Find your military ancestors with these links to military records available online, including Army, Navy and RAF from both World Wars and many other wars.
British Army Service Records
More than 8 million documents about the British Army between 1760 and 1939. Find officers and other ranks in 13 different sets of records from The National Archives and the Scots Guards. The records can tell you when your ancestor joined and left the army, as well as details about where he came from and his military service.
First World War
The National Archives portal to all their military records relating to WWI.
Lives of the First World War
If you have ancestors who served in WWI, then Lives of the First World War is one resource you should check out.
There are over 7 million life stories, more than 158,000 lives remembered, almost 800,000 facts and over 2,500 communities which you can learn from and/or contribute to.
Many records are free, but some require a subscription. Join more than 76,000 members who already contribute to the site.
British Army Lists
There are over 200 British army lists viewable on this site ranging from the years 1840-1946. The lists are in book format with each book containing more than 1000 pages. You can view the lists online or download them in PDF and other formats.
Some patience is needed with these books as they’re quite old with a small typeface. I have found that viewing them online is the best option to start with because you can search individual names.
Naval & Military Archive
By using the ten important databases on this website it is now possible to find information on most of those from Britain who died in military service in both World Wars. Additionally, over 400,000 particulars including much biographical information of those who served is now available to view in the form of the National Roll of the Great War, De Ruvigny’s Roll Of Honour, Men of The Battle of Waterloo 1815, Boer War Casualties 1899-1902, Distinguished Conduct Medal Citations, Ireland’s Memorial Records, Naval Casualties 1914-1919 and British Prisoners of War (German Camps). In total over 1.25 million records can now be viewed on a pay per view or a subscription basis on this unique site.
Royal Marines Service Records 1842-1925
Search and view the records of around 110,000 men who joined the Royal Marines between 1842 and 1925.
The information in these records typically includes:
- date and place of birth
- date and place of enlistment
- physical description
- names of ships and shore stations served on
- details of conduct or promotion
- medal entitlement
British Merchant Navy Crew Lists 1915
For the first time ever, the Crew Lists of the British Merchant Navy from the year 1915 have been digitised and made available to search for free. Find relatives and loved ones via our database of over 39,000 crew lists, featuring over 750,000 names.
The Long, Long Trail
Are you a family historian, trying to find what happened to a relative in 1914-1918? Or perhaps you are researching a local war memorial or the men of a particular unit? The Long, Long Trail has the answers.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The casualty database lists the names and place of commemoration of the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars.
It also records details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died “as a result of enemy action” in the Second World War.
World War One Cemeteries
This site contains photographs of all 940 cemeteries in France and Belgium of 40 or more burials visited by Sidney C. Hurst whilst compiling his 1929 book “The Silent Cities”, All of these cemeteries have been personally visited and photographed by themselves, the site also contains many other military cemeteries and memorials from all around the world.
War Graves Photographic Project
The War Graves Photographic Project has thousands of photos of war dead graves and memorials. It’s an ever growing project which also allows users to order quality images of their records.
The Scottish War Graves Project
Created by members of the Scottish War Memorials Forum in late 2007 this Project was started as a direct result of the collapse of the British War Memorials Project. Basing its format on the existing and very successful Scottish War Memorial Project forum it was set up to record military gravestones in Scotland. Unlike other gravestone recording projects, we take pride in asking for no donation or payment for a photograph which a relative or interested party might request. All our photographs are available online for anyone to see. To date there are over 15,500 headstones online from over 650 cemeteries and burial grounds. We are always looking for volunteers to help photograph the thousands of other graves around Scotland. This is a long-term project and the more volunteers we have the better our coverage of Scottish graves can be!
The Roll of Honour
The online Roll of Honour contains the names of members of the Armed Forces who died in military service, on or after 1 January 1948 (and Palestine 1945-47), who are commemorated on the official single service rolls of honour.
