Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


How to obtain British Army Service Records

Medals and Information

1. Serving Officers and Soldiers and those whose regular or reserve service ended after 1997

Army Personnel Centre,
Disclosures 1
Mailpoint 520
Kentigern House
65 Brown Street
Glasgow, G2 8EX


Telephone: 0845 600 9663

Fax: 0141 224 3522

2. Officers and Soldiers whose regular or reserve service ended between 1921 and 1997

Army Personnel Centre,
Historical Disclosures,
Mailpoint 400,
Kentigern House,
65 Brown Street,
Glasgow G2 8EX

For telephone enquiries, please use the number below:

Telephone: 0141 224 3515 or 0845 600 9663

Fax: 0141 224 2144

The Ministry of Defence does not normally release information from a service record to persons other than the individual concerned or their next of kin. There is a search fee for genealogical enquiries which currently stands at £30.00.

4. Officers and Soldiers pre 1921

Because of bombing in 1940 only about 25% to 30% of soldiers’ records from the period 1914-1920 have survived

The Keeper of Public Records,
Public Record Office,
Ruskin Avenue,
Surrey TW9 4DU.

Telephone: 020-8876 3444.
Fax: 020-8878 8905.


The National Archives,
Ruskin Avenue,
Surrey TW9 4DU.

Telephone: 020-8876 3444.
Fax: 020-8878 8905.

The National Archives, which covers England, Wales and the United Kingdom, was formed in April 2003 by bringing together the Public Record Office and the Historical Manuscripts Commission. It is responsible for looking after the records of central government, including the War Office files and records amongst which are to be found surviving unit war diaries and army service records.

The PRO does not undertake research for enquirers. Its public opening hours are as follows:

Monday 9.00-17.00
Tuesday 10.00-19.00
Wednesday 9.00-17.00
Thursday 9.00-19.00
Friday 9.00-17.00
Saturday 9.30-17.00
Admission is by Reader’s Ticket. Readers have to register in person bearing adequate proof of identity, such as a passport or UK driving licence or UK bank/credit card. If in doubt the applicant should call in advance of their visit on 020-8876 3444.

Intending Visitors are advised to check (a) the opening times prior to a visit as sections are occasionally closed for stocktaking and (b) that the documents are available for consultation, as they are sometimes withdrawn for official use.

If you are unable to undertake the research personally, or send a proxy, the National Archives should be able to provide details of professional researchers and their charges.

See for information on the National Archives’ collections of World War I records.


C. THE BRITISH ARMY – Other sources of information
1. County Record Offices

Many county and borough record offices have military collections, usually based on local Militia / Yeomanry / Volunteer / Territorial / Home Guard units but in certain cases covering locally recruited Regular units as well. Details of record offices appear in: The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. Record repositories in Great Britain: a geographical directory. HMSO Ninth edition 1991. ISBN 0-11-440243-4.

2. Genealogy

Society of Genealogists,
14 Charterhouse Buildings,
Goswell Road,
London EC1M 7BA.

Telephone: 020-7251 8799.

3. Honours and awards

The Army Medal Office,
Ministry of Defence,
Government Buildings,
Worcester Road,
Droitwich Spa,
WR9 8AU.

Enquiries about decorations for gallantry and distinguished service (except those relating to Northern Ireland) prior to 1980 should be addressed to:

The Public Record Office,
Ruskin Avenue,
Surrey TW9 4DU.

Telephone: 020-8876 3444.
Fax: 020-8878 8905.

Awards are announced, sometimes with citations, in Supplements to the London Gazette. Copies of London Gazettes are held in the Public Record Office at Kew and in several of the principal reference libraries. Any public library should be able to help you find a library that holds it.

strong4. Indian Army (until 1947)

Oriental and Indian Office,
British Library,
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB


5. Lost Trails

Possible ways of tracing former comrades: a. By placing an advertisement:

1. Soldier Magazine,
Parson’s House,
Ordnance Road,
Hampshire GU11 2DU

Telephone: 01252-347351
Fax: 01252-347358

2. The Legion,
Magazine of the Royal British Legion,
48 Pall Mall,
London SW1Y 5JY

Telephone: 020-7973 7200
Fax: 020-7973 7399

3. Service Pals’ Teletext Limited.
PO Box 297,
London SW6 1XT

Telephone: 020-7386 5000
Fax: 020-7386 5618
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b. By contacting the Regimental Association.

c. By requesting the branch which deals with army service records to forward a letter to the last known address.

6. Museums

a. Imperial War Museum,
Lambeth Road,
London SE1 6HZ

Telephone: 020-7416 5000
Fax: 020-7416 5374

Coverage: all aspects of war in the 20th Century which have affected Britain and other members of the Commonwealth.

b. National Army Museum,
Royal Hospital Road,
London SW3 4HT

Telephone: 020-7730 0717
Fax: 020-7823 6573

Coverage: British Army; Indian Army (prior to 1947); British Colonial Forces up to their independence. Index to military casualties from 1900 giving details of next of kin and dispersal of personal possessions. Collection of Victoria Cross and George Cross files (not available online).

c. Regimental Museums

Details of regimental museums are given in the publication by Terence and Shirley Wise, “A Guide to Military Museums and Other Places of Military Interest”. Imperial Press, 8th edition 1994. ISBN 185674-020-X

7. Population Censuses and Surveys

Births, baptising, marriages and deaths:

Families Record Centre,
1 Myddelton Street,
EC17 1UW

Tel: 020-7533 6400

8. War Graves

War graves of World War I (1914-1921) and World War II (1939-1945).

Commonwealth War Graves Commission,
2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead,
Berkshire SL67DX

Telephone: 01628-634221
Fax: 01628-771208

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