CR1 record card

This card was introduced in 1913 and appears to have continued in use until 1972
It was usually completed in a port mercantile office at the same time as a new discharge book was issued and contains the seaman’s personal details together with his Discharge A number and often his signature. It can be thought of as a receipt for the issue of the discharge book.

The cards were printed in batches ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 and the design changed over the years. Between 1913 and 1919 the card size was 4 inch x 4.25 inches but this changed in 1921 to 5 inch x 3inch. In 1948 , the new National Insurance number was added, while in 1949 a passport style photograph appeared.

Most of the early cards (pre 1921) have been destroyed but there is evidence to suggest that many men who were at sea in 1921-22 had the details from the old size card transferred to the new 5 inch x3 inch size.

In 1941 the Minister of Labour, Ernest Bevin, took steps to ensure that there were sufficient men in the merchant marine to meet allied needs. He had the power to direct men into the industry if necessary. He decided to end the practice of men being laid off at the end of a voyage (or if a ship was sunk) and introduced continuous paid employment. The new system ensured that the man went back to sea within a reasonable period or took the disciplinary consequences. CR1 cards continued to be created, but the rest of the record system changed.

CR1 cards can be found in:

BT349:- for those men who had left the sea by 1941

BT364:- for those men who were active in 1941 but subsequently left the sea.

BT372:- I suspect that this is for those men active in the 1960s.

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