World Ship Society
The World Ship Society (WSS) is an international society devoted to maritime and naval history. Founded in 1946 as Ship News Club in order to distribute shipping information to correspondents, the society now has thousands of members in dozens of branches across the world. It publishes the monthly magazine Marine News and the quarterly magazine Warships for its membership.
In 1946 Michael Crowdy started a mailing list in the United Kingdom. In order to share a growing amount of information regarding ships, Crowdy founded the Ships News Club and published two news lists covering all ships in alphabetical order. These two lists, published in 1947, are acknowledged by the WSS to be the first two editions of the Marine News.
From 50 Correspondents at the start of 1947, by the end of the year members of the Ship News Club numbered 200 and 330 in July 1948. Notable amongst its early members were the then editor of Jane's Fighting Ships, Francis McMurtrie, and former editor and noted naval historian Oscar Parkes. By February, 1949 there were members across Europe and as far away as New Zealand.
The society now has 50 branches throughout the world which actively promote historical research. Staffed by volunteers the society maintains a Central Record and Photo Libraries, as well as a library and reading room in Chatham, Kent. As well as its magazine publications, "Marine News" and "Warships", the society has published many well-regarded books by members. The standard of research material available to members has given the society a reputation for excellence throughout the maritime community.