Understanding WWII Army Service Numbers (2023)

As in WW1, during WW2 people were not always sent to the local area regiments, and after 1942, with the introduction of intensive training under the insignia of the General Corps, the numbers were not Reassigned to Regiment, this indicates a specific regiment or regiment (according to the list below).

Instead, starting in 1942, recruits were assigned actual army (rather than regimental) "service numbers," so people couldn't identify a soldier's cap badge by their number, only that they enlisted in 1942. After training, they were given new cap badges and the same service number assigned to the same training center.

Before 1920

Before 1920, each regiment had its own regimental number system (starting with 1 for each regiment). When a soldier was transferred to another regiment, he was given a new number.

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A replacement system was introduced in 1920 under Army Order No. 388, which remained in effect until 1942, and each regiment was assigned its own numbering block, enabling family historians to locate the regiment to which their ancestors belonged. See the list below for digital blocks.

(Video) Research Tip! Where Can I Find a Service Number?

it was 1942

After 1942, identifying a regiment became somewhat difficult without traceable personal documents. Marriage certificates, 1939 registers, photographs and any birth certificates should then be looked at for clues.

Large numbers of people are called up and sent to a central warehouse where they have their medical records and are assigned a numberforplaced in a regiment. Managing the old regimental numbers was too administratively burdensome for the central depot, so a single bugle number system (as opposed to regimental numbers) was introduced. These numbers are allocated in blocks in the range 14xxxxxx, 16xxxxxx and 19xxxxxx. This numbering system was subsequently rationalized into the 1950-2007 numbering system and the subsequent post-2007 numbering system.


Officers and all officer regiments such as QAIMNS - Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (once they become full officers rather than 'officer status') are numbered differently and are not covered here. The best place to study officers is througharmy list, andlondon newspaper.ofOnline Government GazetteIt's a bit of a minefield, and you can navigate by XX when looking for someone.

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To learn more about your ancestors in World War II, see our special issue,Family Tree September 2019, remembering and studying the 1980selectronicWWII anniversary.

