Can I reproduce photographs from the WW2DB photo gallery in my book, television show, or website?
Do you have higher resolution versions of photographs seen in the WW2DB photo gallery?
How can I find out more about a World War II veteran's service?
The World War II service records for members of the US armed forces are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Information on how to request copies can be found here:
1) Nearly all US individual service records from World War II are considered public records and no next-of-kin status is required to request copies.
2) These records exist in paper form (extremely few have been digitized) and many were destroyed in a fire in 1973; NARA estimates 85% of the US Army and Army Air Force individual service records were lost. Even so, it is still worth making the request; NARA says their "staff often is able to locate basic information relevant to a person's service from other records in their custody."
Service records for members of the British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and Royal Air Force are the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence. Information on requesting copies can be found here:
German military records are the responsibility of Das Bundesarchiv (The Federal Archives). Their information about what records are available is here (English language page):
The Bundesarchiv warns: "The archive material from the period up to 1945 suffered considerable losses as a consequence of war. Many of the records of the central service units of the armed forces and of the army leadership, those of the service units and troops of the army below divisional level and those of the air force and the Waffen SS have been lost. Naval archives, on the other hand, and the bulk of war logs belonging to the command authorities of the army and the divisional headquarters up to 1943, survived the war. Most of the files of the Prussian Army were destroyed in the army archives fire in Potsdam in 1945."
For a variety of reasons, Japan's military service records are the most elusive. If any records do exist, the best starting point to look for them is the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records (Japan's national archives). See:
https://www.jacar.go.jp/english/shusen/index.htm (English language page)
Military records for Canadian Military Forces are held by the Canadian Library and Archives. Information on how to request copies can be found here:
Military records for Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, and Australian Naval Forces are all held by the Australian National Archives. Information on how to request copies can be found here:
Military records for New Zealand Defence Forces are still held by the Defence Force. Information on how to request copies can be found here:
Italian military records are not centralized. For enlisted personnel, send a request to the Army Documentation Center closest to his birthplace. For officers, no information is currently available.
The links posted above are valid as of Feb 2017.
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George Patton, 31 May 1944