Military Records

How to View UK Military Service Records 

The process of finding someone’s military record has become a simple task with the multitude of online information resources that are available. To begin researching a person’s UK military service record it is important to know the person’s full name, time served and what armed service they served in. Since there are many people with the same first and last name, it’s also important to know if they were enlisted as a soldier or officer in addition to where they served and if it was during a time of conflict or war.

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Researching UK Military Records 

The process of researching a person’s military history begins with collecting as much information as possible before looking online through archives and genealogical databases. This information can come from newspapers from that time frame, stories from family members, pictures, journals, service medals or old military uniforms. This can greatly assist the research process of finding the correct military record for the intended person. If you are interested in looking up your own records you can do so directly through the website, see below for more details on this. It is also possible to request military records for your immediate family, depending on the circumstances.

Collections of UK Military Records 

  • Boer Wars Records 
  • Civil War Records 
  • World War I Records 
  • World War II Records 
  • Newspaper and Magazine Archives 
  • Awards, Decorations and Medals 
  • Regimental and Service Records 
  • British Prisoners of War 
  • Pension Records 
  • Prisoner Rolls and History 
  • War Veteran Gravesites 

There is a vast amount of information available from different collections of military records online. These can be found from both government archives and privately run databases and genealogy websites. For those that are trying to build a family tree or find out more about their family history, a genealogy website can help pair military records with a family’s lineage. You may be surprised what information you can find.

Get a Copy of Your UK Military Service Record 

Military Records

If you’d like a copy of your UK military service record you can obtain your service record from the UK government ( ). You can visit the website and download and fill out the SAR Form for the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army or Royal Airforce and mail it in with the required documents. There is no fee for this, and a copy of your UK military service records will be mailed to you once approved. You can also apply for the service records of someone else if they are an immediate family member or next of kin. However, this information may be somewhat limited depending on when the family member died. This documentation is official and is managed by the UK government.

UK Military Records and Your Family History

Military service records can be an important piece of the puzzle when trying to build a family tree. These records can include information such draft registrations for immigrant and UK citizens during times of war and global conflict. UK military records can help to illuminate the missing pieces of what happened to a branch of a family lineage as well as other branches that have yet to be discovered. Many people have married and immigrated and migrated during these historical times of conflict and records of military service can uncover that missing information to build an accurate family history. You may be surprised what you might find.

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Military Record FAQ

Can I lookup UK military records for free?

Yes, there are a few options for accessing UK military records for free online. You can do some free research through the UK National Archives, newspaper archives, genealogy websites, and public record websites. Some of the free information may be limited, the more detailed information can be found for a small fee

What information does a UK military service record contain?

A UK military service record might contain a service person's name, date and place of birth, next of kin, date and location of enlistment, their ranks and units served in, possibly any injuries, their service awards and military decorations, and discharge reasons.

Can anyone access UK military records?

For the most part, yes. Most UK military records are open to the public, but others, such as recent military records, have restrictions due to privacy laws and are only available to the service person or their immediate family.

Can I find information on military war casualties?

Yes, military war casualties can be accessed by the public. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains records of UK service members who died during the two World Wars. The National Archives, and public record websites are another place you can research military war casualties.

Where can I find UK military records?

UK military records can be found through several online resources, such as The National Archives, the Ministry of Defence, public record websites and genealogical websites.

How do I request my military service record?

You can request your UK military service record from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) if you are requesting your own record or one for a close family member. The MOD holds military service records since 1920.

How far back to UK military records go?

UK military records can go back as far as the 1660s, but the availability depends on the time period and how well the records were kept and if they were not damaged or lost.