Arctic Convoys

Though very much similar in the roles, and they offer similar benefits Merchant Navy and the Defence Navy are two very different fields. Both come with their own share of benefits and advantages. Both give you some good income, but you should always keep in mind that life changes fast and you’d need more than one source of income, which could be the Brit method or some other alternative which can make money on your behalf while on a mission.

Merchant Navy Vs the Defence Navy- knowing the differences:

The commercial services in the Marine are taken care of by the Merchant Navy team. They also handle the cargo shipment procedures. There are several public and private shipping companies that impose rules govern the commercial activities. The Defence Navy like the name indicates focuses on the defense functions of the country. Merchant Navy would have you traveling and managing ships for commercial reasons and you would be doing these for defense and military reasons with the defense Navy.

Eligibility criteria:

To join the Defence Navy of any country, there would be acertain set of eligibility criteria to fulfill. But being the country’s citizen is the primary one. There might be entrance exams to clear to join the Navy. But one can join the defense Navy after high school and can pursue a degree later with the educational benefits that the Navy offers. But with Merchant Navy, one has to have a basic high school certificate in subjects like Math, Chemistry, and Physics for the entry level roles. For the higher positions, a graduation would be required.


Merchant Navy salary packages are decided and framed by some of the international institutions. Depending on the ranking the salary benefits are fixed. But with the defense Navy, the payscale would depend on the ranking, experience as well as the individual Navy officer salary laws of the nation.

It is a popularly known fact that the Merchant Navy offers some of the best financial benefits for its employees. This is because they handle the shipping businesses and other commercial aspects. A career in the Defence Navy, however, does come with a relatively lower salary package but with other benefits- not to forget the amount of recognition and respect Navy officers receive in several places.

Here are some of the reasons that make a career in the merchant navy a great one:

Finance benefits and tax claims:

Besides the attractive salary packages that the merchant navy employees receive, the tax exemption rules are slightly different for them. This means that they would be paying very little or no tax if they meet certain requirements. Merchant marine employees would be spending half a year on the sea and this would exempt them from taxes for the year.

Explore different places:

Like with the Defence Navy, the merchant navy also offers the chances to travel around the world and explore different cultures. It would also demand longer periods of stay on the sea. Also, as the merchant navy is governed by several international norms, there are individuals from all over the world who might be working in your team. This would give you a great amount of exposure as well. With the Defence Navy, there would only be recruits from the same country as being a national of the particular country is one of the prime requisites.

Survival at Sea

There were 184 British Merchant ships that took part in the Arctic convoys. This list gives the name of the ship, followed by the convoy numbers, and indicates that ships that were lost. Some ships actually sailed indepently, and were not in a convoy.

The individual service records for the Merchant Navy are held at the Public Records Office in Kew in the “Fifth Register of Merchant Seaman’s Service” in BT382. These records state the names of individuals and the ships and dates they served on them. Cross referenced with the “Ships Movement Cards” in BT389 would determine whether an individual was on any of the ships during a Convoy to Russia.

Many thanks to Billy McGee who supplied this information and list.