November 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. It’s probably a good time then to have a round up of some of the best sites containing British and Commonwealth military records. I’ve included the subscription sites as they contain a vast amount of military records, but many of the 20+ sites listed here are free to access.

Where to find British and Commonwealth Military Records. Bespoke Genealogy

Family Search

Go to Family Search

Terms: Free (registration required)

Family Search has indexes for UK World War One service records. Unfortunately you can’t access the images online unless you are a member of the Mormon Church, although you can visit a local Family History Centre to view them. Check their website to find your nearest centre.


Go to Findmypast

Terms: Subscription

Findmypast has a large collection of military records from the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. These include:

  • UK; 12.5 million records relating to several conflicts including the first and second world wars, the Napoleonic war, the Korean war and the Spanish Civil War.
  • Ireland; A large proportion of Irish men served in the British army until independence, so their records will be included in the UK collections. In addition FMP has records relating to the 1798 Rebellion and the 1916 Easter Rising.
  • United States and Canada; FMP holds 36 million US and Canadian military records from several conflicts including the American Civil War, Vietnam and Korea.

Australia and New Zealand; nearly 1 million records are held mainly related to the two world wars but also concerning local conflicts such as the New Zealand Maori campaigns


Go to Ancestry

Terms: Subscription

Ancestry has an extensive collection of military records from several conflicts including both world wars, the Boer War and the Napoleonic War. Check the card catalogue on the website for a full list.

The Genealogist

Go to The Genealogist

Terms: Subscription

This site has several military collections including some British regimental records and Muster Books and Pay Lists.

British Newspaper Archive

Go to the British Newspaper Archive

Terms: Subscription

The BNA is the online digital collection of the British Library and has the largest collection of British and Irish historical newspapers on the web. The collection dates from the 1700s and all military campaigns since then have been covered. In addition these collections contain useful birth, marriage and death notices as well as obituaries.

The National Archives (England & Wales)

Go to The National Archives

Terms: Pay per view for most online records

The National Archives (TNA) in London has a vast amount of military records going back centuries. A few collections such as some army service records can be viewed online (for a fee), but most have to be looked at in person at the TNA. There are some useful guides on the website explaining what records are held and how to use them.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Go to CWGC

Terms: Free

Find the graves of British and Commonwealth servicemen killed in action from the First World War onwards.

The Long, Long Trail – The British Army in the Great War of 1914-18

Go to the Long, Long Trail

Terms: Free

Information about the soldiers, regiments and battles of the British Army in the First World War

The Sandhurst Collection

Go to The Sandhurst Collection

Terms: Free to search, pay per view to download a record

Sandhurst has been the British Army’s officer training college since the 1700s. This website has records of most of the cadets who were at Sandhurst over the years.

Wellcome Library – Royal Army Medical Corps

Go to the Wellcome Library

Terms: Free

This Collection includes over 130,000 digitised pages of correspondence, reports, personal field diaries, memoirs, photographs and memorabilia belonging to the Army Medical Services Museum Trust.

Australian War Memorial

Go to AWM

Terms: Free

This Australian Government site has lots of information relating to the conflicts involving the country.

Library and Archives Canada

Go to LAC

Terms: Free

LAC has several military collections that can be accessed for free on their website including records from the war of 1812, the Boer War and both world wars.

Archives New Zealand

Go to ANZ

Terms: Free

The New Zealand Archives has First World War soldier service records available to access on their website

National Army Museum

Go to the National Army Museum

Terms: Free

Plenty of information about the history of the British Army.

Scotlands People

Go to Scotlands People

Terms: Pay per view

Scotland’s People has online records from the National Records of Scotland and is mostly used by genealogists for accessing Scottish vital records and census returns. However the site also has Scottish soldiers and airmen’s wills as well as military service appeals tribunal records.

War Memorials Register

Go to War Memorials Register

Terms: Free

Compiled by the Imperial War Museum, the War Memorials Register currently holds records of 74,000 memorials in the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Memorials often list the names of the individuals they commemorate.

Every One Remembered

Go to Every One Remembered

Terms: Free

This is a Royal British Legion project in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Its aim is to commemorate each of the 1.1 million men and women who died during the First World War. At the time of writing, over 760,000 people are remembered on the site with short biographies.

Anglo Boer War

Go to Anglo Boer War

This site remembers the Boer War, 1899-1902 as well as other South African conflicts between 1779 and 1906. It includes a database containing records of over 500,000 soldiers as well as a detailed chronology of the Boer War itself.

Forces War Records

Go to Forces War Records

Terms: Subscription

Subscription site containing 18 million personnel service records from several conflicts involving the British military.

Military Archives (Ireland)

Go to Military Archives

Terms: Free

Records available on this site include pension records, witness statements from the war of independence, 1922 Army census and accounts of the 1916 uprising

The Gazette

Go to The Gazette

Terms: Free

The Gazette newspapers (London Gazette, Edinburgh Gazette and Belfast Gazette) are the official publications of record of the British Government. The archive can be searched for free and contains over 350 years worth of valuable genealogical information. Military supplements are regularly published and can also be accessed in the archives. These supplements contain medals and awards information as well as deployment and promotion details.

For more information about this great free resource see my article on The Gazette.

Navy Lists on

Go to the Navy Lists

Terms: Free

Hosted on, this is the digitized collection of the British Navy Lists from the National Library of Scotland. The Navy Lists were published regularly from 1814 and contain details of officers in the service.

Naval History

Go to Naval History

Terms : Free

This site has a large collection of transcriptions of naval records dating back to 1815 with recent records that include the Falklands War.

Happy researching!

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