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Research Guides


Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia


World War II

During World War II (1939–45), Australians serving with the army, navy and air force saw action in many theatres of conflict. Nearly 55,000 South Australian men and women served in the forces in World War II.

Selected series relating to World War II and South Australia
Canberra
Army
Recorded by: 2 Echelon, Army Headquarters
Second Australian Imperial Force personnel dossiers, 1940–47 B883
Citizen Military Forces personnel dossiers, 1940–47 B884
Canberra, Adelaide
Recorded by: Headquarters, 4 Military District, Australian Military Forces, Keswick, South Australia/Headquarters, South Australian Lines of Communication Area, Australian Military Forces
Correspondence files, 1931–64 D844
Sydney
Recorded by: Headquarters, 4 Military District, Australian Military Forces, Keswick, South Australia/Headquarters, South Australian Lines of Communication Area, Australian Military Forces
Embarkation nominal rolls, Second Australian Imperial Force, 1939–44 AT226/10
Service number registers – 'S' prefix, 1939–46 D4292
Service number registers – 'SX' prefix, 1939–47 D4291
Army pay files – Second Australian Imperial Force – 'DP' prefix, 1939–44 D4420
Army pay files – Second Australian Imperial Force – 'DX' prefix, 1939–42 D4385
Army pay files – Second Australian Imperial Force – 'PX' prefix, 1939–44 D4422
Adelaide
Recorded by: Headquarters, 4 Military District, Australian Military Forces, Keswick, South Australia/Headquarters, South Australian Lines of Communication Area, Australian Military Forces
Army pay files – Second Australian Imperial Force – 'SX' prefix, 1939–45 D1358
Army pay files – Second Australian Imperial Force – 'SP' prefix, 1939–44 D4403
Army pay files – Second Australian Imperial Force – 'B' prefix, 1939–44 D4419
Sydney
Recorded by: Headquarters, 4 Military District, Australian Military Forces, Keswick, South Australia/Headquarters, South Australian Lines of Communication Area, Australian Military Forces
Army pay files – Citizen Military Forces – 'D' prefix, 1939–44 D4418
Army pay files – Citizen Military Forces – 'P' prefix, 1939–44 D4421
Adelaide
Recorded by: Headquarters, 4 Military District, Australian Military Forces, Keswick, South Australia/Headquarters, South Australian Lines of Communication Area, Australian Military Forces
Army pay files – Citizen Military Forces – 'S' prefix, 1939–52 D1357
Miscellaneous command pay files – 'B' prefix, 1939–44 D4416
Registers of enlistments for fourth and seventh military districts, 1939–63 AP1275/1
Canberra
Royal Australian Navy
Recorded by: Navy Office, Department of the Navy
Service cards for navy officers, 1911–70 A6769
Service cards for petty officers and sailors, 1911–70 A6770
Canberra
Royal Australian Air Force
Recorded by: Air Services Branch
RAAF officers personnel files, 1921–48 A9300
RAAF personnel files – non-commissioned officers and other ranks, 1921–48 A9301
Adelaide
General matters
Recorded by: Department of Immigration, South Australia Branch
Application forms, medical examination documents and related papers of British and non-British migrants (including ex-service), 1947–54 A1989
Adelaide
General matters
Recorded by: Commonwealth Loans Organisation, South Australia
Photographs of war loan fundraising events and state capital works, 1944–65 D4031
Selected items relating to World War II and South Australia
Adelaide
Recruiting campaign – affixing stickers to correspondence – poster for joining military service, 1938–39 D959, IA1938/1561
YMCA and similar organisations who serve overseas, 1940–49 D2048, G1230
Recreation general hospitality extended to officers and ratings including American and Allied forces, 1941–58 D292, 110/3/14
Coupon rationing, 1942–49 D2048, G1291
Military history – headquarters of fourth military district – declaration of war until cessation of hostilities, 1942–47 D844, 73A/1/6 [E]
Rationing in Australia – booklet, 1942–44 D596, 1945/776

Civilian service

In response to the growing demand for labour during World War II, the Department of Labour and National Service was given responsibility for developing general labour policy, including manpower priorities. Many Australians not in the armed forces were drafted into civilian service agencies such as the Civil Constructional Corps and Civil Aliens Corps, which undertook projects across the nation including in South Australia. See 'Women in wartime service' for information about civilian service organisations in which women served.

