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WHERE TO FIND: Military Service Records

Notes on access to Military Service Records.
Army Records Get a copy of military service records.

1. Overview

You can apply for either: your own service records if you are, or have been, a member of the armed forces. The records of someone who’s deceased ( if you’re eligible, for example you’re their immediate next of kin or you’re researching them

How long it takes

It can take several months for your application to be processed. Your application will be prioritised if it’s urgent.

Other ways to find service records

You can also search:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website (

The Armed Forces Memorial roll of honour (

The National Archives for service records from 1913 to 1920 ( or service records before 1913

2. Apply for your own records

3. Apply for the records of someone who's deceased

You can apply for a copy of someone else’s service records if any of the following apply: you’re their immediate next of kin, for example their spouse or parent,you’ve got consent from their immediate next of kin, you have a general research interest - you’ll only have access to limited information, unless they died more than 25 years ago.
You need to know the person’s full name, date of birth and service number.
Fill in 2 forms - a request form and a search form.
Fill in a request form
Download and fill in a request form for either:
next of kin’s records (PDF, 53KB)
- use this form if you’re next of kin or have next of kin’s consent not next of kin’s records (PDF, 46KB) ( - use this form if you’re not next of kin and don’t have next of kin’s consent

Fill in a search form

Download and fill in the relevant search form, depending on whether the person was in the:

Royal Navy or Royal Marines (PDF, 20KB) (

British Army (PDF, 20KB) (

Royal Air Force (PDF, 20KB) (

Post your forms

Send both forms, with the fee of £30 for each separate record, and any supporting documents (for example a death certificate) to the address on the search form.
There’s no fee if you were the person’s spouse or civil partner at the time of their death (or their parent, if there was no spouse).
You can pay by cheque or postal order - or by banker’s draft or international money order if you’re overseas.

Follow the instructions for applying for your own records ( if you’re acting on behalf of the person, for example you have lasting power of attorney (

What information you’ll get.

Records date from 1920 and may include:
surname, first name, service number, rank and regiment or corps place and date of birth date they joined and left the armed forces date of death, if they died in service good conduct medals details about their career, for example the units they served in - you can only get these 25 years after the date they died, unless you have consent from their next of kin. In some cases little or no information is available about someone’s military service. Your request might be refused if it could harm the security or operations of the armed forces.

4. If you want to complain

Write to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Information Rights team if you want to complain about how your request was handled.
MOD Information Rights team MOD Information Rights team Ground floor, zone D Main Building London SW1A 2HB

You can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office ( (ICO) if you’re not happy with how the MOD handled your complaint.

Published on 23 February 2020

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