Other service records
Merchant Navy service
Microfilmed employment records [Australian Merchant Seamen] (1922–88) contain some personal information, name of ships and dates of service.
Other Merchant Navy service information can be sought from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The authority’s address is on Fact sheet – Navy service records.
Veteran's case files
Case files, sometimes known as repatriation files or Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) case files, were created for each veteran who sought the services of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and may include medical, hospital, clinical treatment or pension files. Sometimes these different types of case files are incorporated into one set of papers, but in most cases they are kept separately.
The files may contain personal information on such matters as the veteran’s physical or mental health and domestic and financial affairs. Because much of this information may be personally sensitive, veterans’ case files are not always available for public access. The files generally contain very little service information not also found on the service dossier or other, more accessible, sources.
For further information on the Archives' access policy regarding these case files, refer to Fact sheet – Veterans' case files.
Proceedings of courts-martial cases were passed from the three service arms to the Attorney-General’s Department. This department registered and indexed the proceedings, before transferring them to the National Archives.
Often a service dossier will refer to a court-martial. In many cases the number will be cited and can be used to find a file in the courts-martial series. If no number is present, the Canberra office can consult the name index to determine the number for you.
The Archives holds Courts-Martial files [including war crimes trials]. To find a courts-martial file:
- Go to NameSearch.
- Enter the serviceperson’s surname and select 'Court martial records' from the dropdown category of records.
Civilian service during World War II has recently been recognised by the granting of an award, the Civilian Service Medal. Civilian service refers to the work in administrative, construction and other support services between 1939 and 1945 under arduous circumstances.
Service recognised includes the work of women in agriculture, war construction or civil aviation, and as medical volunteers, guides and observers.
Generally civilian service information is located in the Archives office corresponding to the area in which the service was performed. Records that have survived are rather piecemeal, and proving service can often be difficult. In most cases the records are service cards, but these are adequate for proving entitlements.
To find a civilian service record:
- Go to NameSearch.
- Enter the person’s surname and select 'Civilian service records' from the dropdown category of records.
For lists of organisations for which we hold some personnel information, those for which we hold only administrative records, and those for which, sadly, we hold no records, refer to Fact sheet – Civilian service in World War II.
First World War munition workers dossiers (1914–19) are held for those civilians who worked in the munitions industry during World War I.
The Commonwealth’s role in soldier settlement was solely to do with the selection and acquisition of land. Repatriation Department correspondence files (1919–29) contains information about soldier settlement cases that were referred to the Commonwealth.
State government authorities processed applications and granted land. Records of individual grants are generally found in the relevant state archival institutions.
After each of the world wars, the Commonwealth government granted veterans a one-off payment – distinct from any pension entitlements – in recognition of service. These payments were known as war gratuities. Personal information in records about war gratuities is limited, but there are occasional references to next-of-kin.
War gratuity registers and records are generally located in the Archives office in the state in which the person enlisted.
For World War II try: