The RAN crew of HMAS Perth presenting for inspection by Prime Minister MenziesArmy personnel in Gorari, New GuineaThe RAAF crew of a Halifax aircraft, Squadron 466Australian Army Medical Women's Service (AAMWS) members after returning home from Balikpapan aboard the aircraft carrier HMS VengeanceA group of the Merchant Navy survivors off the Macdhui
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About this Nominal Roll


Table Of Contents

What is the World War Two Nominal Roll?
Who is included?
Who is not included?
How was the Roll compiled?
Where are the service records held?
Glossary of Ranks
Assistance with research
What if an individual doesn't want to be listed on the Nominal Roll?
Search criteria
Data collected
Printing a Certificate
Printing other pages
Accuracy of data collection
The data collection process
What service documents were used to source this information?
Was the information always available from these service documents for each individual?
Were problems experienced in recording the information contained in these documents?
What processes were used to overcome difficulties?
How to contact us
Commonwealth disclaimer
No Spam
Copyright © Commonwealth of Australia 2002.
 
What is the World War Two Nominal Roll? back to top  
 
The World War Two Nominal Roll was created to honour and commemorate some one million people who served in Australia's defence forces and the Merchant Navy during this conflict.

The Nominal Roll provides all Australians with access to an index of information from approximately one million records of servicemen and women who were in Australia's defence forces and the Merchant Navy during World War Two.

The Nominal Roll also provides a 'snapshot' of individual service, by displaying a range of information on each person, gathered from service records. For more detailed information on an individual, please refer to complete service records held by the National Archives of Australia.

 
Who is included? back to top  
 
The Nominal Roll contains the service details of some one million individuals who served with Australia's defence forces and the Merchant Navy during the period 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945. The number of individuals collected for the Nominal Roll include some 50,600 members of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), 845,000 from the Australian Army, and 218,300 members of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as well as approximately 3,500 merchant mariners.
 
Who is not included? back to top  
 
Australians who served with other Commonwealth or Allied Forces are not included in this Nominal Roll. Respective overseas countries may hold the World War Two service records for those Australians. In addition, those who served in the Australian Women's Land Army, the Australian Red Cross and philanthropic organisations, are not included in this Roll.

To obtain the contact details for overseas service records, click on the relevant country below:

The Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Republic of South Africa
United Kingdom
United States
 
How was the Roll compiled? back to top  
 
The Nominal Roll was compiled by extracting data from original service records held by the Department of Defence. Data for merchant mariners was retrieved from the microfilm of service record cards held by the National Archives of Australia. Additional information concerning those who died was obtained from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
 
Where are the service records held? back to top  
 
The records of those who served for the period of World War Two are held by the National Archives of Australia.

An index of the service records can be viewed on the Archives website. For a small fee, a photocopy of a service record can be purchased.

The records of those who continued to serve post-World War Two are held by the Department of Defence.

Merchant Navy records are held on microfilm by Archives.
 
Glossary of Ranks back to top  
 
A Glossary of Ranks page has been produced to assist with the service ranks and abbreviations used during World War Two.
 
Assistance with research back to top  
 
Should you require assistance to undertake further research, the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives of Australia are available to assist you.
 
What if an individual doesn't want to be listed on the Nominal Roll? back to top  
 
Individuals were given an opportunity to have their service details excluded from the website prior to it being published.

However, should a veteran still wish to exclude their details, they should submit a written request to:

World War Two Nominal Roll
Department of Veterans' Affairs
GPO Box 9998
CANBERRA ACT 2601


If you are a relative or acting on behalf of a veteran, you will need to include in your letter documentary proof of your bona fides, such as an enduring power of attorney.
 
Search criteria back to top  
 
In the majority of cases, the more information you include in your search request, the more success you will have in locating an individual.

The exception will be where an individual is more commonly known by their second or third given name, rather than their first given name. For example, the service record may have the name 'Alphonse William Smith'. However, the individual may be more commonly known as 'Bill Smith'. In this example, a search of the Nominal Roll for 'Bill Smith' may not deliver a satisfactory result. In this case it would be better to search by Smith, combined with a particular service.

For family names such as O'Meara, if an initial search fails to locate the required individual, try searching on O' Meara or OMeara, combined with a particular service.

Search fields are not case sensitive.
 
Data collected back to top  
 
For each person, the following information has been data collected from the original service record:

Field Description
Name The individual's full name as recorded on the official record of service document.

If the individual served under an alias, that information will also be displayed where known. Nicknames will not be displayed, as they are not recorded on the service record.

If a woman married while enlisted, and the military authority amended the service record to her married surname, then that surname will be displayed. This approach has been taken so that the displayed surname aligns with the surname recorded on the paper service record. In such cases, a maiden name has not been collected.

Service Reference to one of the three services of Australia's defence forces - Royal Australian Navy (RAN); Australian Army; Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF); or the Australian Merchant Navy (MN).

