Find your ancestors in Australian Imperial Force Embarkation Roll 1914-1918

Trace your ancestor’s military service with these World War 1 embarkation rolls for the Australian Imperial Force. Discover biographical details, learn about their enlistment and uncover their next of kin in these enlightening records.

Each record includes a transcript of the original embarkation rolls. The amount of information listed varies, but the First World War Embarkation Rolls usually include the following information about your ancestor:

  • Name
  • Rank
  • Regimental number
  • Unit at embarkation
  • Age
  • Trade or calling
  • Marital status
  • Address at date of enrolment
  • Next of kin name
  • Next of kin address
  • Religion
  • Date of joining the unit
  • Australian Military Force (AMF) unit
  • Port of embarkation
  • Ship of embarkation
  • Date of embarkation
  • Remarks – such as details of previous service

Discover more about the embarkation roll

These World War 1 embarkation rolls list some 330,000 members of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) as they embarked for overseas service during World War One.

The Australian Flying Corps and the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train are included on these rolls, as is the Army component of the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF). However, the rolls do not include those who did not serve overseas or those who enlisted in reinforcements that were formed overseas.

There are several errors of fact and omissions in these rolls, with some aliases used and incorrect spellings of names. It is known that many enlistees gave an incorrect age in order to enlist, as the minimum age for enlistment was 21 (or 18 with parental permission).

Note that port of embarkation does not necessarily indicate that the soldier came from that particular state in Australia. Also, the rank they had at this stage often differed from the one they had at the end of service.

Another thing to keep in mind is that regimental numbers were not allocated to officers or nurses. Because each infantry unit, Light Horse regiment and Machine Gun Company issued their own ranges of regimental number, often different men were issued with the same number.

The next of kin (or NOK) could be anyone nominated by the enlisting soldier. Often this was a close relative such as their mother, father or wife. Usually the next of kin was allocated a portion of the soldier’s daily pay, excluding deferred pay.

The date of joining recorded refers to the date on which the soldier joined the unit, which was not necessarily the date they joined the AIF itself.

The AMF unit refers to the Australian Military Force unit in which some men had served for their compulsory military training period between 1910 and July 1914. This was different from the voluntary AIF service.

Remarks commonly included details of previous service, such as unit, regimental number or previous embarkation, or information on the temporary award of what was called an ‘Acting Rank’, which appears to have been an unpaid role that lasted only for the duration of the voyage.