Soldiers' service records

The Queen Mother visiting Weeton Camp in 1972. After a particularly difficult tour in West Belfast during the summer of 1972, the Colonel in Chief, the Queen Mother, visited the Battalion. Here her Majesty is meeting with corporal Knowles and his family (LIVKR1997.1.104.6).

Documents available may include enlistment details, casualty records, honour rolls and pension records. These are held by the National Archives, formerly the Public Record Office, or by the Ministry of Defence.

For the service record of a soldier serving in or before 1919 and Officers serving in or before 1922

National Archives
Ruskin Avenue

Enquiries (not research questions): 0208 392 5200.

The website of the National Archives, does not have direct search capabilities but does include information on records, an online catalogue and lists of independent researchers.

The following titles are very useful guides to the records available at the National Archives, where the bulk of surviving soldiers' service records are preserved, however some of these records [Burnt Records] were lost during bombing in the 2nd World War.

  • S Fowler et al, 'Army Service Records of the First World War' , second edition, National Archive, London, 1998
  • William Spencer, 'Records of Service of the First World War', The National Archive, London, 2000
  • The National Archives has a monthly magazine - Ancestor's Magazine

For the service record of a soldier serving in or after 1920 and Officers serving in or after 1923

Army Personnel Centre
Disclosures 4 [Historical]
MP 400
Kentigern House
65 Brown Street
G2 8EX

Service records are released to the next of kin, and you may be required to fill in a certificate of kinship, available with an information sheet from the above address. You will also need to give known details especially Army number and the last Regiment in which the individual served. There is a non-refundable search fee.

The Western Front Association is the custodian of a major new archive comprising over 6 million Pension Record Cards. The collection of records was formerly held by the Ministry of Defence. The cards contain information not only for the serviceman or woman, but also on the widow, children or other dependents. They are not available on-line, but a look up request can be submitted to the Western Front Association website.

Some wills of soldiers killed during the First World War are also available to view – they can be requested at the UK government website.