World War II Army pay files held in Adelaide – Fact sheet 132

The Army pay files held by the National Archives in Adelaide can be a valuable source of information for a range of researchers, including family and military historians. These records, originally created for pay accounting purposes, contain personal details about individual soldiers, officers, nurses and some war correspondents and representatives of organisations like the YMCA, Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Range of records held

Pay records held in Adelaide relate to personnel from 1939 onwards who enlisted in South Australia or were transferred to this state during World War II.

Contents of pay files

Army pay files typically detail the following information:

  • member's full name,
  • service number, rank, battalion,
  • date and place of enlistment and date of discharge.

They usually also include age, date of birth, address, next of kin, name of allottee, religion, and the names, ages and addresses of the member’s immediate family (including siblings). Sometimes previous occupations, physical descriptions, notes about vaccinations, and extra information about families is recorded.

Wills, marriage certificate extracts, children’s birth certificate extracts, personal letters and even death certificates have also been discovered in pay files.

Pay books

Pay books are often contained within pay files. These books were usually carried by the soldiers in their battle dress breast pocket. They note personal details, rate of pay and promotions, and the place in which the soldier was paid each fortnight – effectively plotting soldiers’ movements in the Army. In rare cases, the pay books give a more personal insight with mementos like photographs, handwritten notes of friends’ home addresses and prayer cards tucked within the covers.

Accessing pay records

To locate pay files for a particular person you will need to know full name, service number, unit, and some idea of dates of service. Pay files from the series listed below may be viewed in the Adelaide reading room. Copies of the records are available for purchase.

World War II Army pay files held in Adelaide

Army pay files for 2nd AIF – South Australian enlistments

Citizen's Military Forces (CMF)

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesArmy pay files of CMF Adelaide enlistments, S prefix1939–52D1357

Further information about service personnel records

World War I Army pay files

Army pay files for those South Australians who served with the First AIF (World War I) are held in Canberra.

Army pay files for 1st AIF – South Australian enlistments

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesArmy pay files, alphabetical series1914–23D2994

Inquiries about these files, including the purchase of photocopies, should be directed to our Reference Service.

National Archives of Australia
PO Box 4924
KINGSTON ACT 2604

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Defence service records for World War I and World War II

The National Archives holds the service records of Australians who served in World War I and World War II in the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Copies of Army and RAAF service records may be purchased. Copies of Navy service cards are provided free of charge. Contact our Reference Service (details above), or order and pay online through NameSearch.

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