Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P is for Prize Money (and Pensions)

P is for Prize Money (and Pensions)

When I think of acknowledgement or reward for military service I tend to think of medals.  I had not heard of Prize Money until I came across it in my great-grandfather's record as mentioned in this post.

Golden Kiwi Tickets

Pappalardo informs us that:

It was considerably cheaper for the navy to make use of captured ships rather than build new ones. (p. 127)

See!  Recycling has been around for ages! Crews that captured enemy ships were rewarded with prize money. 

You can check ADM 238 for Prize Money Lists.

You can access British Royal Navy & Royal Marines Service and Pension Records, 1704-1919 on Find My Past here but you need to have a World Subscription at £13 per month or 60 credits at £6.95 which lasts 3 months (the record would cost 10 credits). You should also note that they only include the following as per here:

The National Archives series included in this collection are as follows:

ADM 6 / 223-320 – Registers of candidates for admission to Greenwich Hospital and registers of applications to Greenwich Hospital for admission, out-pensions or other relief, 1737-1859
ADM 22 / 254-443 – Pay books of naval out-pensions at Greenwich Hospital, 1814-1846
ADM 73 / 1-69 and 95-131 – Admiralty: Royal Greenwich Hospital: Pensioners and School Admission Papers, Out Pensions Pay Books and Miscellaneous Registers 1704-1869, including general registers of pensioners and their families.
WO 4 / 887-891 – Greenwich Hospital pensions 1846-1854
WO 22 / 208 – Mercantile Marine: Miscellaneous returns for England, Scotland, Wales and Jersey
WO 23 / 24 – Register of Greenwich Hospital pensions 1868-1870

So pensions after 1870 are not included from what I can see.  

It cost me £3.50 to get my 2nd great-grandfather's  service record from The National Archives in 2009.  It was located in ADM 196/31 which is not recorded in the list above at Find My Past.  His pension was listed at the bottom of his service record.  

Don't forget that pensions are a relatively new concept too.  Pappalardo reminds us that:

When they were not employed, officers were paid a retainer - 'half pay' - for their services, irrespective of age, until they died.  ...half pay could be viewed as a form of pension. (p. 147)


It was not until 1859....that pensions for service were granted automatically to all ratings... (p.149)

Image taken from page 655 of '[The Sea: its stirring story of adventure, peril & heroism.]'

This is my contribution to the Blogging from A to Z challenge


Suzanne McClendon said...

This is a very interesting post. I have the pension records and/or applications for pension for several of our military ancestors, mostly from the War Between the States (otherwise known as the Civil War). I have a few from the Revolutionary War.

I don't know that I've ever heard of prize money for the military people either, but maybe they didn't do it here or maybe it was called something else.

Thanks for another great post! Have a blessed day.

Dainne said...

I had never heard Of prize money in the military either. I learn something new with each of your posts. Thank you!

Wendy said...

Prize money for capturing a ship? You better get started!

Molly Charboneau said...

Wonderful post. Military pension records are an absolute gold mine for family history researchers. Thanks for spotlighting this valuable resource.
Molly of Molly's Canopy

Crissouli said...

Hi Alex, I couldn't resist including this post in Interesting Blogs at

Think I need to go capture a ship...