FAQ: Find and apply for Service Records 1920s onwards including WW2
One of the most frequently asked questions on this board is about finding service records for service personnel in WW2.Service records Post 1920s (exact year varies for different services see below) are not widely available to the general public but can be applied for from the MOD on an individual basis subject to restrictions on who you are and how long ago the person died.
Service people can apply for their own records by making a subject access request for their data: There is no fee. See here: https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records
Others can apply for a deceased person's Information from records under the MOD Publication Scheme. This is for SOME information and subject to certain CONDITIONS being met eg: who you are
(spouse/deceased spouse, next of kin or their representative, not next of kin) when the person died
(more or less than 25 years age)HOW TO APPLY
See here for more specific information about how to apply and what records may be included. There is a fee of £30 (which may be waived for a former spouse/partner of deceased)https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records
Applying for records has been known to require a certain amount of form filling and a long wait. What you receive varies depending on the individual circumstances and what is available.WHAT IS AVAILABLE?. Information held by MOD on Royal Navy (RN), Royal Marines (RM), British Army, Royal Air Force (RAF) service records and Home Guard records
.Royal Navy and Royal Marine Service records
The RN Disclosure Cell holds service records for Commissioned and non-commissioned officers (both RN and RM) from 1924 onwards.
Please see the Royal Navy website http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/
for further details about other service records that are held by the National Archives.British Army Service records
The Army Personnel Centre Historical Disclosures Section holds army service records for officers whose service ended after April 1922 and soldiers whose service ended after January 1921. RAF Service Records
The RAF Disclosures section holds service records for non-commissioned and commissioned RAF personnel dating back to 1920.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) Air Historical Branch (AHB) is also the custodian of the RAF Casualty Files. These historical records include details of aircraft losses from 1940 to the present day Subject to certain conditions, information in these files is available on request from members of the public under MODís publication scheme.
There is a lot more on applying for files and information and what is available including downloadable application forms at the MOD website: https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records Prisoners of War
This guide from the National Archives might help for Prisoners of Warhttp://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/research-guides/prisoners-war-1939-1953.htmGeneral Information/research
For more general information, if you know the soldier's unit, then the Regimental Museum or the National Archives may hold some information, although these will be unlikely to contain any personal details.
This post is for general information only.
For specific HELP requests please start a new topic either on the main Armed Forces Board for pre and post WW2 queries, or the WW2 Board (for specific WW2 queries)