Recent acquisitions: nominal roll of 2/8th Battalion
Official Records is pleased to announce the acquisition of original nominal roll cards of the 2/8th Australian Infantry Battalion into the National Collection. The nominal roll has been catalogued as AWM359 on the RecordSearch database.
Each card presents a record of service for an individual unit member. Their creation during the Second World War appears to have been an initiative of the battalion itself; i.e. they were not required to keep them, nor are they on official forms. Responsibility fell to each of the four company clerks of the battalion to create, manage and safeguard the cards. At the end of the war, the cards were transferred to Secretary of the 2/8th Association. The collection was managed as a membership database of the Association until they ceased activity in 2007. Later that year the cards were offered to the Memorial.
AWM359 consists of index cards, one for each individual of the battalion, upon which detailed service information is entered. The top section identifies the soldier’s regimental number, name and rank. The middle section (‘Remarks’) records the date and nature of his service. Typically, these consisted of routing, embarkation, battles and operations, injury, evacuation, promotion and home leave. The bottom of the card lists next of kin (relationship and address), date of birth, religion, civil occupation, date of enlistment, date of joining battalion and previous unit or regiment (if applicable).
The nominal roll is arranged alphabetically, reflecting the way the cards were used by the association secretary. They were subdivided as follows:
- Main roll (Items 1-8)
- Soldiers as members of the battalion for only a short time (9-10)
- Officers (11)
- Members killed in action (12)
- Members taken prisoner of war (13)
In order to safeguard the handling of the collection, the cards have now been divided into manageable quantities and housed in archival quality containers.
These records form an additional valuable source of information useful to researchers of individual soldiers or those researching the battalion as a whole. They should be used in conjunction with the official service records held by the National Archives of Australia and the 2/8th unit war diaries held by the Memorial.