Request records of deceased service personnel

Information on requesting records of deceased service personnel.

How to apply

To request records of a deceased service person, use the tools at Get a copy of military service records.

If you would prefer to post your application, you may complete the application form (all enquirers) and the relevant military service search forms at ‘Military service request forms.

What is held by MOD

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 (TNA).

TNA are in the process of cataloguing the service records being transferred by MOD, and capturing information so that they can be searched by a named individual.

Other ways to find service records

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

How long it takes

It may take up to a year for requests to be processed. However, we are working hard to reduce this as quickly as possible.

Further information about service records held by MOD

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is currently in the process of transferring circa 9.7 million Service records to The National Archives. The transfer is expected to complete in 2027.

More information on records that have been transferred to The National Archives.

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

The RN Disclosure Cell holds service records for commissioned and non-commissioned officers (both RN and RM) from 1926 onwards.

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

British Army

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.


The RAF Disclosures section holds service records for non-commissioned and commissioned RAF personnel dating back to 1920.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) considerations

In the absence of a death certificate or other legal declaration of death, the MoD adopts a policy of assuming that a person is alive until the age of 116. To avoid your request being refused on this basis, it would be useful to provide the following:

  • death certificate
  • If you’re applying online, the death certificate needs to be in digital format (PDF, PNG, or JPEG).

You do not need a copy of the death certificate if the person died in service or was born more than 116 years ago.

Unless an individual’s death occurred in the incident, it should be noted that personal information contained within a Casualty file may not be disclosed, although other non-personal data will normally be releasable

MOD will not disclose any information where release 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.

Published 9 November 2016
Last updated 2 October 2023 + show all updates
  1. Added information under 'How to apply' for posting application forms, and an update to 'What is held by MOD.'

  2. Updated information under 'What is held by MOD' and 'Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) considerations' sections.

  3. Removed content duplicated at

  4. Added link to the RAF online portal.

  5. Added a note regarding delays caused by COVID.

  6. Added accessible and fillable PDF versions of all the forms.

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

  8. Addition of Coronavirus update.

  9. Updated RAF part 2 form added.

  10. Updated all content and forms.

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

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

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

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

  15. First published.