To access these records you will either need to visit us, pay for research (£) or, where you can identify a specific record reference, order a copy (£).
British army unit war diaries (1939-1945)
Consult section 5 of the research guide British Army operations in the Second World War for information on how to search British Army unit war diaries for the Second World War.
Government and military records
Search and browse the following departments to gain an overview of government and military records for the Second World War:
- War Office (WO), Admiralty (ADM) and Air Force (AIR) – this is where most armed forces and general war records will be found
- Foreign Office (FO) – correspondence, policy and negotiation with other states
- Prime Minister’s Office (PREM) – mainly correspondence to and from the Prime Minister’s office
- Home Office (HO) – this series focuses on domestic and internal affairs
There is likely to be some overlap between separate departments on any given subject. For example, a decision made during the Second World War may have been informed by the Foreign Office (FO), discussed by the Cabinet (CAB) and Prime Minister (PREM), and then carried out by the Army (WO), Navy (ADM) and RAF (AIR).