Military vehicle records

19 February 2018 by Dianne Rutherford

The Memorial holds few records relating to specific military vehicles. Like all Commonwealth records available to the public, these records are catalogued on the National Archives RecordSearch database. The Memorial does not have the resources to conduct research for members of the public, so if you wish to check the files, you will need to visit the Memorial's Research Centre or hire a research agent.

First World War army

Crossley 20/25 Aviation Wagon
Crossley 20/25 Aviation Wagon

There is no one series or overall listing for First World War vehicles used by the AIF. Sometimes lists of vehicles appear in unit war diaries AWM4, usually in the appendices. While these are conveniently available online, the unit war diaries are a large collection to go through and are organised by unit, not vehicle.

Second World War army

Ford 3 ton F60L (long wheelbase) Cab 12 4x4 GS truck.
Ford 3 ton F60L (long wheelbase) Cab 12 4x4 GS truck

The Memorial holds the digitised series AWM126 Army vehicle registration books” which covers Army (AMF) registrations from 1939 to 1972, and Second AIF registrations from 1939 to 1942.

The records are ordered numerically by Army Registration Number (ARN). In order to easily search this series you look up the ARN. If all you know is an chassis or engine number, you will need to work your way through each of the thousands of records in turn.

The information listed varies, but can include:

  • Vehicle type (eg. truck, car, lorry, motorcycle)
  • Carrying weight
  • Body type (eg. General Service (GS), Kitchen, etc.)
  • Engine number
  • Chassis number
  • Wheelbase (not for Second AIF vehicles)
  • Model number or year (not for Second AIF vehicles)
  • Tyre size (not for Second AIF vehicles)
  • The Second AIF registers may include ship, port of embarkation, destination and date of departure for vehicles sent overseas
  • The registers may also include some disposals information but it is not available for every vehicle listed in the series.

Some accident reports are held in AWM63, the titles of these reports do not usually include the ARN but may record unit, driver or other car numbers (possibly the Commonwealth Registration number).

Vietnam

Land Rover Series 2 with 106 mm M40A2 Recoilless Rifle
Land Rover Series 2 with 106 mm M40A2 Recoilless Rifle

The Memorial holds several log books for Vietnam era Centurion tanks, some of which saw overseas service. These are held in series AWM350.

If a vehicle was in an accident during the Vietnam War, a report may still exist. These are spread throughout several series in the Research Centre. You can find them by searching the vehicle’s ARN, the driver’s surname (if you know it) or the words “vehicle” and “accident” on RecordSearch.

RAN and RAAF

The Memorial does not hold registers or records for Navy or RAAF vehicles and cannot advise on where these records, if they still exist, are located.

Last updated: 02/21/2018