The Australian War Memorial website is a good place to start researching someone who served in the military during a war. Several sources on the Memorial’s website give basic information about a soldier such as service number, rank, date of joining and other details. These can be found on the People search page and include:
- First World War Embarkation Roll
- First World War Nominal Roll
- Roll of Honour (for those who died)
- Honours and Awards database (for those who were awarded medals other than general campaign medals)
- Red Cross Wounded and Missing files (information about some Australian soldiers who were reported wounded or missing)
The Embarkation Roll lists most of the members of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) as they left Australia for service overseas in the First World War. Embarkation means to board a ship for travel. The Embarkation Roll entry shows the date the soldier embarked, the name of the troopship on which they travelled and the date they boarded the ship. You can click on the link to view the digitised record to get more information including their age, occupation, where they lived, and who they named as their next of kin when they enlisted.
An Embarkation Roll search for Albert Thomas Abrey shows that he was a 23-year-old gardener from North Sydney. He embarked with the 1st Reinforcements, 1st Infantry Battalion on HMAT Themistocles on 22 December 1914. His service number was 1101. The roll also shows that Albert’s father lived in Sussex, England, and was named as his next of kin.