Although the greatest popular movement in Georgian Britain was probably that formed around military volunteering during the wars against Revolutionary and Napoleonic France, historians have written comparatively little on the subject and even when an attempt has been made the maritime volunteers have hardly ever commanded more than a few vague paragraphs. This is unfortunate as an examination of pay lists in the Public Record Office, letters in the Bristol Record Office and the columns of contemporary local newspapers have revealed a useful amount of information. John Penny investigates this shadowy corps, put in place to protect the Severn Estuary against possible French naval incursions.
Any historian attempting to investigate the events of World War Two in their area will undoubtedly have need to delve into the vast collection of military and civil defence files held at the Public Record Office at Kew. Although the majority of these are typewritten and fairly easy to decipher, one problem will quickly become apparent, as any attempt to plot the map references quoted in the documents on to current Ordnance Survey sheets will prove fruitless. In this article, John Penny provides solution to the thorny problems of location and time often encountered when using World War Two military and civil defence documents.