Maritime Monday: Coastguard records at the National Archives

Alfred C N HibbittI'd known for a long time that my great-grandfather, Alfred Charles Newbold Hibbitt (see right), was a Coastguard and I'd already obtained a copy of his Naval Service record some while ago from the National Archives DocumentsOnline facility. The record, however, ends on 30th April 1919 and a note appears at the bottom stating, "Transferred to Coast Guards (New Force) (see Special Register)". My next question was, "Where was this register and how could I view it?"

Well, I recently discovered the Digital Microfilm records, which the National Archives have made available on their website free of charge. These records are in PDF format and aren't indexed so you have to scroll through the pages in much the same way you would a microfilm.
Series ADM 175 consists of a variety of records relating to the Coastguard formed in 1822 by the amalgamation of the Revenue Cruisers, the Riding officers and the Preventative Water Guard. These particular records range in date from 1816-1947. (Incidentally, the Digital Microfilm records comprise numerous collections, not just Coastguard records.)

I knew my great-grandfather was a Chief Officer and so the record entitled 'ADM 175/109 New Coastguard Force: Chief Officers service 1919-1941' caught my eye. These files are exceptionally large and I suggest you need a reasonably fast connection and perhaps to go and make yourself a cup of tea or coffee if you want to download them.

When I opened the PDF document, I spotted Alfred C Hibbitt amongst the index pages near the front and it was very easy to scroll down and find his entry.

Alfred Hibbitt's entry in the Coastguard's New Force Special Register
Alfred Hibbitt's entry in the Coastguard's New Force Special Register

Now, I'd previously been told by a member of the family that Alfred had been paralysed in some sort of an accident. This new record was exceptionally sparse, stating that he'd been invalided on 27th March 1920 and it therefore appears to go some way in supporting this story, or does it? We have photographs of Alfred in uniform, and also as an older man, with a walking stick so perhaps the paralysis was something which developed over time (his death certificate states he died of dementia paralytica). The record also confirmed his date of death in 1928, information that was already known to me.

There was one other detail which has me a little puzzled. There's a heading called 'Station' (presumably a reference to the Coastguard station) and under this heading it appears to say 'Galloways'. I can find no information about a Coastguard Station called Galloways or whether it was even meant to be Galloway. My dad understood that Alfred was, at one time, stationed at Lydd in Kent. The Naval Service record doesn't mention Lydd and so I'd expected it to crop up in the 'Special Register'. Alfred spent much of his early career, and also WWI, serving on board ships. Outside of this, he was stationed in various parts of Ireland, Cornwall and Devon. Thus the Galloways/Lydd question is a complete mystery to me.

[Why Maritime Monday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

Category: Ancestors Corner

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would be interested to find out a bit more about New Force, my Great Grandfather has exactly the same message on the bottom of his service history. Apparently the coastguard was slimmed down after first world war and not many kept on . My GGF was also a chief officer, trained in signals and wireless

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