The House Magazines of The British & Commonwealth Shipping Co Ltd 1956-1985 listing officers serving, is an indispensable aid. It also records retirements and obituaries, although not in the depth of detail one would wish.
The last issue was in 1988. Unfortunately there are significant gaps, particularly amongst the cargo ships.
Lloyds Voyage Cards recorded the names of the Captains until the end of 1947. Provided they are legible this is a valuable tool.
Lloyds Captains Register, also at Guildhall Library, has all the info up to 1947. However experience in studying Files 18568 and 18569 has thrown up information inconsistent with Company data which I have generally preferred.
As late as the 1950s, barring the war years, the Company produced a monthly or bi-monthly sailing and loading schedule naming the Captains. Those for the period Jan 1909-Jan 1915 have been especially useful.
The Head Office Voyage Book for 1926-1937 thoughtfully included Captains’ names. Unfortunately the following volume did not, but the speed and consumption book 1939 does, barring the old coal burning Intermediate and cargo ships.
Further information is derived from publications notably by Marischal Murray, George Young, Brian Ingpen and numerous press cuttings and correspondence from former officers, ratings, and passengers.
Clearly there are massive gaps, notably up to c 1908 and also for War Service and the period 1945-1955.
Alan Mallett has generously allowed us to copy his research into the Masters of the Union-Castle Line. Only those who have spent hours of footslogging from archive to archive, library to library can know what a generous offer this is.
I have managed to plug some gaps for the passenger vessels from the ship’s passenger lists published for both south and north bound voyages.