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Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Military Records

Military research has become an increasingly popular topic in recent years as we have reached important anniversaries of both the First and Second World Wars.

We get many requests for service records of those who fought in WWI and WWII but these are not records that we hold.  Only 25-35% of WWI service records survive having been moved for safekeeping only to then be bombed in WWII and those that remain can be found digitised and downloadable on various family history websites (by subscription or pay-per-view). 

Presently (January 2020) service records of WWII veterans are kept by the Ministry of Defence and have to be applied for by next of kin and are only given upon payment of a fee.  Details of how to apply can be found via the Government website here  

You may also find if you're researching the miltiary service of your ancestors that pre-1914 service papers can be found online at the National Archives Discovery catalogue.

We do hold the written records of the Bedfordshire Regiment [collection ref: X550] but these records have come from a variety of sources so are not complete for any era or battalion within the regiment although they do include the war diaries for WWI.  These can be searched via our online catalogue using the X550 reference.  We also hold the regiment's post-WWI attestation papers, which you can read about here to give you an idea of what they include.

We hold a large collection of Council Council WWI home front material (see link on the left) and we also created two WWI blogs, one showcasing material from the home front and another from the Western front. Details of these can be found here