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Military Ancestors

Do you have a soldier, sailor or pilot in your family tree?

Do you want to find out more about them?

Trace the careers of service ancestors: what they did, where they served, what life – military and social - was like over the centuries.

Hampshire Archives and Local Studies provides a short guide to sources you can use to trace army ancestors.

These sources are located at The National Archives, regimental museums and Hampshire Archives and Local Studies.

Hampshire's military museums  look after important records relating to their regiments, corps or service, and their expert staff and volunteers can help you trace ancestors who served their country in the forces.

Winchester’s Military Museums may have photographs, war diaries and chronicles which will provide background information on the unit in which your ancestor served, where it was stationed, and what action it saw, if your ancestor served in the:

• Hampshire Regiment
• Rifle Brigade/King’s Royal Rifle Corps/Royal Green Jackets
• King’s Royal Hussars
• Gurkhas
• Royal Army Pay Corps/Royal Army Educational Corps/Women's Royal Army Corps/Royal Military Police (predecessors of the Adjutant General’s Corps).

Service records for individuals who served in the Navy or RAF/Royal Flying Corps are located at The National Archives.

If your ancestor was a Royal Marine or submariner, these museums hold collections which may provide more details, and their expert staff and volunteers can help you.

If your ancestor was in the Royal Naval Air Service or the Fleet Air Arm, contact the Fleet Air Arm Museum which holds wide-ranging collections, and its expert staff can help you.

If your ancestor served in the Royal Navy, the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth has a useful list of sources but doesn’t hold personnel records.

If your ancestor served in the RAF or Royal Flying Corps, service records are held at The National Archives. The RAF Museum in North London also holds useful sources.