Researching Australian military service: Malayan Emergency, 1948–1960


Australian military history overview: Malayan Emergency 1950–60

Nominal Roll

"Nominal roll of the Australian Military Forces who qualified for the General Service Medal Bar Malaya ", in Neil C. Smith, Mostly unsung: Australia and the Commonwealth in the Malayan Emergency 1948–1960 (Melbourne, 1989), appendix 8, pp. 47–125

Personal service records

Service records of those who served with Australian forces are held by the National Archives of Australia. You can apply to the National Archives for copies of personal service records.

Those who died while serving

The Roll of Honour records the names of servicemen and servicewomen 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.

Where they served


War diaries were kept by the commanding officer of the unit to record their daily activities and location. The war diaries are held in the official records series AWM95, which has been digitised and is available for viewing on the Memorial's website.

Royal Australian Navy

Reports of Proceedings (ROPs), known previously as “Letters of Proceedings”, are summaries of a ship’s or shore base’s activities. The reports were submitted by commanding officers to the Chief of Naval Staff. To identify relevant ROPs in the Memorial’s collection use the RecordSearch database, entering the name of the ship as your keyword and AWM78 in the series number field. These records are available for viewing in the Research Centre. The Memorial is progressively digitising its collection of ROPs, many of which are now available for viewing online.

Royal Australian Air Force

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) formation and unit records (AWM64) were kept to record operations and activities of RAAF units. The records are available for viewing on microfilm in the Research Centre. The original records have been withdrawn from public access due to their fragile nature. Original records are only issued when no microfilm copy is available. The National Archives of Australia has a duplicate eries A9186, many records of which have been digitised and are available online through the RecordSearch database.

Official history

Official histories are a detailed chronological record of all services and all theatres of a conflict. Volume 5 of The Official History of Australia's Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-1975 deals with Australian military involvement of all three services in the Malayan Emergency and Indonesian/Malaysian Confrontation:

Peter Dennis and Jeffery Grey, Emergency and Confrontation: Australian military operations in Malaya and Borneo 1950-1966 (Allen and Unwin and the Australian War Memorial: Sydney, 1996).

For further information refer to our guide Researching the history of a unit.

Medals and awards

Refer to our research guides:

Where to look for photographs

  • Collections Search gives access to images of photographs held by the Memorial.
  • Trove includes photographs and other images held by a range of major Australian libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions.