I've been trying to do a name search for five men who enlisted in Brisbane in July 1915 for the First World War. For reasons I have yet to determine—incorrect spelling of surname? enlisted under another name?—I cannot find them using the provided interface for a name search.

Is it possible to search by place of enlistment and date?

I'd be grateful for some advice.

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Hi Greg,

You can use any words in your search terms.  The catalogue entries which come up after you search will normally have a place of enlistment noted, so just search for the words enlistment Brisbane or POE Brisbane.  You will get a lot of results though so you may have have to add at least a first name, place of birth or the name of someone you think might have been next of kin.  If you can get the service number you can search with that as well.

There is also an "advanced search" option where you can specify years to only get results for WW1, and you can use * as a wildcard but you have to use the first three letters of a name.  Searching for Abc* will give you all results for names beginning with those three letters.

There is probably just an error in spelling, sometimes the men used slightly different names, or enlisted under their mother's surname or an alias.

Try these two websites:

This one is good for scrolling through the names to see if you can spot a likely candidate, and you can just put Brisbane in the address search box.


Here you can search by location.


If you still can't find them then put their names up here and I will have a look for you.



Debra: Thanks heaps. I am grateful for your response. I'll follow you suggestions and let you know how I get on. Cheers. Greg

Hi Greg

We created an index of surnames for World War I service personnel, and NameSearch only searches the names in this index.  Therefore,  if you search for WWI records in the NameSearch screen using 'Brisbane' you will only retrieve the service records for the people with Brisbane as a surname.  The best way to search for WWI records in NameSearch is by only using one name in the family name field.  If you enter too much information into this field you won't retrieve any results.  If you get many results by searching this way, you can then refine your search using given names and service numbers (if known).  

I recommend you use the Advanced Search option (use 'Items') if you are having problems finding the information you require in NameSearch as there is more flexibility in how you can search.  The WWI service records are in the series B2455.  You can make sure you only retrieve search results for WWI service records by including B2455 in the series number field when you search.  When you use the Advanced Search screen you can also use wildcard search as described by Debra, and you can search for place of enlistment by entering the name of the place in the title field.

If you are still having problems finding the people you are looking for, you may have some luck searching for their names on the WWI nominal roll - http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/nominal_rolls/first_world_war....  Once you have found them there, it may be easier to find their information in our database.

I'm also willing to help you search for the individuals you are interested in if are are still having trouble locating them.



(NAA staff)


Tonia: Thanks. This thing is doing my head in. I have the names of fifteen young men who left Casino NSW by train in July 1915 to enlist at Enoggera. I can trace ten of them; the others who knows. I have seen a book in the Research Section library at the Australian War Memorial which gives the names of people who enlisted under other names [at least I think that is what it was]. That's my next hope [still, five of fifteen enlisting in other names sounds like a stretch]. This is a pretty small piece in my puzzle but I can't let it go. I'm trying to write the history of my wife's great uncle who died near Pozieres in July 1916 and want to fill in the picture as well as I can. Anyway, I'll keep trying and get back to you and this forum if I continue to draw a blank. Thanks. Greg.

Finding servicemen can also be complicated if they survived WWI and later enlisted in WWII. If this is the case, the WWI service record is usually incorporated into the WWII service record.  If you wish to message me with their names I'd be happy to look for the men you haven't been able to locate, although if they enlisted in another name I may not be able to find them for you.



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