Basic sources for tracing World War II soldiers

Somerset & Dorset Family History Society

The SDFHS Military Advisor, Col Iain Swinnerton, summarises basic sources for tracing British soldiers who served in the Second World War. (Note: the details below apply equally towomen.)

Service Records

All records of post-1920 servicemen are confidential and remain with the Ministry of Defence (MOD). They are available free of charge to the man himself.

However, in recognition of the duty of care owed to the family of the deceased subject, for a period of 25 years following the date of death of the subject and without the consent of the next of kin, the MOD will disclose only: 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 awarded…

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