1920-1942 regiment number

Please see the assigned number blocks for each regiment below as follows:
• Royal Netherlands Army Legion 1 - 294000 and 10660001 - 11000000
• Lifeguard 294001 - 304000
• Horse Guards 304001 - 309000
• Cavalry of the Line 309001 - 721000 (including 558471 to 558761 assigned to the Royal Armored Regiment for subsequently assigned numbering blocks)
• Royal Artillery (Field, Coastal and Air Defense) 721001 - 1842000 en 11000001 - 11500000
• Royal Engineers 1842001 - 2303000
• Royal Signal Corps 2303001 - 2604000
• Grenadier Guards 2604001 - 2646000
• Coldstream Protectors 2646001 - 2688000
• Scottish Guards 2688001 - 2714000
• Irish Guards 2714001 - 2730000
• Welsh Guards 2730001 - 2744000
• The Black Watch (het Royal Highland Regiment) 2744001 - 2809000
• Seaforth Highlanders 2809001 - 2865000
• Gordon Highlanders 2865001 - 2921000
• Cameron Highlanders 2921001 - 2966000
• Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 2966001 - 3044000
• Royal Scots 3044001 - 3122000
• Royal Scottish Fusiliers 3122001 - 3178000
• The Kings Own Scottish Borderers 3178001 - 3233000
• Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) 3233001 - 3299000
• Highland Light Infantry 3299001 - 3377000
• East Lancashire Regiment 3377001 - 3433000
• Lancashire Fusiliers 3433001 - 3511000
• Manchester Regiment 3511001 - 3589000
• Frontier Corps 3589001 - 3644000
• Prince of Wales Volunteers 3644001 - 3701000
• The King's Own Royal Legion 3701001 - 3757000
• Legion of Kings 3757001 - 3846000
• Legion of Loyalty 3846001 - 3902000
• South Wales Borderers 3902001 - 3947000
• Welch Mission 3947001 - 4025000
• King's Shropshire Light Infantry 4025001 - 4070000
• Monmouthshire Regiment 4070001 - 4103000
• Herefordshire Regiment 4103001 - 4114000
• Cheshire Regiment 4114001 - 4178000
• Royal Welch Fusiliers 4178001 - 4256000
• Royal Northumberland Fusiliers 4256001 - 4334000
• East Yorkshire Regiment 4334001 - 4379000
• The Green Howards 4379001 - 4435000
• Durham Light Infantry 4435001 - 4523000
• West Yorkshire Regiment 4523001 - 4601000
• Duke of Wellington's Regiment (Western Riding) 4601001 - 4680000
• Royal Yorkshire Light Infantry 4680001 - 4736000
• York and Lancaster Regiment 4736001 - 4792000
• Lincolnshire Regiment 4792001 - 4848000
• Leicestershire Regiment 4848001 - 4904000
• South Staffordshire Regiment 4904001 - 4960000
• Sherwood Foresters 4960001 - 5038000
• North Staffordshire Regiment 5038001 - 5094000
• Royal Warwickshire Regiment 5094001 - 5172000
• Gloucester Regiment 5172001 - 5239000
• Worcestershire Regiment 5239001 - 5328000
• Royal Berkshire Regiment 5328001 - 5373000
• Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry 5373001 - 5429000
• Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry 5429001 - 5485000
• Hampshire Regiment 5485001 - 5562000
• Wiltshire Regiment 5562001 - 5608000
• Devonshire Regiment 5608001 - 5662000
• Somerset Light Infantry 5662001 - 5718000
• Dorsetshire Regiment 5718001 - 5763000
• Royal Norfolk Regiment 5763001 - 5819000
• Suffolk Regiment 5819001 - 5875000
• Northamptonshire Regiment 5875001 - 5931000
• Cambridgeshire Regiment 5931001 - 5942000
• Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 5942001 - 5998000
• Essex Regiment 5998001 - 6076000
• Queen's Royal Regiment 6076001 - 6132000
• East Surrey Regiment 6132001 - 6188000
• Middlesex Regiment 6188001 - 6278000
• De Buffs (East Kent Regiment) 6278001 - 6334000
• Royal West Kent Regiment 6334001 - 6390000
• Royal Sussex Regiment 6390001 - 6446000
• Royal Fusiliers 6446001 - 6515000
• De Inns of Court Regiment 6802501 - 6814000
• Honorary Artillery Company (Infantry) 6825001 - 6837000
• King's Royal Rifles 6837001 - 6905000
• Rifle Brigade 6905001 - 6972000
• Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 6972001 - 7006000
• Royal Ulster Rifles 7006001 - 7040000
• Royal Irish Fusiliers 7040001 - 7075000
• Royal Dublin Fusiliers 7075001 - 7109000 (disbanded in 1922)
• Royal Irish Regiment 7109001 - 7143000
• Connaught Rangers 7143001 - 7177000 (disbanded in 1922)
• Regiment of Leinster 7177001 - 7211000 (disbanded in 1922)
• Royal Munster Fusiliers 7211001 - 7245000 (disbanded in 1922)
• Royal Netherlands Army Medical Corps 7245001 - 7536000
• Royal Army Dental Corps 7536001 - 7539000 en 10510001 - 10530000
• Royal Guernsey Militia and Royal Alderney Artillery Militia 7539001 - 7560000 (discontinued 1929)
• Royal Militia of Jersey 7560001 - 7574000 (discontinued in 1929)
• Army Corps Regulations 7574001 - 7657000 and 10530001 - 10600000.
• Royal Army Pay Corps 7657001 - 7681000 and 10400001 - 10500000. (Middle East Soldiers 10500001 - 10508000)
• Royal Netherlands Marechaussee 7681001 - 7717000
• Military Provost Staff 7717001 - 7718800
• Small Arms School Corps 7718801 - 7720400
• Royal Netherlands Army Education Corps 7720401 - 7732400
• Royal Military School Band 7732401 - 7733000
• Corps of Military Accountants 7733001 - 7757000 (disbanded in 1925)
• Royal Netherlands Army Veterinary Corps 7757001 - 7807000
• Machine Gun Corps 7807001 - 7868000 (disbanded in 1922)
• Royal Tank Regiment 7868001 - 7891868
• Royal Armored Corps 7891869 - 8230000 and 558471 - 558761
• Militia 10000000 - 10350000 (Army numbers are assigned under the Militia Regulations [Except Supplementary Reserves] 1939, paragraphs 11-13) These are the above 35000 soldiers
• Intelligence Corps 10350001 - 10400000
• Body recognition 10600001 - 10630000
• Horeca Army Corps (since 1941) 10630001 - 10655000
• Army Sports Corps 10655001 - 10660000
• Royal Herald Legion 13000001 - 14000000
• Lowland Legion 14000001 - 14002500
• Highland Legion 14002501 - 14005000
• General Service Corps 14200001 - 15000000
• Indian local registration number 15000001 - 15005000
• Royal Mechatronics Engineer 16000001 - 16100000
• Non-combat troops 97000001 - 97100000
• Territorial Emergency Services W/1 - W/500,000
• Volunteer Auxiliary Detachment W/500001 - W/1000000