Where an individual served in more than one of the three services, each period of service will be displayed as a separate record. To view all records for an individual, select 'ALL' in the Service box.

Service number The number allocated to the individual on enlistment into one of Australia's three armed services. This number may be numeric, or an alpha/numeric combination. RAN officers, some RAN ratings and merchant mariners do not have a service number. In these cases, the words 'not applicable' will be displayed in the Service Number field on the Service Record screen.

In selecting the information to be displayed on the website, the Department was aware that some Defence Force members had multiple periods of service. The Nominal Roll aims to show a separate entry for each continuous period of service within the one armed service so that breaks in service are clear. However, particularly for Army veterans, the way the individual's service dossier was managed during, and after, the War made this a difficult task. In some individual cases, each period of service was filed on its own dossier with its unique service number. In other cases, the periods of service had been amalgamated into one service dossier and stored under the one service number. This service number is usually the number for the latter period of service. The Department will, on a case by case basis, review an individual's dossier/s and amend the details displayed on the Nominal Roll.

The service number under which the paper service record is stored is displayed first. Any other known service numbers relevant to this period of service are displayed in brackets.

Where an individual served in more than one of the three services, the record(s) will be displayed for each service.
Date of birth The date nominated by the individual as their date of birth. Generally for merchant mariners, only the year of birth is recorded.

Place of birth The city/town/country nominated by the individual as their place of birth.

Date of enlistment/engagement Army and RAAF - The date an individual signed their enlistment Attestation Form.

RAN - The date an individual signed their Record of Service card.

Merchant Navy - The date a merchant mariner engaged on a ship immediately prior to or during the war.

Locality on enlistment/engagement The residential address nominated by the individual as being their home address at the time of enlistment/engagement.

Place of enlistment/engagement
Army and RAAF - The city/town/country where the individual was recruited into Australia's defence forces.
Merchant Navy - The port where the merchant mariner signed on as a member of a ship's crew at the commencement or during the war.
Home Port/Port Division
The port designated as the individual's home port on the Record of Service card.
Next of kin The person nominated by the individual as being the next of kin during World War Two or at time of discharge.

Date of discharge/last engagement The date the individual was officially discharged from Australia's defence forces. For merchant mariners the last engagement date is the date they left their last ship during or immediately after the end of the war.

Date of death Indicates the date of death, during war service, of the individual as recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. For the purposes of the Commission, the period of World War Two is 3 September 1939 to 31 December 1947.

Where an individual was discharged and subsequently died from war service prior to 31 December 1947, the Commission records their death. In these cases, both dates will be displayed.

Rank/capacity The substantive rank (excludes brevet, honorary, acting or temporary) held by the individual at their date of discharge/death.

For merchant mariners it is the capacity (rank) held on their last ship during or immediately after the war or at the time of their death.

Posting at discharge or death/last ship The last posting in which the individual served prior to their discharge or death. In collecting this information, every endeavour has been made to avoid postings that were considered non-effective(for example, a hospital unit) or to which an individual was allotted for discharge purposes only.

For merchant mariners, 'last ship' indicates the name of the ship on which the mariner served at the war's end or at the time of their death.

WW2 Honours and Gallantry Indicates any Imperial honour or gallantry award conferred on an individual during World War Two, and that entitles the recipient to use a post-nominal after their name. For example, the Military Medal (MM).

As the Mentioned-in-Despatches (MID) does not entitle the recipient to use a post-nominal, it is not displayed on the Nominal Roll. In deciding not to display the MID, the Department also took into consideration that the MID was not a medal in its own right. Rather, the award of an MID is signified by the Oakleaf device which is always worn on another medal. For World War Two service the MID is worn on the ribbon of the War Medal, 1939-1945. Furthermore, the MID does not appear on the Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards approved from time to time by the Governor-General or in past London Gazettes. The latest Order of Wearing is listed in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No. S101 of 4 April 2002. Gazette S101 may be viewed at the http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au website. This position is consistent with both the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Office of Australian War Graves who do not include the MID on their official commemorations.

Campaign stars, service medals, commemorative medals, or medals and honours conferred by a foreign country, are also not included.

The issuing of honour and gallantry awards and service and campaign medals are the responsibility of the Department of Defence. Contact details for each service medal section are available on the Contacts and Links page.

Prisoner of War Indicates whether the individual was a prisoner of war. It does not indicate in which theatre of war they were captured.

Roll of Honour Indicates the individual's name is listed on a community Roll of Honour in Australia. This information has been sourced from individual casualty records held by the Office of Australian War Graves.

Unknown Some records may contain the word, 'Unknown'. This means that there may have been no such information in the service record or the information was indecipherable.

Printing a Certificate back to top  
 
You may print a certificate displaying service details for an individual. This feature may be accessed by clicking on the 'Create Certificate' button when you have selected an individual record.

