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Tracing Your Family's Military History





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We are receiving an increasing number of requests for assistance from individuals who are interested in their family’s wartime activities.

Our interest in military history remains a hobby and, whilst at times it may appear an all consuming one, it means we cannot always have the time to assist in tracing the exploits of a particular person, or unit, due to our other commitments (not that we wouldn’t like to!).

In some cases, we can assist by providing an insight in the exploits of a particular unit (e.g. 89 or 317 Field Security Sections, or other Intelligence Corps elements), though we are not always able to do the same for all wartime units/formations.

Whilst we always like to hear from visitors to our website (and appreciate all feedback), and will do our best to help where possible, we would like help by suggesting the following official avenues of enquiry – whose sources may reveal a more than we could ever.

World War II:

British Army - Personal Records

The Army Personnel centre (Historical Disclosures Section) has access to Army records dating back to the 1920s.  It can supply copies of documents to the next of kin of former soldiers and officers who have served since 1920.  Home Guard service records are also available.  There is usually a charge for the research, and there can also be a wait of several months whilst they research your request.  They can be contact at:

APC MS Support - Disclosures 4
MP 555, Kentigern House
65 Brown Street, Glasgow, G2 8FX

Tel: 0845 600 9663
Fax: 0141 224 3172

If you an enquiry about the record of a member of the Polish forces under British command during WWII, the same search forms can be completed and sent to:

APC MS Support  - Disclosures 5
Building 28B, RAF Northolt,
West End Road, Ruislip, Middlesex HA4 6NG

Tel: 0208 8338603
Fax: 0208 8338866

It is advised that you visit the Army’s website that details the above information on the Army’s Personal Records at: 

Intelligence Corps

The Corps Historian,
Intelligence Corps Museum, DISC,
Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5PR.

Contacting Former Intelligence Corps Personnel:

The Secretary,
Intelligence Corps Association, DISC,
Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5PR.

Other Regiments and Corps

For more detailed research, once you have the personal records you seek, we suggest contacting (and visiting) the appropriate Museum of the Regiment or Corps.  Museum Curators, Archivists and Corps Historians have encyclopaedic knowledge of their specific units/collections and are a superb resource for the researcher.  There may be a charge of course for research, but a visit will contribute, not just the entrance fee, but to your broader understanding of the subject.

Regimental museums may be located through the following, but we advise, due to Regimental amalgamations in the 50’s – 70’s, careful determination of the appropriate Museum

Army Museums Ogilby Trust
(Registered Charity No: 250907)
58 The Close
Wiltshire SP1 2EX

Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1722 332188

Pre-World War II

Unit and personal records for military personnel serving before 1920 are held in the National Archives – although it should be noted that some World War I Army records were destroyed, courtesy of the Luftwaffe, in 1940.

The National Archives

The National Archives is probably the best place to start for any research in a family’s early military history.  There are plenty of help-sheets that will guide you through researching your family history.  You can search for individual servicemen and women, learn more about the different military branches and their roles in past conflicts and find expert advice on how to carry out your own research.  Their guides cover the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, and also the Merchant Navy.

Please see:




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