1 Reply Latest reply on Aug 17, 2020 9:32 PM by Rebecca Collier

    Seeking muster rolls for war patrols

    Tom Boyer Adventurer

      My father-in-law served on several US submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during WWII. He was at one time a member of the famous USS Barb but I do not know when. The information about his ship assignments came from his official US Navy personnel file.  Where can I find a list of ship's personnel assigned to US submarines for each of their war patrols?

        • Re: Seeking muster rolls for war patrols
          Rebecca Collier Ranger

          Dear Mr. Boyer,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 1/1/1939 - 1/1/1949 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that includes the digitized muster rolls of the Barb (SS-220), 7/8/42-2/12/47. The images are available using the Catalog.


          Please note that there is a temporary record called a "shipping list" or "sailing list" which is nothing more than a checklist when a ship or submarine sails out. The purpose of the list is that they know who was aboard at the time of the sailing, and if anything should happen to the crew or the ship, the Navy either makes individual adjustments or knows in the whole who is missing and/or killed. If your father was assigned to the Barb, he should be included on the muster rolls.  But sometimes a sailor could be assigned temporarily to a sub while in transit to a forward position in the sub force and are only on the one sub for the duration of the war patrol where the boat leaves a port and the patrol terminates at another Forward Area base and drops the sailor  off.  In other cases, there may be shorter trips like boats leaving one port will get their tanks topped off at another before going on. Another possibility is being a member of “relief crews.”   These are submarine crews that go aboard the sub when a submarine returns from patrol. The “relief crew” performs maintenance on the sub while the "at sea" crew rests up for the next patrol.


          Another place to look for crew members, especially new crew members who are qualifying for submarines (their dolphins) is in the patrol reports themselves. During the war under the personnel section, the report may list by name those sailors who qualified submarines while on patrol, thus earning their dolphins. We search the National Archives Catalog and located the series U.S. Submarine War Patrol Reports, 1941 - 1945 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) that includes 8 digitized reports of the USS Barb for October 1942 to August 1945. The images are available using the Catalog.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!


          [Information provided by Nate Patch, Subject Matter Expert]


          1 person found this helpful