How to look for records of... British Army officers after 1913
How can I view the records covered in this guide?
This is a brief guide to researching British army records for an officer after 1913. The National Archives has a substantial collection of records covering this period, but many other documents were destroyed or badly damaged. Some service records are still held by the Ministry of Defence. Officer ranks include Lieutanant, Captain, Major, Colonel, Brigadier and General. The Ministry of Defence website has more detail.
1. What do I need to know before I start?
2. What records can I see online?
3. What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?
4. What records can I find in other archives and organisations?
5. What other resources will help me find information?
6. Did you know?
The National Archives does not hold army service records for the Second World War. They are still with the Ministry of Defence.
There are over 217,000 British army officers‘ service records for the First World War held by The National Archives. An officer’s file originally had three parts but two of these were destroyed by enemy action in September 1940. What remains was heavily weeded prior to 1940 and in many cases this means that nothing remains for many officers.
When searching for a person you may find information on:
- regiment and rank
- remarks concerning the individual
- medical reports, pension details and probate information
Not all officers applied for their campaign medals, so if an officer did not apply, there will be no medal index card. The campaign medal roll usually contains the same information as the medal index card, but it may also give the battalion number.