How to look for records of... Royal Naval Division personnel

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

View online

How many are online?

  • None
  • Some
  • All

Order copies

We can either copy our records onto paper or deliver them to you digitally

Pay for research

Use our paid search service or find an independent researcher

Visit us

Visit us in Kew to see original documents or view online records for free

What do I need to know before I start?

Try to find out:

  • the name and rank of the person
  • the dates of service

What records can I see online?

Service records (1914-1922)

Search and download (£) Royal Naval Division service records for officers and ratings (ADM 339) on Discovery, our catalogue.

Campaign medals (1914-1918)

Search and download (£) First World War medal index cards for a person in the Royal Naval Division who was awarded an Army campaign medal (WO 372).

War diaries (1914-1918)

Download (£) Royal Naval Division war diaries in WO 95/3118-9 .

What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?

War diaries and operational orders (1860-1937)

Read Royal Naval Division war diaries and operational orders in WO 95/4290-1 and ADM 137/3063-3088d.

Campaign and service medals (1793-1975)

Find out about campaign, long service and good conduct medals in the Royal Navy medal roll in ADM 171. The records are usually arranged by battle, ship, rank and then by name and do not usually contain biographical information.

To access these records you will either need to visit us, pay for research (£) or, where you can identify a specific £, order a copy (£).

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

Record cards at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Contact the Fleet Air Arm Museum who hold Royal Naval Division record cards for the Divisional Engineers, Divisional Train, RM Medical Unit and Ordnance Company.

Records held elsewhere

The National Archives’ catalogue has details of collections held by over 2500 archives across the UK. Search our catalogue and refine your results using the filters.

What other resources will help me find information?


Some or all of the recommended publications below may be available to buy from The National Archives’ Bookshop. Alternatively, search The National Archives’ Library to see what is available to consult at Kew.

Read Tracing Your Naval Ancestors by Bruno Pappalardo (The National Archives, 2003).

Consult the published Navy Lists and Army Lists to follow an officer’s career in the Royal Naval Division.

Read Family History in the Wars by William Spencer (The National Archives, 2007).


Visit the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website to search for details of people who died in the First and Second World Wars.

Search (£) for a person who died in the Royal Naval Division during the First World War.

Did you know?

About 50,000 service records of men who served in the Royal Naval Division are available to search and download from our catalogue.

The Royal Naval Division was established in 1914 and was made up of surplus members of various armed services.

The Royal Naval Division served on shore alongside the Army and was transferred into the control of the Army in 1916.

When looking for a person who served in the Royal Naval Division, you may find his service history, next of kin, religion and personal description.