UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) service personnel records will go on to the National Archives catalogue and be made available for ordering this week. These are the first of 9.7 million records that will be transferred from MOD over a six-year period.

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.

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

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. This work is continuing and updates are expected when more records are available.

Currently, documents can only be viewed when ordered in advance (four days) which allows The National Archives to ensure the preparation of the records before viewing and allows them to monitor usage and popularity, which in turn will enable them to react to researcher requirements.

Advice on how to access records can be found here.