The certificate is designed to be printed in landscape format. You may need to check your settings before printing the certificate.
 
Printing other pages back to top  
 
The search results page and all other pages, excluding the 'Certificate', have been designed to print in portrait format. You may need to check your settings before printing these screens.
 
Accuracy of data collection back to top  
 
Every effort has been made to ensure that the Nominal Roll is as accurate as possible.

In order to ensure the Nominal Roll's authenticity, the data was collected from the original service records. The Roll relies on the information contained in those records.
 
The data collection process back to top  
 
The aim of the project was to correlate and publish historically relevant information collected from individual service records spanning the World War Two period. The information collected during this project goes beyond the typical name and service number lists of previous Nominal Rolls to include some personal details and a snapshot of service activity.
 
What service documents were used to source this information? back to top  
 
The following Service-specific documentation was used to source the information:
  • Royal Australian Navy – Record of Service Card.
  • Australian Army – Attestation, Discharge and Record of Service Forms.
  • Royal Australian Air Force – Enlistment, Attestation and Record of Service Forms.
  • The Merchant Navy – Record of Service Card.
 
Was the information always available from these service documents for each individual? back to top  
 
No, typically one or more of these documents would be used to provide as much information as possible. However, where information was not available, incomplete or indecipherable, the information field displays 'unknown'. In the absence of these preferred forms, other non-standard documents may be used to gather supporting information.
 
Were problems experienced in recording the information contained in these documents? back to top  
 
Several factors made the task of 'getting it right' a challenge.

Enlistment documents were generally handwritten by individuals at the time. Variations in handwriting and spelling, as well as amended details on some documents, made information difficult to interpret.

Document age and format, as well as missing documents and inconsistent information, also made the process of gathering the base data a challenge.
 
What processes were used to overcome difficulties? back to top  
 
The Department of Veterans' Affairs contractor, Pickfords Records and Information Managers, used a four check process to ensure quality control. The primary quality assurance tool was a double entry computer process. Each record had its information entered by one operator and then entered again by a different operator. The computer program compared the two entries and identified any differences between the two. If a discrepancy appeared the computer program required the second operator to re-examine the service document before the record could be processed further. This method was designed to eliminate typographical and data source errors normally encountered in a highly intensive data entry environment.

At the completion of the double data entry process, the production supervisor conducted a sign-off check. During this check, individual records would be grouped and sorted so that similar information could be compared and obvious errors or omissions rectified before the work was signed off from the production line.

The data then underwent a final internal review by the contractor's production manager. This review was conducted prior to each fortnightly external audit. Thousands of records were reviewed to correct any major errors.
 
How to contact us back to top  
 
If you have any comments about the World War Two Nominal Roll, contact the Department of Veterans' Affairs:

email nominal.rolls@dva.gov.au
telephone 1300 780 133 (local call charge)
 
Commonwealth disclaimer back to top  
 
By accessing the information presented in this media, each user waives and releases the Commonwealth of Australia to the full extent permitted by law from any and all claims relating to the usage of material or information made available through the World War Two Nominal Roll Internet website. In no event shall the Commonwealth of Australia be liable for any incidental or consequential damages resulting from use of the material. In particular and without limit to the generality of the above, information provided in publications of the Commonwealth Government is considered to be true and correct at the time of publication. Changes in circumstances after the time of publication may affect the accuracy of this information and the Commonwealth Government gives no assurance as to the accuracy of any information or advice contained herein.

The World War Two Nominal Roll is a reference source only. Inclusion herein and the record of details for any person in no way confers evidence of eligibility for any award, medal, pension, health care entitlement or any kind of benefit.

The Commonwealth of Australia, its officers, servants and agents, disclaim all liability for the consequences of anything done or omitted to be done by any person in reliance upon the World War Two Nominal Roll or any information contained in that Nominal Roll.

In addition to information provided by the Department, links are provided to external Internet sites. These external information sources are outside the control of the Department and the Commonwealth and it is the responsibility of Internet users to make their own decisions about the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of information found therein. In some cases the material may incorporate or summarise views, standards or recommendations of third parties. Such material does not necessarily reflect the considered views of the Commonwealth, or indicate a commitment to a particular course of action.
 
No Spam back to top  
 
The publication of electronic addresses on this website is for the information of users. DVA does not authorise the receipt of commercial electronic messages (generally known as spam) at any published electronic address. They are to be used for legitimate correspondence only - no spam.
 
Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2002. back to top  
 
This work is copyright. You may download, display, print and reproduce this material in unaltered form only (retaining this notice) for your personal, non-commercial use or use within your organisation. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.

For further information contact:

The Director
Nominal Rolls
Department of Veterans' Affairs
GPO Box 9998
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Email: nominal.rolls@dva.gov.au
 
Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2002. Acknowledgements | Disclaimer End of page