HMS Collingwood

Welcome to Hostilities Only

Hostilities Only is the story of my father Robert Brooks’ time as a Hostilities Only rating in the Royal Navy during World War 2. Over one million people (923,000 men and 86,000 women) served in the Royal Navy during that War. Thousands of men and women enlisted after a recruitment campaign to help meet the threat of maritime Germany.

Volunteers came from all walks of life and most had no experience of living at sea. Yet after intense training, these recruits would play a vital role for the duration of the war. Hostilities Only sailors became a navy within a navy. Fighting in all the maritime theatres of war, the Royal Navy gave them nicknames: ‘Churchill’s Pirates’ and ‘Harry Tate’s Navy’. Many were killed or presumed missing in action.

Theirs is one of the great untold stories of the Second World War. Hostilities Only isn’t just a record of my father’s service, it commemorates all those who lost their lives at sea.


The Payment and Victualing Ledger (pdf 413KB) provided the framework for my Father’s service record from 13th October 1941 to 14th April 1946. The Service Record (pdf 603KB) covered his training at HMS Collingwood, posting to HMS Europa (The Sparrows Nest) and the first draft to HMT Southcoates.

For records of officers and ratings who saw service from 1939 (including ‘Hostilities Only’ service in the Second World War and Korea), write to:

Directorate of Naval Pay and Pensions,
NPP(Acs)1E Centurion Building,
Grange Road,
PO13 9XA
Tel. 023 9270 2174

Enquiries must be sent in writing. It is stated that they only accept enquiries from next-of-kin or first-generation descendants and these record archives charge a search fee (currently £25).

The Payment and Victualing Ledger

HMT SouthcoatesOrdinary Signalman13 October 194120 January 1942
HMS EuropaOrdinary Signalman21 January 194219 March 1942
HMS Western IslesOrdinary Signalman20 March 194221 April 1942
HMS Western IslesSignalman22 April 194222 April 1942
HMT TranquilSignalman23 April 194229 April 1942
HMS StronsaySignalman30 April 19422 May 1942
HMS Fairy KnoweSignalman3 May 194212 May 1942
HMS Western IslesSignalman13 May 194217 June 1942
HMS Fairy KnoweSignalman18 June 194225 July 1942
HMT WindermereSignalman28 July 194210 Oct 1943
HMS EuropaSignalman11 Oct 194326 Nov 1943
HMT BeaverSignalman27 Nov 194328 Nov 1943
HMT EphrataSignalman29 Nov 194321 Jun 1944
HMT EuropaSignalman22 Jun 194427 Jun 1944
HMT CeliaSignalman28 Jun 194411 Feb 1946
HMS VictorySignalman12 Feb 194614 April 1946

My father’s story begins with Until the End of Present Emergency

'Welcome to Hostilities Only' has no comments

Be the first to comment this post!

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.