Guidance

Request records of deceased service personnel

Information and forms for requesting records of deceased service personnel.

What is held?

The MOD is the custodian of the records of service personnel and Home Guard records until they are opened to general public access at The National Archives.

Subject to the payment of an administration fee and provision of a copy of a death certificate (except where death was in service), certain information can be provided from the records of service of deceased service personnel on request under the publication scheme.

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 service person, the MOD will (if held) disclose:

  • 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 (decorations of valour) awarded, some of which may have been announced in the London Gazette.

After the 25 year period, MOD will also disclose the additional information (if held) below:

  • the units in which he/she served
  • the dates of this service and the locations of those units
  • the ranks in which the service was carried out and details of campaign medals awarded.

Within the 25 year period, where the consent of the immediate next of kin has been given, the additional information above will be released to a third party applicant.

Administration fee

A £30 administration fee is applied for each service record requested. The fee is non-refundable.

The fee entitles applicants to information from the service record of a deceased service person. Information held varies (dependent upon which service and time period). In some cases, little or no information will be held.

The £30 fee is waived for applicants who, on the death of the service person, holds the following relationship status:

  • spouse
  • civil Partner
  • parent (where no spouse or civil partner).

Applicants who do not hold the above status at the time of death will be required to make the administration fee payment on application.

Requirement for a death certificate

To process your application, a death certificate (except where death was in service) must be provided before any information can be released.

In the absence of a death certificate, the MOD:

  • will assume that a person is still alive until they would have reached 116 years of age
  • will accept a formal legal document which states that the individual has been legally declared dead (declared death in absentia or legal presumption of death)
  • will make an assessment of the release of information using the 25 year threshold mentioned above
  • may not be able to fully consider your request and will write to you again.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) considerations

While MOD aims to provide information where the above conditions are met, it will not disclose any information under the publication scheme where this could prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of its forces.

In the very rare case where release of information from a service record might be prejudicial or cannot be released for other reasons, the applicant will be advised of the relevant FOIA statutory exemption that applies to its non-disclosure.

Before you apply

Before applying you are advised to carry out searches from sources that provide access to the details of deceased service personnel at no cost:

The principal function of the CWGC is to mark, record and maintain the graves, and places of commemoration of Commonwealth military service members who died in the two World Wars.

How to apply

Fill in 2 forms: a request form and a search form:

Request form (form 1)

Download and complete either:

PDF versions of form 1 are also available:

Search form (form 2)

Download and complete the relevant service form:

PDF versions of form 2 are also available:

Post form 1 and form 2

  1. Include supporting documents, such as a death certificate.

  2. Enclose the £30 fee for each separate record. You can pay by cheque, postal order or banker’s draft. If you’re overseas, you can pay by international money order.

  3. Send both forms to the address provided on the search form.

Further information about service records held by MOD

Information held by MOD on Royal Navy (RN), Royal Marines (RM), British Army, Royal Air Force (RAF) service records and Home Guard records.

Royal Navy and Royal Marine service records

The RN Disclosure Cell holds service records for commissioned and non-commissioned officers (both RN and RM) from 1926 onwards. Information from these records can be requested under the MOD Publication Scheme.

Records prior to 1926, including records for World War 1 service, are held by The National Archives.

British Army service records

The Army Personnel Centre (APC) Historical Disclosures Section holds army service records for officers whose service ended after April 1922 and soldiers whose service ended after January 1921. APC also holds some records for the Foot Guards (not Scots Guards) back to 1750. Information from these records can be requested under the MOD Publication Scheme.

RAF service records

The RAF Disclosures section holds service records for non-commissioned and commissioned RAF personnel dating back to 1920. Information from these records can be requested under the MOD Publication Scheme.

Published 9 November 2016
Last updated 9 July 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added accessible and fillable PDF versions of all the forms.

  2. Removed the COVID-19 notice as it is no longer relevant.

  3. Addition of Coronavirus update.

  4. Updated RAF part 2 form added.

  5. Updated all content and forms.

  6. Updated National Archives information in the section: Royal Navy and Royal Marine service records.

  7. Added a slight amendment to the wording to clarify that a copy of a death certificate is acceptable for submission.

  8. Updated the RAF request for service details forms with amended payment information.

  9. Updated the General Enquirers and next of kin forms in line with the new GDPR regulations.

  10. First published.