Lieut. R.V. Williams, MRNVR, was the Gunnery Officer & Instructor to HMS Pelandok

Dear Mr. Gregory:

I hope you will forgive my trespassing upon your time, but I am conducting research on a gentleman who came from Australia and joined the Malayan RNVR.

Lieut. R.V. Williams, MRNVR, was the Gunnery Officer & Instructor to HMS Pelandok (training camp in Sembawang naval base, Singapore). He was mobilized in December 1940, captured in February 1942, and held as a POW in Sumatra.

Williams was released from the MRNVR in October 1947.

Given that Williams was a Gunnery Officer & Instructor, it would seem that he had some prior military/naval service--possibly in Australia, or even in Britain. What is the best way to go about uncovering any prior service?

Many thanks in advance.  I look forward to hearing from you as time permits.

Glenn M. Stein, FRGS


I have searched the Australian Government Roll for all who served in our Armed Services in WW2, there is no record for R V Williams, I have a 1940 Australian Navy List, he is not mentioned there.

Royal Navy Personnel Records are found here:

The records of British RN personnel are held at 3 different locations, depending primarily on the time when a person entered or served in the Navy or an auxiliary service.

1. MoD. Ministry of Defence,
Bourne Avenue,
Middlesex UB3 1RF,

2. Centurion. Naval Pay & Pensions (Accounts),
Centurion Building,
Grange Road,
Hampshire PO13 9XA

In both of the above archives, only written enquiries from next-of-kin are accepted, and a search fee is charged. There is an ongoing process of moving selected records from these locations to:

3. PRO. The Public Record Office,
Surrey TW9 4DU

Tel: +44 (0)181 876 3444

It is not possible to search PRO documents online, and the PRO does not undertake research on behalf of individuals. To access the documents held at the PRO one must either go there in person and obtain an entrance ticket, or employ a professional researcher to do the work for you. For more information on this, start at:



RN Officers. Pre-1914 at PRO, First and Second World Wars at MoD, post-WW2 at HMS Centurion.

RN Ratings. Ratings who served in WW1 or before are at PRO, unless they continued in service beyond 1929. The latter, plus those who entered between 1924-1930 at MoD. Those who entered after these periods at HMS Centurion.

Royal Naval Reserves (RNR). World War 1 records at MoD. Earlier records at PRO, later ones at HMS Centurion.

Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves (RNVR). WW1 records are being transferred from MoD to PRO. World War 2 records at MoD. Later records at HMS Centurion (RNVR amalgamated with the RNR in 1958).

Sorry but I am not able to suggest where else you might look.

Good luck.


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