First World War Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
First World War Royal Australian Navy
Researching Australian military service
Officers of the RAN, Royal Australian Naval Reserve (RANR), Royal Australian Naval Reserve [Seagoing] (RANR[S]), Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RANVR)
Biographical notes of officers whose names begin with A–H (information included up to 1940s) can be found in official record AWM124 2/5.
Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force
- First World War Embarkation Roll (AWM8) lists members of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) by unit and reinforcements. Please note this collection is incomplete.
- Nominal roll of Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force to New Guinea, 1914–1918 war [Military component] (AWM190) lists the military component of the AN&MEF to New Guinea, 1914–1918. Duplicates of AWM190 can be found in official record AWM190– which is available for viewing in the Research Centre.
1st Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train
The First World War Embarkation Roll (AWM8) lists members of the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train by unit and reinforcements. Some nominal rolls are also held in AWM37 16–18.
Personal service records
In general, these are not held by the Memorial. Please refer to National Archives of Australia's Fact Sheet 30 - Navy service records.
The Memorial does hold Australian Naval Forces Engagement and Service records, 1903-1911 (AWM266). Information includes:
- full name
- date and place of birth
- occupation prior to engagement, some physical characteristics
- names of ships served in, dates of service on these ships and rating
- some notes on discipline and reasons for discharge.
Where they served
The following sources, including volumes of the official history of Australia in the war of 1914–18, provide an authoritative account of the RAN's part in the First World War.
- S.S. McKenzie, Australians at Rabaul: the capture and administration of the German possessions in the South Pacific. The official history of Australia in the war of 1914–18, vol. X (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1940)
- Arthur W. Jose, The Royal Australian Navy 1914–1918. The official history of Australia in the war of 1914–18, vol. IX (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1941)
- John Bastock, Australia's ships of war (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1975). Contains specifications, illustration and history of each ship.
Several books by Vic Cassells provide concise information about RAN ships and personnel who died on RAN operations during war:
- Vic Cassells, The capital ships: their battles and their badges (East Roseville, NSW: Simon & Schuster, 2000)
- Vic Cassells, The destroyers: their battles and their badges (East Roseville, NSW: Kangaroo Press, 2000)
- Vic Cassells, For those in peril: a comprehensive listing of the ships and men of the Royal Australian Navy who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the wars of the twentieth century (Kenthurst, NSW: Kangaroo Press, 1995)
You may also find information by searching library catalogues for other books on individual ships or campaigns.
An incomplete set of ship's logs is held in AWM35. The set Includes signal logs. Only brief information about operations and engagements can be gained from these.
The papers of official naval historian Arthur W. Jose (AWM36) contain many files relating to naval activities in the First World War.
1st Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train
This unit was formed in Melbourne in 1915 from volunteers from the Royal Australian Naval Brigade. The unit served with the British army at Suvla, then for most of 1916 and part of 1917 on the Suez Canal . It was disbanded in May 1917.
Unit logs and diaries are held in AWM37, along with nominal rolls, disciplinary and other 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.
Medals and awards
Please 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.