Military funeral procession (Catalogue reference: AIR 27/1068)

This is an introductory guide to records of deaths of British and Commonwealth servicemen and women and also, to a lesser extent, civilians who died in the First and Second World Wars. This guide will help you to find out if the information you are looking for exists and, if it does, whether it is held at The National Archives or in other archives.

  • What do I need to know before I start?

    • Try to find out:

      • the name of the person
      • the approximate date of death
      • the branch of the armed forces and the unit, if applicable
  • What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?

    • Registers of naval personnel killed and wounded (1914-1929)

      Consult the registers of Royal Navy personnel killed and wounded 1914-1929 in ADM 104/145-149. Indexes are available on microfilm in ADM 104/140-143.

    • Lists of air casualties (1918)

      Look in the lists of air casualties and related correspondence in AIR 1/860/204/5/423.

    • Lists and registers of deaths in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines (1914-1920)

      Consult the war graves rolls in ADM 242/7-10 for officers and ratings who died during the First World War. Details include the ship's name, the cause of death and next of kin.

    • Enquiries into missing naval personnel (1939-1945)

      Search by name, or ship name, the Admiralty Casualty Branch's enquiries into missing personnel during the Second World War (ADM 358).

    • Army casualty lists (1939-1945)

      Browse by date the daily army casualty lists in WO 417 - these cover British Army officers, other ranks and nurses. They state the individual's rank, service number, date of becoming a casualty and type of casualty. It sometimes gives the unit/battalion number - you can use this to locate a unit war diary.

      The term 'casualty' covers anyone in the British Army who was killed, wounded, missing, or was a prisoner of war.

  • What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

    • Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service casualty cards

      Visit the RAF Museum for incomplete records of casualties mainly from Britain or the Western Front. Details include the cause of death or injury, type of aircraft involved, and sometimes next of kin.

    • Records held locally

      Search our catalogue and refine your results using the filters.

Did you know?

There were over a million deaths in the British military over the course of the First and Second World Wars, with the First World War alone accounting for some 886,000 fatal casualties in the British armed forces. In addition to this, there were close to 70,000 British civilian deaths, the vast majority of these occurring in the Second World War.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was set up in 1917 and aimed to commemorate all those in the Commonwealth forces who had died as a result of the First World War. This remit later expanded to include deaths during the Second World War.

Death certificates are not held at The National Archives.