Roll of Honour
Roll of Honour is dedicated to the people who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. There are thousands of names on the war memorials listed here. The UK has the most coverage but there are plenty from other countries too.
Anglo Boer War
This Anglo Boer War website was started in 2004 with the objective of making available information on the Anglo Boer War 1899 – 1900. The site is free to use and has grown over the years so that it currently consists of over 2,300 articles, over 11,000 images and more than 12,500 pages in searchable PDF format.
The site is arranged into several main sections:
- Biographical details of people who were involved in the Boer War (some 15-20% of those present)
- Details of the medals awarded for the Boer War and other contemporary and South African campaigns
- Information on the Imperial, Colonial, South African and Boer units that participated
- The full text of over 50 Boer War books
- Information on the author’s current and future publications and research projects
- On-line shop
Service Records of Deseased Military Personnel
You can request records of your ancestors from the government if you can’t find them elsewhere.
The largest British Armed Forces Community on the web with over a million members!
British Army Soldiers Wills
Search for the will of a soldier who died while serving in the British armed forces between 1850 and 1986.
Royal Air Force Combat Reports
These records are Royal Air Force combat reports written during the Second World War. They are the official reports which pilots or air gunners filed after they had encountered enemy aircraft on operational flights.
The reports cover action seen by the squadrons, wings and groups serving with Fighter Command, Bomber Command, Coastal Command and the Fleet Air Arm. Now held at The National Archives in series AIR 50, they include Commonwealth, United States Army Air Force and Allied units based in the United Kingdom during the Second World War.
British Army Medals
Find medal index cards and more online at the National Archives.
Far East Prisoners of War Database
Approximately 55,500 names of British POWs are on theFar East Prisoners of War Database, taken from army, navy and air force records. They anticipate adding merchant navy and civilian POWs in the future, as and when such lists become available.
Royal Naval Division Service Records 1914-1920
The records cover more than 50,000 officers and ratings who joined the Royal Naval Division or who passed through Crystal Palace when it was used as an initial training centre during the First World War.
National Memorial Arboretum Roll of Honour
Search and view details of those who died serving in the armed forces.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945
Together with The National Archives, Findmypast is excited to present its Prisoners of War 1715-1945 collection. The records are diverse and varied. The size and the scope of these records make them a fascinating resource for genealogists. The records not only include military personnel, but also civilians, diplomats, missionaries and merchant seamen. We recommend you begin your search with a last name and then narrow your search if necessary. Many of the Prisoners of War records only recorded last names and not all would have included regiments or ranks. Use the keyword search to search the records by Nationality (American, French, Russian etc), Birth place (Baltimore, Sussex, Cherbourg etc) or the names of vessels.
World War I Prisoners of War
During the First World War, 10 million people, servicemen or civilians, were captured and sent to detention camps.
The countries involved provided lists of prisoners to the ICRC, which created an index card for each prisoner and detainee. Individual data on prisoners of war will be posted gradually over the year 2014. Altogether, 5 million cards on prisoners and 500,000 pages of records associated with these cards will be available on the website. Currently 90% of the data is already available.
Search for and view records of seafarers and victims of maritime disasters.
The memorial database contains records of over 5000 church, cemetery and public memorials including many important works by prominent sculptors and designers.
You can browse memorials by country (England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland), or search for a person’s name or a particular memorial.
The Trafalgar Roll
The Trafalgar Roll has been compiled from a long list of the awards made to the seamen who fought in the various Royal Navy ships under the Command of Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805.
The names of some 1640 officers and men who served in the various ships of the Fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar are listed in a series of files covering: a total of some 1640 names. (The ranks are mostly self explanatory, though highly abbreviated. LM is understood to mean Landsman).
Naval Biographical Database
Find your navy ancestors with the Naval Biographical Database which brings you the people, places, ships, organisations and events associated with the Royal Navy since 1660.
War of 1812 Privateers
The War of 1812 Privateers website has the activities of both American and British privateers; including listings of American POWS held in the UK, and British subjects held in the United States.