Merchant Navy WW2 identification badge

Merchant Navy WW2 identification badge

This Merchant Navy (MN) identification badge was issued to seamen on British ships in January 1940 and to those on New Zealand ships from July 1941.

The Merchant Navy name had been adopted in Britain in 1922, as part of King George V's formal acknowledgement of merchant seafarers' service and sacrifice during the First World War. That conflict cost the British Empire's merchant marine – as it was then better known – 2500 ships and 15,000 seafarers.

During the First World War, merchant seafarers were not issued with any sort of identification badge, and as they did not wear uniforms many were made to feel uncomfortable ashore. The issue of MN badges during the Second World War was designed to indicate that the wearer was taking an active part in the war effort.

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9 comments have been posted about Merchant Navy WW2 identification badge

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Posted: 25 Apr 2014

I know that my wife's father joined the Merchant Navy from Westport. Unfortunately she doesn't have any records of his service, the ships he sailed or the course they set. Nether does she have his service medal. can anyone help?


Posted: 25 Mar 2013 least we got the Wahine bit right... and that was a starting point for your research :)


Posted: 18 Mar 2013

Hello there, Im trying to find information on my Granddad Reginald John Haines who served on a minesweeper from 1941 -1945 as part of the New Zealand Merchant Navy in New Zealand waters. Any information on which ships her severed on would be much help. Regards, Emma

Mary Wright

Posted: 20 Feb 2013

Thank you Kate for your information I just need to correct one thing my Father was not on the TEV Wahine as she was built in Govan Scotland in 1966 TEV stands for Turbo Electric Steam. He was on the T.S.S Wahine which was 4,436 tons she had water tube boilers and steam turbines which required her to carry 362 tons of coal and yes she would have been lovely and hot down in that engine room. I also found the information of where she went, but would still like to find out what time he spent on her, as I live in Australia it is not easy to get into NZ records. Thanks again.

Neill A

Posted: 11 Feb 2013

The Wahine (1913-51) does not appear to have served outside the Pacific during WW2. However, many other merchant ships, including troopships, regularly visited Bombay and Colombo (Sri Lanka) en route to and from the Middle East/Suez Canal. So it is possible Mary's father visited India on another merchant ship. It was common for merchant seamen to serve on different ships.


Posted: 09 Feb 2013

You may like to enter Wahine 1913- The New Zealand Maritime Record - NZNMM - into your search engine. This gives all shipping movements of the Wahine in 1943. I have no knowledge of your father serving anywhere other than the South Pacific and believe he may have been land based during 1944. I have never heard of any reference to India and have no knowledge of whether NZ troops went to India. North Africa, yes, but India??
There are many people I know who could answer your questions, but sadly they are deceased. Regards Kate

Mary Wright

Posted: 08 Feb 2013

Are you able to give me any information as to what ships my Father served on for some reason as a child I always thought that he went up into India other than that all I know was he was a Marine Engineer on troop carriers.
Mary Wright


Posted: 07 Feb 2013

Your father served on the TEV Wahine during WW11. In a letter to me dated 10th May 1983 from Port Moresby he says "....I was 8th engineer on the old Wahne in 1943. It had boilers and steam turbines though and not as noisy as motors, but much hotter to work in. She was carrying troops to Korea (1951)and was wrecked of an island north of Australia...."

You will find more information if you search Wahine Wanderings - 'Merchant Marine NZHistory' on line. This will be a good start for your research. You should be able to find crew lists and shipping movements as well. The Wahine your father served on was a minesweeper in WW1, then returned as a interisland ferry before going back in to service as a troop ship for WW11. This vessel is not to be confused with the Wahine that sunk in Wellington harbour in 1968??or thereabouts.
All the best for your research.

Your father was also a member of the NZ RSA,where you should be able to find more information.

Mary Wright

Posted: 29 Jul 2012

I would like information with regards to my Father Kenneth Burland Wright who was in the Merchant Navy in WW11 I know nothing of what ships he was on or where he went all I know was that he was a marine engineer and he would never talk about what happened. I would appreciate any information you can give me. Thank you