Papers of Andrew Service, seaman, fl 1801-1810

Scope and Content

One logbook compiled by Andrew Service while employed as a seaman on the HMS Medusa. He records sea and land battles, local inhabitants and other ships as well as life on board the Medusa.

Administrative / Biographical History

Andrew Service, born in Port Glasgow, joined the HMS Medusa in 1801 at the age of twenty. He is registered in the muster rolls as entering the ship as ‘LM’, landsman which suggests that he had no previous seafaring experience. He kept a logbook while serving on Medusa between 1802 and his return to Greenock in 1810.

He was promoted in March 1805 to ‘AB’, able seaman, the rank above ordinary seaman but sometime prior to 1809 he was returned to being ‘Ordy’, an ordinary seaman. The reasons for his promotion and demotion are not recorded.

Andrew saw service on board the Medusa in the north and south Atlantic, sailing as far south as the Falklands; the Mediterranean; and the Indian Ocean. He records sea and land battles, local inhabitants and other ships as well as life on board the Medusa. He appears to remain unscathed until November 1808 when he caught his fingers in the armoury hammock which resulted in the loss of a finger, a month later. He was invalided at Plymouth Hospital in May 1810 and discharged at Plymouth Dockyard, receiving an annual pension of 10 GBP for life. He returned to Scotland, arriving at Greenock on 6 June 1810 after 9 years and 12 days absence.

Captain John Gore commissioned the gun frigate Medusa on 25th April 1801 because a French invasion was thought to be imminent. Nelson, with the aim of bombarding Boulogne, sailed in the Medusa from 2-27 August 1801 after which he transferred to the Amazon. Andrew Service’s logbook begins on 23 March 1802, after Nelson had left the frigate. For more information on the Napoleonic Wars and the Medusa please see our website.


Only one item however the logbook is in the process of being catalogued in more detail.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposit : possibly Professor Sydney Checkland : 1982/1985 : ACCN 426 (or ACCN 933)


Collection level description created by Gemma Tougher, Assistant Archivist (Cataloguing), 29 January 2013.

Other Finding Aids

The logbook is in the process of being catalogued in more detail so no other finding aids available at present.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material.

Archivist's Note

There is no boxlist. Only information we have on the logbook can be found on our website.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Custodial History

It is not entirely clear who deposited the logbook with GUAS and when this occurred. From our records it seems that there is a possibility that a Mrs Margaret Service passed on the logbook to Professor Sydney Checkland (who was Professor of Economic History at the University from 1957 to 1982) and that he gave the logbook to the Archives in the 1980s (two dates are given, 1982 and 1985). But there is no way of clarifying this.


None expected.

Related Material

A photo gallery displaying all 21 pages of the logbook can be found website.

Location of Originals

The material is original.


No known publications using this material