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A commissioned officer was someone who became an officer by being awarded a royal commission, usually after passing an examination. Commissioned officer ranks include Admiral of the Fleet, Admiral, Vice-Admiral, Rear-Admiral, Commodore, Captain, Commander, Lieutenant-Commander, Lieutenant, and Sub-Lieutenant.

The Royal Navy Officers records contain the complete service histories of up to 79,000 Royal Navy officers who joined the Royal Navy between 1899 and 1919. This period covers two major conflicts: the Boer war and the World War 1. Our Royal Navy ratings records are held in a separate series which we are also publishing.