War service information – Fact sheet 63

Service records

Boer War

Nominal rolls for most Victorian and NSW Boer War units and some units from other states are held on microfilm in all National Archives reading rooms, with the exception of the Melbourne reading room.

Attestation forms for about a third of the approximately 15,000 who saw Boer War service (mainly those who saw service in Commonwealth battalions following Federation) are held by the National Archives. Online digital copies of Boer War dossiers are available to view on RecordSearch.

See also Boer War records.

World War I

The National Archives holds the service records for members of the First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF), Australian Flying Corps, Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train, and the Australian Army Nursing Service. Depot and home records (for those who would have served overseas if the war had not ended, and for those who served within Australia) are also held.

Online digital copies of World War I service records are available to view on RecordSearch.

Permanent Military Forces (1901–40)

Service records and attestation papers for the period 1901–40 are held by the National Archives Melbourne Office. Online digital copies of the attestation papers (series B4747) are available to view on RecordSearch.

World War II

The Archives holds service records for Australians who served during World War II in the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). A number of online digital copies are available to view on RecordSearch.

Campaigns since World War II

Service records for more recent campaigns, including Korea, Malaya and Vietnam are still held by the Department of Defence. Records in the open access period can be requested through the National Archives (see contact details below).

Royal Australian Navy (RAN)

Record of service cards are held for Navy service between 1911 and 1970. Online digital copies of these service cards (series A6769 and A6770) are available to view on RecordSearch.

Purchasing copies of service records

To purchase a copy of a service record, find the item on RecordSearch and then select 'Request copy'. Alternatively, Ask us a question or contact us through our National Reference Service at PO Box 4924, KINGSTON ACT 2604.

Former serving members seeking a copy of their record of service should contact the Defence Archives Centre, phone 1800 333 362 or email ADF.Records@defence.gov.au. If Defence does not hold a record, please contact our National Reference Service (see above).

Concerns about the public release of information

Under the Archives Act we are required to release as much information as possible. If you have concerns about information that has been released, please email us at publicrelease@naa.gov.au.

Other sources of information

Medal entitlements

Inquiries about medal entitlements for service in the Australian Defence forces are handled by Defence Honours and Awards. They can be contacted by phone on 1800 333 362. Alternatively, complete the Defence Medals - Online Application.

For Medical records

Former serving members should contact the Defence Archives Centre, Fort Queenscliff, GPO Box 1932, Melbourne VIC 3001, or email ADF.Records@defence.gov.au.

Courts-Martial files

Courts-martial files dating from 1901 for each of the services are held in series A471 in the National Archives Canberra Office.

Citations, photographs, nominal and embarkation rolls, and unit diaries

Contact the Australian War Memorial for citations for most recommendations for honours and awards resulting from Australia’s participation in all 20th century campaigns. The Memorial also has an extensive photographic collection, maps, films and books, and holds official Commonwealth records such as nominal and embarkation rolls, and unit diaries, as well as privately donated papers including letters and diaries.

Australian War Memorial
Treloar Crescent
(GPO Box 345, CANBERRA ACT 2601)

Tel: (02) 6243 4315
Fax: (02) 6243 4545
Email: info@awm.gov.au

Deaths on war service

Deaths on war service are recorded by the relevant arm of the Defence force, who will issue certificates in cases where proof of death is required. Refer to our fact sheet on births, deaths and marriages.

Eulogy service

Defence Archives responds to eulogy requests for Navy, Army and Air Force. For further queries contact Defence Archives on 1800 333 362 or email ADF.records@defence.gov.au.

War graves

Contact the Office of Australian War Graves; Tel: 133 254 or 1800 555 254.

Nominal rolls

The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) administers online databases recording the names of those who served with Australian forces in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Pension entitlements

Contact the Veterans' Affairs Network; Tel: 133 254 or 1800 555 254.

British Army service

The Imperial War Museum and The National Archives (United Kingdom) offer useful online research guides and information sheets for researching British Army records.

Military customs and traditions

The Military Historical Society of Australia can help to answer questions about military customs and traditions.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019