About Us

What We Do

Since its founding by a small group of dedicated ship enthusiasts in 1946, the World Ship Society has grown into the largest and most prestigious international organisation dedicated to maritime and naval history.

Today the World Ship Society is noted for its extensive list of publications, including the highly regarded journal, Marine News. As well, the organisation maintains a significant library and collection of photographs for its members and researchers.

Branch meetings, held throughout the world, allow members to share their knowledge, experience, and joy of the shipping and naval industries. From the young to the elderly, the membership is diverse and reflects a wide range of maritime or naval history. Yet all share an abiding love for the ships that travel the seas.

Share the experience of life on the sea... explore the World Ship Society's website.

Who We Are

The WSS Council

Chairman: D. A. Littlejohn  
General Secretary: J. A. Poole  
Treasurer: W. J. Mayes  
Marine News: A. Atkinson  
Membership: J. M. Williams  
Merchant Ship Committee: Dr. R. S. Fenton  
Naval Committee\Webmaster: S. Hacker  
Publications: J. I. English  
North American Representative: G. A. Smith  
Marketing: Dr. R.H. Osborne  
World Ship Photo Library: D. Whiteside  

For details of the other officers in the Society please see our Society Key People page.

Venture Fund

The World Ship Society is always looking at ways to provide a better service to its members, but many times is foiled in its attempts by a shortage of available funds. We always welcome financial donations to the Society to enable us to publish more shipping books, acquire important and historic photograph collections, maintain our Chatham Library, run more specialist meetings, support beneficial research projects and acquire additional computer hardware and software as and when appropriate.



A report by Dr Richard Osborne

The World Ship Society exists to arouse, stimulate and maintain interest in ships, shipping and related matters amongst the general public; to promote understanding of these subjects and their rich heritage by compiling, publishing and preserving records and illustrative material concerning ships and their part in mercantile and naval activity; and to promote and advance public education in current and historical affairs. In furtherance of these objects the Society will hold, promote or support conferences, seminars, meetings, symposia and lectures concerning ships, shipping and related matters.

Consequently, in the autumn of 2017 the World Ship Society’s Council decided to provide five travel bursaries, each of £100, to support five postgraduate students or independent researchers presenting an oral communication at the annual British Commission of Maritime History's (BCMH) New Researchers Conference on 6 - 7th April 2018 aboard the SS GREAT BRITAIN in Bristol. Successful applicants will be studying a ship- or maritime-related topic either naval or mercantile and thereby making an original contribution to the nautical literature. The five recipients of a WSS bursary together with their academic affiliations and title of their abstracts are:

Anna McKay (University of Leicester) Food, Inglorious Food: The Diet and Discontent of Prisoners of War HMPS BRAVE, 1808-1815

Sonia Grant (Independent) African and Arab Merchant Seamen Interned in Germany during the Great War

John Bolt (University of Portsmouth) The Cinderella Service: the changing Navy and the Royal Marine experience, 1856-1924

Matthew Heaslip (University of Exeter) International naval cooperation in interwar East Aisa

Samantha Middleton-Sudbury (University of Portsmouth) The Professionalisation of the Royal Navy between 1660 and 1688

These five abstracts, together with those of the other six presenters at the recent BCMH conference, will be published in the digital Supplement to June issue of “Marine News”. The academic performance and enthusiasm of all of those presenting at this prestigious conference was outstanding thereby demonstrating the wisdom of the Society’s decision to provide bursary support. The WSS presence at this event has also facilitated the development of improved links between the Society and the academic maritime research community. The success of this venture was such that at its recent Council meeting the Society decided to increase the number of travel bursaries to ten with five allocated to the 2019 BCMH Young researcher’s Conference and a further five available to support attendance at other research events.