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.

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, contact:

National Archives of Australia
PO Box 7425
CANBERRA BUSINESS CENTRE ACT 2610

Ask us a question

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 should be directed to Defence Honours and Awards.

Directorate of Honours and Awards
Department of Defence, CP2-1
PO Box 7952
CANBERRA ACT 2610
Phone: 1800 111 321

Former serving members

Former serving members seeking a copy of their record of service should contact:

(For Army Service)

Defence Archive Centre
Fort Queenscliff
GPO Box 1932
MELBOURNE VIC 3001

or

(For RAN and RAAF Service)

Personnel Records (RAN / RAAF)
Queanbeyan Annex 2
PO Box 7949
CANBERRA ACT 2600

For Medical records

Former serving members (Army, RAN or RAAF) should contact the Defence Archives Centre (see above).

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
CAMPBELL ACT 2612
(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

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) 5258 0675, or RAN & RAAF on (02) 6266 5964.

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.

For further information

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