By far the most common problem that people researching their family trees come across is a shortage of accessible records relating to the Second World War. The Public Records Act governs which materials created by the government can be released over what timescales. To begin with the rule was that records over 50 years old could be released to the Public Records Office or The National Archives. That timescale was later reduced to 30 years, and more recently to 20. However, there are numerous exceptions which continue to restrict access, e.g. when release of records may cause damage to the countryís image, national security or foreign relations.
Records from the Second World War fall under these restrictions, as many of the men and women who served are still alive and wouldnít want personal information disclosed. Thus, you wont find the full service record for a relative who fought in that war anywhere except with the Ministry of Defence.
Other Second World War servicemanís record may be found however, such as those listing his or her death, casualty/missing reports, capture or medals awarded. Forces War Records, for example has a total of 4 million World War Two records, these are made up from some of the following collections:
- WWII Daily reports (missing, dead, wounded & POWs)
- Bomber/Fighter Command Losses 1939-1945
- Imperial Prisoners of war held in Japan
- Prisoners of War of the British Empire held in Germany 1939-45
- Forces War Records database also includes many more collections from Rolls of honour, IWGC Registers, UK Army Lists, nominal rolls, Home Guard records, RAF, Navy collections and SO much more.
Do you know enough about your ancestors who fought in the Second World War?
Log on to Forces War Records and find out more.
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26-01-2018, 12:38 PM #1
- Join Date
- Apr 2013
Forces War Records - 4 million WW2 records
17-10-2018, 10:14 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
Great post Neil.
I would add, over 2 million of Forces War Records are exclusive to be found nowhere else. The full list can be found here (the exclusive collections have green ticks against them) https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/collections/
In addition since your post Forces War Records now has over 20 million total records!
Not forgetting all Forces War Records uploads have been expertly transcribed in the UK (the only site to do this) to try and ensure maximum accuracy. I guess we've all seen examples of poor transcriptions in the past! Forces War Records goes the extra mile to try and avoid this.
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