The National Archives (TNA) has awarded the contract to digitise Ministry of Defence (MOD) service personnel records to commercial family history website Ancestry.


On its Facebook page, TNA said: “We’re pleased to announce that we've awarded Ancestry UK the contract to digitise the first tranche of MOD service personnel records.

“Both parties are looking forward to working to make these important records accessible in digital format.”

In a blog post on its website Ancestry said the more than three million records, including Second World War records, would be released between 2024 and 2029.

The service and casualty form from a Second World War personnel service record

Previously, all British military service records dating from after 1920 were held by the MOD.

MOD records of deceased servicemen and women can only be ordered by their next of kin for a £30 fee, although the fee will be abolished from 1 April 2023.

The ordering process can take up to a year.

In February 2021 the MOD began transferring 9.7 million military records for individuals with a discharge date before 31 December 1963 to TNA.

Records for regiments including the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, the Army Air Corps, the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the Royal Military Police or Corps of Military Police, the Royal Army Pay Corps, the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, the Military Provost Staff Corps, the Royal Corps of Army Music, the Royal Army Education Corps, the Royal Pioneer Corps, the Intelligence Corps, the Officer Training Corps, and the Non-Combatant Corps, are already searchable on TNA’s online catalogue.

Any member of the public can search for the records, and they can either view the records at TNA for free or order a copy for a fee.


Rosemary Collins is the features editor of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine