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Military museums

Apart from the national museums, many regiments and divisions within the services have their own museum, some within the barracks and others housed with local county facilities or among larger national collections. Many smaller museums have limited opening hours, and some are open by appointment only. Intending visitors to the museums and libraries listed below are advised to telephone in advance, to enquire whether it is necessary to make an appointment. Most libraries, museums and archive collections have too small a staff to offer a research service, but they may be able to suggest professional researchers who could help you if you cannot undertake your own research. These professional researchers would, of course, charge a fee.

  • Imperial War Museum Covers all aspects of war in the 20th century which have affected Britain and other members of the Commonwealth.
  • National Army Museum Includes the British Army; Indian Army (prior to 1947) and British Colonial Forces up to their independence. There is an index to military casualties from 1900 giving details of next of kin and dispersal of personal possessions. There is also a collection of Victoria Cross and George Cross files (not available online).
  • Army Museums Ogilby Trust A definitive guide to the regimental and corps museums of the British Army throughout the United Kingdom.
  • Royal Air Force Museum Holds First World War casualty records, and also limited records of individual aircraft.

The National Archives are the national repository for the archives of all the government departments; but you might also be able to find archive materials relating to the Royal Navy in the following collections:

Many of these museums have reference libraries, and hold collections of photographs and other pictorial materials. In addition, there are three other libraries which hold extensive collections of published material on the Royal Navy:

  • Naval and Local History Collection, Portsmouth Public Library, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 2DX.  Tel: 01705 819311
  • Naval Collection, Rochester-upon-Medway Studies Centre, Civic Centre, Strood, Rochester, Kent ME2 4AW.  Tel: 01634 732714
  • Naval History Collection, Plymouth Central Library, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AL.  Tel: 01752 305909

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