Military and intelligence
Among the most sought-after records of British Army operations in the Second World War are unit war diaries, which provide information on the activities of army units down to battalion level. There is a separate but related guide on how to find military maps.
Read our guide to Royal Navy operations for an overview of naval records, including ship’s logs, convoys, combined operations and naval aviation services.
Consult our guide to RAF operations for a description of operational records and how to find them, including records of squadrons and units, station records, crashes and combat reports.
For advice on finding records of Special Operations Executive (SOE), signals intelligence and code breaking and other intelligence matters, see our intelligence and security services guide.
For advice on finding digitised records recording the movements of British and Allied merchant ships, consult our guide to merchant shipping movement cards.
For information on finding records of air raid damage between 1940 and 1945, see the guide to records of the Bomb Census.
Use our guide to land requisitioned for war for guidance on finding records of land requisitioned by the military and by the state during the war.
Our guide to the National Farm Survey of England and Wales gives advice on finding records and maps from the 1941 to 1943 survey which aimed to collect data on every farm or holding of more than five acres in England and Wales.
Though we do not generally hold photographs of individuals, there are large numbers of photographs depicting elements of military operations, some of them taken as part of the operations themselves, and some from the Home Front too. Consult the Second World War section of our photographs guide for more details and advice on how to find photographs at The National Archives.