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Where can I find Australian military records?

Military service records are held at the National Archives of Australia. For information on records held by the Archives see their fact sheets on defence and war service records. As a gift to the nation World War 1 service records have been digitised and are freely available online.

Defence service records set out the essentials of a person’s service in the forces. They will tell you information such as which unit or ship a person served. More detailed information about these units, what they did and where, can often be found in unit records held by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) or in published sources. Information about the AWM collections can be found here. The following links are also particularly relevant: Australians at War; Biographical Databases; and Family History.

Service records also show any decorations received. Information about campaign and service medal entitlements can be found on the Department of Defence Defence Honours and Awards site. To find records of honours and awards made to Australians search the Honours and Awards database at the AWM. The records include the exact date, Gazette number and page number for citations in both the London and Commonwealth Gazettes. The London Gazette has been digitised. To search, follow the links under “Historians”. Note that a complete citation was not usually published, only the name, rank and unit. A full citation may be in the service record. The London Gazette website also includes a digitised Medal Table.

Several useful books for military research are:

A Soldier in the family: a source book for Australian Military Genealogy: the first fleet to the Gulf War

How to Trace your Military Ancestors in Australia and New Zealand

Digging for Diggers: a guide to researching an Australian soldier of the Great War, 1914-1918

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Last update: 2012-04-24 15:52
Author: General Reference Enquiry