• 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery, Gallipoli

  • Menin Gate Last Post, Ypres

  • Rhododendron Ridge, Gallipoli

  • Tyne Cot, Belgium

  • Villers-Bretonneux, France

Finding Your Digger Ancestors

Introducing A.I.F. Research Services

With a large number of World War One centenary commemorations beginning in 2014, many Australians want to know more about their family members who fought in that terrible conflict. They want to know if their grandfather really did set foot ashore on that fateful morning in April 1915, or find out about other relatives who may have served overseas between 1914 and 1920.

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 and published author, and since 2008 has been involved in leading some of Boronia Travel Centre’s in depth battlefield tours.

While any enthusiast can access the National Archives of Australia, David uses his research skills to actually interpret a soldier’s file, most of which are very scant on details. As David explains, “it is very difficult for the casual family researcher to understand some of the information, especially the Army Form B 103 files and other post-war data currently available. They usually just provide dates of events, but not necessarily the whole story". This is where David uses his detective skills to track down further records and help uncover the missing links in your ancestor’s sometimes puzzling service history.

Some more notable family mysteries may involve settling a long running dispute of where an ancestor was, where they fought and what they did. As David explains, “it might all start with a photograph and I’ll be asked to determine what this person really did in service. In one particular instance, the family legend was that this soldier was a member of the Light Horse. But it was later proved from the files that he actually served as a gunner in the field artillery and then became a wagon resupply driver, spending the rest of the war on the Gallipoli Peninsula and Western Front resupplying the gun lines”.

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. If you are seeking information on a family member who served in the First AIF and are planning to visit the battlefields with Boronia Travel Centre, we can help you track down their records and provide some details of their unit history and where they may be buried, which you will have an opportunity to visit on tour.

For more information about this very personalised and professional service, please visit the AIF Research Services website.
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