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A Timeline of Our History

Free Bible Distribution


Coinciding with the launch of this website, the Society now intends to offer its products for free.

“Pay it Forward” donations gladly accepted before, at or after ordering!

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Another Name Change!


In 2017 as the Society looked to support the wider seafaring community and other uniformed personnel besides the military, the Society’s name reverted to the Naval & Military Bible Society, the ‘Naval’ portion covering all commercial shipping activities and the ‘Military’ element covering support to all Service and Uniformed personnel.

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A New Home


The Society came out from under the wing of the Scripture Gift Mission and moved to its present location of the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust at Castaway House, Portsmouth.

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1980 – 2004


In summary, cash flow low, demand still high! In 1982, the Falklands War was strongly supported with Bibles and New Testaments being given to Navy chaplains on-board HMS Hermes and the Hospital ships, and Army chaplains sailing with the Force.

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The 70’s


In the 70’s the Society expanded its efforts to support the various Missions working with Seafarers and Fishermen.

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A New Name and New Opportunities


After representation from Senior Officers in the RAF, the Society’s name was changed to the “Naval Military & Air Force Bible Society”.

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1947 – National Service


National Service represented an opportunity to introduce God’s Word to a new generation of ‘Servicemen’. Every 2 weeks, throughout the 17 years the initiative was in place, several hundred new entrants would enter the training establishment.

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Post – WW2


It would be easy to sit back after the efforts of WW2, but, the Society appointed a Travelling Secretary to make the Word of God available to the HM Forces.This Secretary duly, over the next 30 years, covered over a million miles.

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A World at War – Again!


King George VI, “To all serving in my Forces by sea, land or in the air and indeed to all my people engaged in the defence of the realm, I commend the reading of this Book. For centuries the Bible has been a wholesome and strengthening influence in our national life, and it behoves us in these momentous days to turn to renewed faith to Divine source of comfort and inspiration”. This message was printed in all the Society’s WW2 editions.

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A War to End All Wars


The Society does not have a vested interest in war, but, wars tend to provide opportunities to any organisation that serves the HM Forces and the 1914 – 1918 war was no exception for NMBS where they delivered more Scriptures at any time before of after. This Gospel of St John was given to a majority of Service personnel.

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The Society amalgamates with the Scripture Gift Mission (Now SGM Lifewords).

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One Hundred Years Old!


The 100th Anniversary Report, gave cause for thanksgiving as those present reflected how God had used the Society to enable thousands of copies of His Word to be placed in the hands of those who served their country.

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1 Million Bibles and a Few Wars!


1,000,000 Bibles and Scriptures distributed, but in a background of multiple wars.


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1830 – 1853: Military Decline


From a Waterloo/Crimean campaign high of an army of 220,000, from 1830 it had stabilised at 100,000 with about 46,000 stationed in the UK.

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1815 – 1830






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Friends, Presidents and a Patron of Note


Over its 240 years history many prominent people have been connected with the Society, including William Wilberforce.

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What’s in a Name…?


1804: The Society cedes its name, ‘The Bible Society’ to a new Bible Society.

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There’s Been a Mutiny


HMS Bounty; One Bible’s Journey.

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The Society’s First Grant


The Society grants several hundred Scriptures, at Rear Admiral Richard Kempenfelt’s request, to the crew of HMS Victory.

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The NMBS history began in 1779 when the Society was founded by George Cussons and John Davies, Lay Wesleyan Methodists.

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The Society continues to fulfil its mission statement distributing Bibles and booklets at home and abroad. However, it now aims to give its products away free of change operating solely relying on donations, sponsorship, grants and legacies. .

NMBS reports to the Charity Commission can be found here.  
NMBS reports to Companies House can be found here.  
The archived documents of NMBS are held in the British Library, what documents are held can be found here.