Researching Servicemen's records post 1920

Forces War Records holds well over 5 million WW2 records, such those injured or killed in action, those receiving awards, mention in dispatches or those captured as a P.O.W. etc. 

You can search all of these by simply entering the names on our search box.

Unfortunately, all 'Service Records' for WW2 veterans are still restricted and only held by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as they are still protected under the UK Data Protection Act and the MOD's own Policies.

We do not know exactly when these will be officially released.

Therefore, the Full-Service Records for WW2 are not available on our Website or elsewhere online.

However, if

  • you are the immediate next of kin or

  • you've got consent from the immediate next of kin or

  • It's more than 25 years after the death of the person 

you can apply directly to the MOD for the service records. Full details how to do this can be found here where you can download and complete the relevant application form:

Form 1: Request for Service Personnel Details: Next of Kin form
Form 2: Request for Service Personnel Details: General Enquirer's form (If you're not a relative)
Form 3: Service Specific form

Please read these forms carefully as the MOD will provide instruction and may require you to complete other forms to accompany the selected form listed above.

Don’t worry if you do not have the Service Number, as long as the date of birth and full names of the person are provided then the MOD can normally find the record for you.
If the service person is still living, they must apply for these themselves or give written permission for someone else to do so on their behalf.

What is likely to be found in a service record?

  • surname

  • forename

  • rank

  • service number

  • regiment/corps

  • place of birth

  • age

  • date of birth

  • date of death where this occurred in service

  • the date an individual joined the service

  • the date of leaving

  • good conduct medals (for example, Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (LS&GCM)), any orders of chivalry and gallantry medals (decorations of valour) awarded, some of which may have been announced in the London Gazette

  • the units in which he/she served

  • the dates of this service and the locations of those units

  • the ranks in which the service was carried out and details of campaign medals awarded


Home Guard

Information contained within the Home Guard records is very limited.

With a few exceptions, it normally consists of one double-sided A4 sheet of paper (Army Form W3066) containing personal details on enlistment and very little else. No details are held of the duties performed by an individual during his service.


Please note: The MOD will only hold records for those serving after 1920, anyone whose service ended before 1920 will not be held.

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