How to look for records of... Royal Naval Division personnel

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

How many are online?

  • Some

This guide provides advice on how to search for records of Royal Naval Division personnel, whether officers or ratings. When looking for a person who served in the Royal Naval Division, you may find his service history, next of kin, religion and personal description.

What do I need to know before I start?

The Royal Naval Division was established in 1914 and was made up of surplus members of various armed services.

The Royal Naval Division served on shore alongside the Army and was transferred into the control of the Army in 1916.

Online records

Service records (1914-1922)

Search and download (£) Royal Naval Division service records for officers and ratings (ADM 339) on Discovery, our catalogue.

Campaign medals (1914-1918)

Search and download (£) First World War medal index cards for a person in the Royal Naval Division who was awarded an Army campaign medal (WO 372).

War diaries (1914-1918)

Download (£) Royal Naval Division war diaries in WO 95/3118-9.

Search Ancestry (£) for a person who died in the Royal Naval Division during the First World War. These records were compiled from multiple sources, including The National Archives and the Imperial War Museum.

Records available only at The National Archives in Kew

To access these records you will either need to visit us, pay for research (£) or, where you can identify a specific £, order a copy (£).

War diaries and operational orders (1860-1937)

Read Royal Naval Division war diaries and operational orders in WO 95/4290-1 and ADM 137/3063-3088d.

Campaign and service medals (1793-1975)

Find out about campaign, long service and good conduct medals in the Royal Navy medal roll in ADM 171. The records are usually arranged by battle, ship, rank and then by name and do not usually contain biographical information.

Records in other archives and organisations

Record cards at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Contact the Fleet Air Arm Museum who hold Royal Naval Division record cards for the Divisional Engineers, Divisional Train, RM Medical Unit and Ordnance Company.

Records held elsewhere

The National Archives’ catalogue contains collections and contact details of local archives around the UK and beyond. To locate these records, search our catalogue with keywords and refine your results to ‘Other archives’ using the filters.

Other resources


Some or all of the recommended publications below may be available to buy from The National Archives’ Bookshop. Alternatively, search The National Archives’ Library to see what is available to consult at Kew.

Read Tracing Your Naval Ancestors by Bruno Pappalardo (The National Archives, 2003).

Consult the published Navy Lists and Army Lists to follow an officer’s career in the Royal Naval Division.

Read Family History in the Wars by William Spencer (The National Archives, 2007).

Simon Fowler, Tracing your Naval Ancestors (Pen & Sword, 2011)


Visit the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website to search for details of people who died in the First and Second World Wars.