Search all military records 1656 - 2005
The Military Collection
Search all of findmypast.co.uk's armed forces records, covering 1656 to 2005 - the most comprehensive set of British military records available online.
The collection covers World War One, World War Two and conflicts such as Waterloo, Trafalgar and the Boer Wars. You’ll find officers and soldiers of all ranks, and other servicemen such as RAF, Navy, Marines, and support personnel. Listed below is a selection of highlights from the military records which can provide detailed information about your ancestors.
The Chelsea Pensioners' British Army Service Records 1760-1913 are brought to you online in association with The National Archives (TNA). The TNA record series number is 'WO97': WO indicates that the records were created by the War Office, the precursor of today's Ministry of Defence. These records are of men pensioned out of the British Army 1760-1913. The connection with 'Chelsea Pensioners' is that the pensions were administered through The Royal Hospital at Chelsea. The great majority of pensioned soldiers were out-pensioners and did not reside at the Hospital itself.
The Militia Service Records 1806-1915 are brought to you online in association with The National Archives (TNA). The TNA record series number is 'WO96': WO indicates that the records were created by the War Office, the precursor of today's Ministry of Defence. The Militia was a voluntary county-based part-time force for home defence and many of its soldiers went on to join the regular army. As well as fighting in the militia, its men held down regular jobs so these records are very useful for finding out how your ancestors were employed. There is also detailed information about any achievements made while in the service and the physical appearance of the soldiers.
Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-19 was originally published by His Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO) in 1921. It was published in 80 parts. Most parts covered a single regiment, subdivided into its various battalions. However, some parts covered groups of credits such as the cavalry, smaller infantry regiments or other corps. 'Soldiers Died' covers deaths within the period from 4th August 1914 (the declaration of war) to 11th November 1918 (Armistice Day) and, in some but not all cases, up to 25th March 1921. The names of 661,960 other ranks are included within 'Soldiers Died'.
One of the most sought-after sets of reference books of the First World War is the National Roll of the Great War. The National Publishing Company attempted, shortly after hostilities ceased, to compile a brief biography of as many participants in the War as possible. The vast majority of entries refer to combatants who survived the Great War and the National Roll is often the only source of information available. Fourteen volumes were completed on a regional basis; this index database now allows simple searching of this unique reference source.
How to search the military records
We only need the last name of an ancestor to start searching these records for you. This is the only required piece of information – everything else is optional.
It's always best to start searching with basic information, like your ancestor's first and last name. If there are too many results, you can refine your search and add more detail.
You can click the 'refine search' button on the search results page to return to this search box and add more information.
If you know when your ancestor served in the armed forces
You can narrow down your search results by selecting 'World War One', 'World War Two' or by entering another date range.
You can remove any date ranges you've entered by clicking the 'clear' button.
Can't find who you're looking for?
- Try leaving some search boxes empty. Your ancestor's first name and the years they served may not be listed as you would expect, so the details you enter could exclude relevant results.
- If your ancestor's first or last name could be easily misspelled, try using a wildcard search. Just use a * symbol in place of a letter or multiple letters. For example, instead of searching for Jennings you could search for Je*ngs or *enning*.
- Bear in mind that names and dates of birth may not always have been recorded accurately. Many men signed up under an alias and may also have given a false age, because they were either below or above service age.