Quick Links:How to identify military medals

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What is the format for military service numbers? ›

The following formats were used to denote U.S. military service numbers: 12-345-678: United States Army enlisted service numbers and United States Air Force enlisted service numbers. 123-45-67: United States Navy enlisted service numbers. 1234-567: United States Coast Guard enlisted service numbers.

Can you look up ww2 service records? ›

Yes. You can request your military records in any of these ways: Mail or fax a Request Pertaining to Military Records (Standard Form SF 180) to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC).

Can I look up an army serial number? ›

All the records and documentation for the Army Serial Number File are available online through the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) at www.archives.gov. You can access the Army Serial Number Merged File from the AAD homepage at: http://aad.archives.gov/aad/.

How do you find what unit a soldier was in WWII? ›

Finding A Military Unit

Many can be easily found with Internet research. From there you can contact the person in charge of the group to get further detailed information. This is the best way to get in contact with the soldiers who served with this person.

What would my service number be? ›

If you served in the US military after 1974, your military service number would likely be your Social Security number (SSN). You need your ID number to request copies of your military records, including your DD 214.

What do military service numbers mean? ›

Service numbers and social security numbers are used at National Personnel Records Center (Military Personnel Records) as part of the identifiers used to store and locate records. Social Security Number (SSN). Always include the veteran's social security number on a request. Service Number (SN).

Why would a soldier have 2 service numbers? ›

Soldiers who have two Army serial numbers are often soldiers who had served as both enlisted man and officer. At least in the WW2-era, enlisted men had a distinct series of serial numbers; officers had a different series of numbers.

How do you read military code? ›

A typical use of the NATO Phonetic Alphabet would be to spell out each letter in a word over the phone by saying, for example: "S as in Sierra" (or "S for Sierra"), "E as in Echo, Y as in Yankee, F as in Foxtrot, R as in Romeo, I as in India, E as in Echo, D as in Delta" to communicate the spelling of the name " ...

How do you write the date in military numbers? ›

The United States military uses four formats for standard military correspondence: Abbreviated Format 1- or 2-digit day, 3-letter abbreviation for the month, and 2-digit abbreviated year (e.g. 4 Feb 23); Standard Format 1- or 2-digit day, the spelled out month, and 4-digit year (e.g. 4 February 2023); and for ...

How are Army unit numbers assigned? ›

Squads and platoons are usually numbered (1, 2, 3, etc), companies go by alphabetic letters, battalions, battalions, brigades, and divisions are numbered, corps are also numbered, but use roman numerals (I, II, III, V, XVIII, etc).

How do I find my father's ww2 service records? ›

If you are a veteran or next-of-kin of a deceased veteran, you may now use vetrecs.archives.gov to order a copy of your military records. For all others, your request is best made using a Standard Form 180. It includes complete instructions for preparing and submitting requests.

How can I get my father's WWII records? ›

Start your records request online for recent military service. Print and fill out a Form SF 180. Mail it to the appropriate address on the form. Write a letter to request records, following the directions and using the address under number 2 on this web page.

How to find ww2 soldiers records for free? ›

Free access to the collection is available at the FamilySearch Library U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945. It lists name, state, rank, service, plot, and burial date.

