Originally published in 1849, this work gives details of “the life and services of every living officer in ‘Her Majesty’s Navy” who was serving or had retired by 1845 – nearly 5,000 officers in all. Generally acknowledged as the most comprehensive work of its kind, it was a considerable undertaking for one man to piece together such detailed biographies. This information was compiled from official records and from details supplied by the officers themselves. The service details found on every page reflect the centuries-old naval traditions of devotion to duty and great bravery in the face of danger. They also provide information on the many naval actions that were fought at the end of the eighteenth and first half of nineteenth centuries. Coincidentally, the original publication took place during the year of issue of what is now referred to as the Naval General Service Medal. In 1847 Queen Victoria authorised this award to be struck to record the services of naval officers and men who took part in various actions between 1793 and 1815, later extended to 1840. The award was limited to those who were alive at the time of the announcement. Over 200 Naval actions were commemorated on clasps to this medal; details of these and a considerable number of other engagements are to be found throughout this volume. Over the century and a half since its publication, this work has established itself as an essential reference work for naval historians and for a wider section of the public who are in search of their naval ancestry.