British Service records on the move


20 April 2022
The National Archives has announced that an initial tranche of Ministry of Defence service personnel records will go on to its catalogue, the first of 9.7 million records that will be transferred from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) over a six-year period.

The records are those in series WO 420 and relate to the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers regiment. They relate to service personnel with a date of birth greater than 115 years.

Service records are a record of an individual’s time in the military. The information contained in the record typically consists of personal information and interactions between the individual and the part of the armed forces they served with, such as record of service, disciplinary and conduct sheets, service postings and information captured when they first signed up.

In February 2021, the MOD began the transfer of historic service personnel records to The National Archives and since then, staff have been preparing the records for access. 

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Professional military researcher Simon Fowler told Family Tree: ’This is a most welcome surprise, although it will be a few years yet before all MOD’s service records are available in this way. REME was formed in 1942. With minor exceptions, the Corps is responsible for the examination, modification, repair and recovery of all mechanical, electronic, electrical and optical equipment of the Army beyond the capacity of unit non-technical personnel. They are a key component of an increasingly mechanised army.’

Currently, documents can only be viewed when ordered in advance (4 days) and advice on how to access records can be found here.