Fleet Reserve for 10 years.

On 15 August 1947, the subdivision of India and Pakistan brought about division of the Navy into the Royal Pakistan and Royal Indian Navies. When India abrogated her Dominion status to become a Republic within the Commonwealth on 26 January 1950, the Navy became the Indian Navy.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Royal Indian Navy (1612-1947) Association, including papers of the Association, 1750-1986. The majority of documents relate to individual naval personnel, 1914-1947, from the RIN, RIM, RINR, RINVR and WRINS services.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The collection was presented by the Royal Indian Navy (1612-1947) Association on 23 May 1988.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Oct 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2010-08-26

British Empire | Empires | Social systems
Naval affairs | Military affairs | Military science | Social sciences

Personal names

Corporate names
Royal Indian Navy

India | South Asia