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World Ship Society Origins  

Since its founding by a small group of dedicated ship enthusiasts in 1946, the World Ship Society has grown into the largest and most prestigious international organization dedicated to maritime and naval history.

Today the World Ship Society is noted for its extensive list of publications, including the highly regarded journal Marine News. As well, the organization maintains a significant library and collection of photographs for its members and researchers.

Branch meetings, held throughout the world, allow members to share their knowledge, experience, and joy of the shipping and naval industries. From the young to the elderly, the membership is diverse and reflects a wide range of maritime or naval history. Yet all share an abiding love for the ships that travel the seas.

What is now known as the World Ship Society was originally the "brain child" of Michael Crowdy, brought about more or less by chance.

In 1946, Michael was corresponding with various people interested in ships, and as the number of correspondents grew, it became necessary to duplicate the information he received in order to circulate it. As young as he was, Michael realized the potential existing for an organization and with a great deal of encouragement and some financial support from his father, Michael launched the Ship News Club.

His first publications in early 1947 were duplicated sheets containing news of ships, merchant and naval, whose names began with the letters "A" to "L", followed a couple of months later with further lists containing the "M" to "Z" ships. These two sets of duplicated sheets have been re-typed and copied by various people and are now accepted as Part 1 and Part of Volume 1 of Marine News.

The first Marine News to appear in magazine format was in June 1947 and was 12 pages with one photograph. News soon got around about the Ship News Club and membership increased rapidly from 50 in January 1947 to 200 in December and 330 in July 1948.

The first Annual General Meeting of the Ship News Club was held aboard WELLINGTON, Thames Embankment, London on 23rd September 1949 and it was at this  meeting that the proposal to change the name of the "Club" to the World Ship Society was accepted and approved.

Today, more than 50 years later, the World Ship Society has thousands of members in countries world-wide with branches in Europe, Australia, South Africa, Asia, and North America.

Since the Society's first publication on the Albyn Line in 1950, it has now produced or been directly involved in the publication of over 135 books on various shipping companies around the world.

Over the years, nearly every task within the Society has been carried out by volunteer members, from their own homes. There are no paid employees. There is no "Head Office" but with the vast resources available to each volunteer (usually from within his or her own collections), it is possible to meet the thousands of marine-related requests received each year from its members.

The World Ship Society operates its own website which can be accessed here.