Can you look up military records for free? ›

Generally there is no charge for basic military personnel and medical record information provided to veterans, next of kin and authorized representatives from Federal (non-archival) records. Some companies advertise DD Form 214 research services and will charge a fee for obtaining copies.

Is there a way to verify someone's military service? ›

Verification of Military Service

Please use the Defense Manpower Data Center's (DMDC) Military Verification service to verify if someone is in the military. The website will tell you if the person is currently serving in the military. The site is available 24-hours a day.

Is there a list of ww2 veterans? ›

This World War II (WWII) database lists the names of individual veterans from all branches of the US military including Army, Army Air Corps, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines.

Can you look up someone's military record online? ›

To search for military records via the DMDC, a person needs to submit an individual's name, social security number as well as status-as-of-date. From there, the DMDC will search for records for this individual within 367 days prior to the given date.

Can you look up soldiers by name? ›

There is no database that you can search to find an active-duty U.S. military member or retiree. But you may be able to contact them through their branch of service.

How can I find my dad's military photo? ›

If the photograph you are seeking still exists, it will most likely be found in the individual's Official Military Personnel File. However, there is no guarantee the photograph will be present. We suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF).

How do I find my dad military service number? ›

Your father's service number should be listed in his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and individual medical reports for those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and who were separated from the service prior to 1955 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

Did soldiers have numbers in ww2? ›

The United States Army would continue to use serial numbers through World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam Wars. Some numbers would be issued for very specific groups. The eight million series from 8,000,000-8,999,999 were issued to female enlisted personnel from 1948-1969.

Is DOD and service number the same thing? ›

After 1974, the DOD began using Social Security numbers instead of service numbers. This muddies up the searching process a bit for military personnel, because a military service number is a public information, while a Social Security number is private.

How do Army sequence numbers work? ›

A Soldier's sequence number will be included on the selection list. The pre-position list will have everyone who went before the board. If there is a sequence number beside the Soldier's name, the Soldier was selected for promotion.

When did military service numbers change? ›

Service numbers were eventually phased out completely by the social security number; the Army and Air Force converted to social security numbers on 1 July 1969, the Navy and Marine Corps on 1 January 1972, and the Coast Guard on 1 October 1974.

What is number 4 in military? ›

Corporal (E-4)

The rank of corporal was established in 1775 with the birth of the Army and the NCO Corps.

What is rule number one of the military? ›

1. The first principle of any defense acquisition must be the welfare of the warfighter, more than the program's future, although it isn't always so. by John T.

What does NX mean in service number? ›

The first letter refers to the specific state of origin i.e. A number beginning with “SX” meant that the soldier was from South Australia….. VX from Victoria and NX from New South Wales etc. In the First World War; Service Numbers were allocated to men within their respective Battalions or Regiments.

What is the number of service members in the Army? ›

The Army, which is the oldest branch of the U.S military, is also the service branch with the most personnel. In 2021, there were 482,416 active members in the U.S. Army. California is home to the most active duty members within the U.S., with 157,639 stationed personnel in 2021.

What does Oscar Tango Mike mean? ›

Of course, theft is officially forbidden in the military. 13. What does Tango Mike mean? Answer: It means “thank you,” or specifically, “thanks much.” In 1955, many military organizations, including NATO and the U.S. military, adopted a phonetic alphabet to aid in correctly transmitting messages.

What does the tango Lima Charlie mean? ›

“Lima Charlie” is representative of the letters “L” and “C” in the NATO alphabet, which when used together in military parlance stands for “Loud and Clear”.

How do you say thank you in military code? ›

Bravo Zulu: Good job/well done. November Golf: No go/fail. Tango Mike: Thanks much. Tango Yankee: Thank you.

What do the first two numbers of military time tell you ________? ›

Military Time: What You Need to Know

The first two digits represent the hour and the last two digits represent the minutes.

