How to look for records of... Women in the British Army
How can I view the records covered in this guide?
How many are online?
The National Archives holds various records of women’s service in the British Army, though finding an individual’s record can be difficult. This short guide will outline the records which can be found and explain how to begin searching for them.
What do I need to know before I start?
Many army service records between 1914 and 1920 no longer exist as they were destroyed by German bombing in 1940; only about 7,000 Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps service records survive.
Try to find out:
- the name and rank of the person
- a date range to help focus the search
The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was formed in 1917 and was renamed the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1918; it was disbanded in 1921.
The Auxiliary Territorial Service was formed in 1938 and was succeeded by the Women’s Royal Army Corps in 1949, which was in turn fully integrated into the British army in 1992.
About 57,000 women joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, performing non-combatant roles such as clerical and mechanical work. Most of these served within the United Kingdom.
Service records (1917-1920)
Search and download £ the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps service records (WO 398) on our website.
Campaign medal records (1914-1920)
Search and download £ the index cards to First World War campaign medals (WO 372) on our website.
Records available only at The National Archives in Kew
Selected medical records of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (1914-1918)
Browse MH 106 for medical records of selected personnel. MH 106 is a representative sample and is not complete.
Selected honours (1917-1918)
Consult WO 162/65 for details of women who received honours OBE, CBE, MBE, DBE or Mentioned in Despatches.
Records in other archives and organisations
Service records (1938-present)
Visit the GOV.UK website for information about how to request a summary of a service record from the Ministry of Defence. These are not available to members of the general public, but next of kin may request access to them.
Search the London Gazette on The Gazette website for information about British army officers’ commissions and gallantry awards.
Visit The National Archives’ bookshop for a range of publications on tracing your military ancestors. Alternatively, look in The National Archives’ library catalogue to see what is available to consult at Kew.
William Spencer, ‘First World War Army Service Records’ (The National Archives, 2008)
Still need help?
For quick pointers
Tuesday to Saturday (excluding bank holiday weekends)
09:00 to 17:00
For more detailed research enquiries.
Discovery is a catalogue of archival records across the UK and beyond, from which you can search 32 million records.