TNA update on the transfer of 10 million UK Military Service Records

Updated: Apr 20

If you read my previous post on ‘WW2 Service Records’ then this update will be of interest to you!


The National Archives at Kew have since announced that following discussions over a number of years, in February of this year the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has begun to transfer about 10 million personnel records to TNA for permanent preservation & that these will be transferred to Kew over the next 6 years in batches.


These records are from all 3 services; the Royal Navy, Army & Royal Air Force & will only include records of those who have a birth date up to or prior to 1939. These records include approx. 500,000 with First World War Service, although the majority relate to those who served during World War Two.


The MOD & National Archives recognise the significance of these documents & are therefore working to ensure that the long-term preservation of these documents can be assured before they are made available both online & on site at TNA, Kew.


TNA have stated that this is the most complex transfer of public records since they began & at an estimated 33 linear kilometers of records the project carries significant logistical & operational overheads.


Aware that Family Historians & Military Researchers are keen to access these records, TNA have stated that they need to ensure that these documents are stored adequately to ensure they will not suffer from damage or degrade in any way. They will also require scanning, indexing & cataloguing all of which is a huge undertaking!


Naturally they may contain personal data which may include medical information, details of children etc. Therefore, to protect the information in these records, closure will apply until 115 years has past the birth date of the individual. This does not clarify if only that particular portion of the record will not be made available or if the full record will be subject to this 115-year rule, however they do state that requests under data protection & freedom of information laws can be made, more than likely under the same process they currently adopt.


The normal process of applying for service records will continue until these are made available.


If you want to know how to do this check out my previous article on 'WW2 Service Records'


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