What is the Army military date format? ›

In US military messages and communications (e.g., on maps showing troop movements) the format is DD HHMM (SS) Z MON YY. Although occasionally seen with spaces, it can also be written as a single string of characters. Three different formats can be found: DDHHMMSSZmmmYY - Full time (used for software timestamps)

What does 0001 mean in military time? ›

Since military time and regular time use minutes in exactly the same way, no conversion is required. Thus, 0001 military time translates to 12:01 a.m. or one minute past midnight regular time.

What were the Army units in ww2? ›

There were 5 types of divisions: infantry, mountain, armored, airborne, and cavalry. 91 divisions were mobilized during the war: 68 infantry divisions, 1 mountain division, 16 armored divisions, 5 airborne divisions, and 2 cavalry divisions.

How many soldiers were in a platoon ww2? ›

Three or four squads make up a platoon, which has 20 to 50 soldiers and is commanded by a lieutenant. Two or more platoons make up a company, which has 100 to 250 soldiers and is commanded by a captain or a major.

Why are military unit numbers random? ›

After World War II, the same shrinkage happened in personnel and formations. Formations were not kept because of their numerical sequence, so division numbers skipped around. Since then, many brigades, especially in the Army National Guard took on the history of a division for a brigade sized element.

How do you read a WWII dog tag? ›

The official Dog Tag required the following information: Name, Service Number, Date of Tetanus Inoculation, Blood Type, Person to Notify, Religion.

What was the cipher code in ww2? ›

Enigma was a cipher device used by Nazi Germany's military command to encode strategic messages before and during World War II.

How do you read a military dog tag? ›

Surname. First name. Service number (E.g., 11111/00/00B, where the first five digits are the ID, the second two are the year the soldier turned 18 years old, the last two digits are the year the soldier enlisted, and the letter is the enlistment group, either A or B) Blood Group.

What does T43 mean on dog tag? ›

• T43 Tetanus Shot and Year.

What does T41 mean on dog tags? ›

2 Serial #, Tetanus dates (T41), Blood type. 3. 4. 5 RELIGION (P,C,H) Notes: From 1941 to 1943, the name and address of the next-of-kin was on lines 3-5 with religion abbreviation at end.

What do the letters on dog tags mean? ›

Today's identification tags identify vital information about the wearer: name, Social Security number, blood type and religious preference. During World War II there were only three religious categories that could be put on dog tags: P for Protestant, C for Catholic and H for Hebrew (Jewish).

What was the only code not broken in ww2? ›

During the nearly month-long battle for Iwo Jima, for example, six Navajo Code Talker Marines successfully transmitted more than 800 messages without error. Marine leadership noted after the battle that the Code Talkers were critical to the victory at Iwo Jima. At the end of the war, the Navajo Code remained unbroken.

What code was never broken in ww2? ›

Navajo Code Talkers also grew, from 29 in 1942 to over 400 by the end of WWII in 1945. Navajo Code was only used in the Pacific War. Japanese tried to break the code, but were unsuccessful. USMC tell us that Navajo Code was the only military code, in modern history, never broken by an enemy.

Where were the WWII codes broken? ›

During World War II, Germany believed that its secret codes for radio messages were indecipherable to the Allies. However, the meticulous work of code breakers based at Britain's Bletchley Park cracked the secrets of German wartime communication, and played a crucial role in the final defeat of Germany.

What is my service number? ›

If you served in the US military after 1974, your military service number would likely be your Social Security number (SSN). You need your ID number to request copies of your military records, including your DD 214.

What are the notches on military dog tags? ›

Known as the “locating notch” in military manuals, the notch helped medical personnel properly seat the dog tag into the imprinter. The Model 70 allowed medical or mortuary affairs personnel to transfer a soldier's personal information on the dog tag and imprint it directly onto medical documents.

Can I get a copy of my deceased father's dog tags? ›

The Armed Services have no provisions for replacement of dog tags after someone has left the military. There are many private companies that sell custom made, replica dog tags. You can find these companies through an internet search engine or through military/veterans magazines.

What do black dog tags mean? ›

Black Dog Tags are used by Special Operations forces such as the Army Rangers, Navy Seals, Green Berets, Commandos, and Delta Force. Black Dog Tags were mandated by a regulation on January 15, 1967 of the United States Army, Vietnam (USARV).


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