War service information – Fact sheet 63
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.
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 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).
Some online digital copies of second Australian Imperial Force personnel dossiers (1939–47) and Citizen's Military Forces personnel dossiers (1939–47) 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 service cards for Navy Officers and service cards for Petty Officers and men 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, contact:
National Archives of Australia
PO Box 7425
CANBERRA BUSINESS CENTRE ACT 2610
Tel: 1300 886 881
Fax: 1300 886 882
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other sources of information
Inquiries about medal entitlements for service in the Australian Defence forces should be directed to Defence Honours and Awards.
Former serving members
Former serving members or their next of kin seeking a copy of their record of service should contact:
Defence Archive Centre
Phone: (03) 5258 0657
Fax: (03) 5258 0657
Personnel Records (RAN / RAAF)
Queanbeyan Annex 2
Department of Defence
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Courts-martial files from 1901 for each of the services are held by the Archives.
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 rolls, embarkation rolls, and unit diaries, as well as privately donated papers including letters and diaries.
Deaths on war service
Deaths of Australian service personnel on war service are generally not recorded by state authorities, but by the relevant arm of the Defence Force, which will issue certificates in cases where proof of death is required. Refer to our fact sheet on births, deaths and marriages.
Limited information on the service of an ex-member can be provided by the relevant service arm, for delivery of a eulogy. Contact the Army on (03) 9282 6235, or RAN & RAAF on (02) 6266 5850.
Contact the Office of Australian War Graves; Tel: 133 254 or 1800 555 254.
Contact the Veterans' Affairs Network; Tel: 133 254 or 1800 555 254.
British Army service
Military customs and traditions
The Military Historical Society of Australia can help to answer questions about military customs and traditions.