Commemorative Roll Introduction
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 is in the form of:
- a Commemorative Book located in the Memorial’s Commemorative Area;
- the Commemorative Roll database, accessible through the Memorial’s website; and
- the list of names on the Merchant Navy memorial.
The Commemorative Roll includes the names of those Australians who in other respects would qualify as eligible for the Roll of Honour, but who were:
- members of the armed forces of allied countries;
- members of the Merchant Navy;
- members of philanthropic organisations;
- war correspondents, photographers, or artists;
- munitions and other workers;
- official historians.
In addition, a person must have been born in Australia, or have had Australia as his or her last place of domicile.
Records in the Commemorative Roll contain the personal particulars, unit and the date of death of each person. Some records may contain cemetery or memorial details and next of kin.
The Commemorative Roll was primarily developed through appeals to the public for nominations, beginning in 1981. Other names were obtained from other sources, such as Merchant Navy records and service records of Allied Forces. These names were originally added to index cards which form part of the Memorial’s Official Records collection and are known as AWM272, Card Index supporting the Australian War Memorial Commemorative Roll, 1981–90. Subsequent details of individuals are recorded in the Memorial’s correspondence files.
A small percentage of the Commemorative Roll records have digital images of Roll of Honour circulars attached. For the First World War the circulars were forms sent to next of kin seeking details regarding the deceased. For the Second World War these were forms completed by the Directorate of the War Graves Services. These circulars were completed in anticipation that the deceased would be eligible for the Roll of Honour. Where the deceased was not eligible for the Roll of Honour, but was eligible for the Commemorative Roll, the corresponding circular has been attached. Unfortunately circulars were not completed for each of the deceased.
The search will automatically search using a wildcard at the end of the name you search. For example a search using John will return results with John, Johns, Johnston, Johnstone, etc.
You can also search using wildcards in the middle of a name. If you are unsure of a single letter within a name, search using a full stop in place of the letter. For example a search using Sm.th will return results with Smith and Smyth
If it is possible there is more than one letter in the variation use an asterix in place of the letters. For example a search using M*Donald will return results with McDonald and MacDonald. It will also return instances of first names with m and the surname Donald, for example Michael Donald.
To search for an exact phrase, enclose the name in quotation marks. This will return results with the name in the order you have specified. For example a search using “John Smith” will return results with John Smith, Robert John Smith, etc.
The search will match the number you enter into this field. So if you search using 10 with will return all results with 10 in the service number field.
If you are unsure of a single digit within a service number you can search using a full stop in place of that digit. For example a search using 10.7 will return 1007, 1017, 1027, 1037, etc.
If you are unsure of more than one digit within a service number you can search using an asterix in place of the digits. For example a search using 1*7 will return 17, 107, 1007, 10007, etc.
The search will automatically search using a wildcard at the end of the terms you search. For example a search using 2 Batt will return 2 Batt, 2 Battalion, 2 Battery, 2nd Battalion, 21 Batt, 21 Battalion, 2/1 Battalion, 2/1st Battalion, etc.
Please note that unit names are not entered in the database consistently so a unit name may be recorded in a number of ways. For example the 2 Battalion could be entered as 2 Batt, 2nd Batt, 2 Battalion, 2nd Battalion, 2 Battalion Australian Infantry, 2nd Battalion Australian Infantry.
Date of death
If searching using date of death you must include the year of death.
Enquiries relating to information contained in Commemorative Roll, including corrections, should be directed to HonourRolls@awm.gov.au.
For military service records of Australian's serving with Allied forces, please refer to Records of service in forces of other countries.