Researching Australian military service: First World War, 1914-1918
- First World War nominal roll: lists the majority of those who served overseas with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
- First World War unit embarkation roll: includes nominal rolls of the AIF, including the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) and the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train (RANBT), and the military component of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF), as they embarked for overseas service. For information about the content of the Embarkation Roll, please read the detailed description.
- Name search: select Australian Defence Force personnel records from the drop-down menu and search using surname.
Unit histories: Some published unit histories provide lists of names of their members, usually with service number. Search for published unit histories on the Memorial’s Books database using the name of the unit with the date range 1914-1918, for example,” 21st Battalion 1914-1918”
Officers: Annual volumes of Staff, regimental and gradation list of officers: Australian Imperial Force, held by the Research Centre
Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force to New Guinea (ANMEF)
- First World War Unit Embarkation Rolls
- Nominal roll of Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force to New Guinea, 1914–18 war, AWM190 1–3 available in the Research Centre (includes military component only)
- [Official History, 1914-18 War: Records of Charles E W Bean, Official Historian:] List, n.d.; covers the officers who served in the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, AWM38 3DRL 6673/144 List incomplete, not dated
First World War service records are held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA). For information regarding viewing or obtaining copies of these records please visit the NAA information page Australian Service Records from World War I.
If a soldier saw service in both the First and the Second World Wars, the record has usually been amalgamated in the Second World War service record.
The Roll of Honour records the names of servicemen and women who died during or as a result of service with Australian military forces. The Roll of Honour introduction provides detailed information about Roll of Honour eligibility.
The Commemorative Roll commemorates Australians who died during or as a result of wars or warlike operations in which Australians have been on active service but who were not eligible for inclusion on the Roll of Honour. The Commemorative Roll introduction provides detailed information about Commemorative Roll eligibility.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists all British Commonwealth soldiers who died in the First and Second World wars only. The register provides details about where the individual is buried or commemorated, and includes plans and photographs of the cemetery or memorial.
Details of circumstances of deaths or wounding
- Australian Red Cross Society, Missing and Wounded Enquiry Bureau files: displays the digitised files for 23,000 servicemen reported missing or wounded after July 1916, including additional information, such as where and how the person died, physical description, and initial burial details; not all casualties have a file
- Official casualty lists issued by the Australian Military Forces, available in the Reading Room, are arranged by military districts within each list, then by categories (e.g. killed in action, wounded, prisoners of war); gives name, rank, unit, and date of death only
- Enquiry lists issued by the British Red Cross and Order of St John, available in the Reading Room, are arranged by unit and give name, service number, and dated report of wounded, missing, or killed
- Published unit histories and unit war diaries may provide information on location and general circumstances of the unit on the date of death.
- First World War, 1914-1918 units: Australians at War provides an outline of the service and battle honours of First World War infantry, mounted, naval, and Australian Flying Corps units
- War diaries record the daily activities of a unit
- See also the information sheet Researching the history of a unit
- Honours and awards database: please note that not all those recommended for an award received one.
- Information sheet: Campaign and service medals
- Information sheet: Australian military honours and awards
- Collections Search gives access to images displayed online.
- Trove can search photographs and other images held by a range of major Australian libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions.
- State libraries and archival repositories. For contact details see our information sheet Addresses.
- There are a number of memorial volumes containing brief biographies and photographs issued during and after the First World War. Most of these were state based. Only some of those who enlisted are included and details were usually provided by relatives. Some titles are:
- The all-Australia memorial: a historical record of national effort during the Great War: Australia's roll of honour: history, heroes and helpers (Melbourne: British–Australasian Publishing Service, 1917–19)
- Owen Wildman, Queenslanders who fought in the Great War (Brisbane: Besley & Pike, 1919).
- Australia's fighting sons of the Empire: portraits and biographies of Australians in the Great War (Sydney: B. Jackson & Co., 1919)
- Australia's fighting sons of the empire: portraits and biographies of Australians in the Great War (Perth: Palmer & Ashworth, 1919).
First World War official history biographical files
Biographical information on individuals, sometimes including post-war information, collected by the official historian. The following official record series are both arranged alphabetically by surname:
- AWM140 biographical cards microfiche in the Research Centre
- AWM43 biographical and other research files individual names indexed on RecordSearch. Search using the person's name.