Royal Australian Navy from 1911
Navy service records
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) was established in 1911. The main records are service cards. In addition to the service records the Archives holds Naval Officers’ confidential reports and ships’ ledgers for Her Majesty’s Australian (HMA) ships.
Another useful series is held at the Australian War Memorial – the Naval Force (ANF) Engagement and Service records (1903–11).
The table below outlines the records held at the National Archives. They are listed in chronological order.
|Title or description of record||Date range||Series number|
|Forms RANR2(c) record of service – Citizens Naval Forces||1897–1912||CT190/1|
|Ships’ ledgers, HMA ships||1911–56||A4624|
|Service cards for Navy officers*||1911–70||A6769|
|Service cards for petty officers and men*||1911–70||A6770|
|Volumes of service records of officers of the Royal Australian Navy||1912–31||A8363|
|Confidential reports – Naval officers (forms S206, PP101)||1912–ongoing||A3978|
|Personnel files of reserve officers and ratings||1914–60||B4880|
* Main records of service
What’s in Navy service records?
The Royal Australian Navy kept service records from 1911 to 1970 in the form of double-sided cardboard index cards. These service cards contain information about:
- personal particulars including surname and given names, personal number, date and place of birth, religion, occupation, home port, address on entry/re-entry and on discharge, and details of next of kin
There are usually one or two cards for each person.
Find and view a Navy service record online
All Navy record of service cards (series A6769 and A6770) have been digitised and are available to view online.
- Go to NameSearch.
- Enter the family name of the service person – make sure it is the name used at enlistment.
- Select ‘Navy personnel records 1911–1976’ from the dropdown menu.
- Display the results of your search. If there are too many, you can refine this search result, and then enter the person’s given names and/or service number.
- Use the link to ‘View digital copy’. You can also print a copy of the record.
Request a copy or view an original record
Colour print copies of Navy record of service cards (from series A6769 or A6770) are currently provided free of charge.
To request a colour print copy:
- first locate the item using NameSearch (see above)
- use the ‘Request copy’ button
- complete your order using our secure eCommerce facility.
Information about medal entitlements is available fromDefence Honours and Awards; tel: 1800 111 321.
Pension information and entitlements
Veterans' Affairs Network
Tel: 133 254
Further informationFor more information on Navy records see:
- Navy service records
- Navy crew and ships’ records
- Navy service records held in Melbourne
- World War I and World War II service records
You can also browse our other fact sheets on defence, armed services and war.