With a large number of World War One centenary commemorations beginning in 2014, many Australians and New Zealanders want to know more about their family members who fought in that terrible conflict. They want to know what part that their grandfather, great-uncle or other relative took among the more than 300,000 men and women who served overseas between 1914 and 1920.
Fortunately, the service files of the First AIF have all been digitised by the National Archives of Australia and are readily accessible on-line. But having these files to read is one thing – interpreting them is another.
David Wilson is the Principal of AIF RESEARCH SERVICES. He is an Army officer with over 40 years in uniform in both the regular army and the Reserves. He has now turned his hand to being a military historian, a battlefield guide and the published co-author of a World War One military history “Fighting Nineteenth – History of the 19th Battalion AIF 1915 -1918”. His specialty area of research is the First AIF and its activities in Egypt, the Gallipoli Campaign and the campaigns conducted on the Western Front in France and Belgium.
If you are seeking information on a family member who served in the First AIF, David can help you track down their records and provide some details of their unit history, where they fought and, as appropriate, Red Cross Missing Bureau investigations. If your relative is buried overseas, then the location of their Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery or memorial will be provided.
On a fee for service basis, David can obtain a copy of your relative’s file on your behalf and provide you with a summary of their AIF service. He will analyse their enlistment and attestation documents, as well as the often hard to interpret Army Form B 103. These documents contain the essence of a person’s service, but not necessarily the whole story (for instance, the names of major battles are rarely, if ever, mentioned). David can also direct family researchers to the correct archives for New Zealand, British, Canadian and South African soldiers.
For more information about this very personalised and professional service, please visit the AIF Research Services website.