Selected series relating to World War II civilian service in South Australia
Melbourne
Recorded by: Allied Works Council, South Australian Office
Personal files for members of the Civil Alien Corps enlisted in South Australia, 1942–48 MP14/1
Personal files for members of the Civil Constructional Corps enlisted in South Australia who served in the Northern Territory, 1942–54 MP14/2
Adelaide
Recorded by: Department of Labour and National Service, Branch Office, South Australia
Correspondence files, 1941–54 D358
Selected items relating to World War II civilian service in South Australia
Canberra
Advisory War Council – hostels and scheme of housing for munitions workers in South Australia, 1941 A5954, 456/25
Melbourne
Transport facilities – munitions workers in South Australia, 1942 MP1007/7, 249/1050/39
Adelaide
Housing general – Whyalla, war workers, aircraft factory Northfield, 1941–44 D358, 30/1/1
Laura flax mill, 1941–45 A877, CL20669
Aircraft – engagement of female trainees, 1942–44 D1743, 1942/3675 PT 1
Aircraft – engagement of female trainees, 1942–44 D1743, 1942/3675 PT 2
Aircraft – engagement of female trainees, 1942–44 D1743, 1942/3675 part 3
Aircraft – engagement of female trainees, 1942–44 D1743, 1942/3675 part 4
Aircraft – engagement of female trainees, 1942–44 D1743, 1942/3675 part 5
Salisbury, temporary housing scheme for war workers, management and tenancy, 1942–46 A877, CL20228 part 1

South Australian prisoners of war

During and immediately following World War II, Australian authorities conducted three investigations into war crimes committed against Australians who were prisoners of the Japanese.

In June 1943, Sir William Webb, Chief Justice of Queensland, was appointed a Commissioner under National Security (Inquiries) Regulations to report on whether there had been atrocities or breaches of the rules of warfare by the Japanese armed forces. This was the first of three commissions given to Webb between 1943 and 1945 to investigate war crimes by the Japanese.

Selected series relating to South Australian World War II prisoners of war
Canberra
Recorded by: Japanese Government – Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
Australian prisoner of war indices, 1942–48 A14171
Australian prisoners of war of the Japanese held in Thailand in World War II as at 1 November 1944, 1942– A14172
List of Australian prisoners of war of the Japanese in World War II – confirmed dead, 1942–48 A14174
List of monetary effects of Australian prisoners of war of the Japanese in World War II, 1942–48 A14176
Complete alphabetical list of Australian prisoners of war of the Japanese in World War II, 1942–48 A14177
Sydney, Adelaide
Recorded by: Headquarters, 4 Military District, Australian Military Forces, Keswick, South Australia
Correspondence files, 1931–64 D844
Melbourne
Recorded by: Department of Labour and National Service, Central Secretariat (by 1947 known as Central Office)
Prisoner of war surveys – personal data sheets, 1945–47 MP96/1
Prisoner of war surveys – statistics, 1945–47 MP96/2
Melbourne
Recorded by: 2 Echelon, Army Headquarters
Volumes of photographs of AMF, prisoners of war and missing servicemen in the Far East and South West Pacific, 1944 B3843
Adelaide
Recorded by: Deputy Commissioner of Repatriation, South Australia
General policy files, 1918–65 D2048
Adelaide
Recorded by: Department of Labour and National Service, Branch Office/Regional Administration, South Australia
Worker description sheets and Japanese prisoner of war survey, 1947– AP194/1
Selected items relating to South Australian World War II prisoners of war
Adelaide
Prisoners of war postal regulations, 1940–45 D959, IA1944/547
Repatriation Committee of repatriated prisoners of war, 1944–48 D2048, G1445 part 1
Repatriation Committee of repatriated prisoners of war, 1944–48 D2048, G1445 part 2
Repatriation Committee of repatriated prisoners of war, 1944–48 D2048, G1445 part 3
Repatriation Committee of repatriated prisoners of war, 1944–48 D2048, G1445 part 4
Nominal roll of ex-prisoners of war discharged in South Australia, 1946–47 AP194/1, B1
Prisoners of war – Japan – doctors' timetables, appointments, medical survey and register of medical examinations conducted, 1946–51 D2048, G1445 part 5
War crimes investigations, 1946
War Crimes [Investigations - General correspondence regarding photographic recognition of suspected Japanese war criminals, requests for interviews and affidavits by former POWs held various camps in Japan, Korea, Thailand (Siam), Singapore, Java, Thailand-Burma Railway and Italy.]
D844, 167/1/1A
War crimes investigations, 1946
War Crimes [Investigations - General correspondence regarding photographic recognitions of suspected Japanese war criminals, requests for interviews and affidavits by former POWS held in camps in Japan, Korea, Thailand (Siam), Singapore, Java, Thailand-Burma Railway and Italy.]
D844, 167/1/1B
War crimes investigations, 1946
War Crimes [Investigations - General correspondence regarding photographic recognition of suspected Japanese war criminals, requests for interviews and affidavits by former POWs held in camps in Japan, Korea, Thailand (Siam), Singapore, Java, Thailand-Burma Railway.]
D844, 167/1/1C
War crimes investigations, 1946
War Crimes [Investigations - General correspondence regarding photographic recognition of suspected Japanese war criminals, requests for interviews and affidavits from POWs held in various camps in Japan, Korea, Thailand (Siam), Singapore, Java, Thailand-Burma Railway and Italy.]
D844, 167/1/1D
War crimes investigations, 1946
War Crimes [Investigations - General correspondence regarding photographic recognition of suspected Japanese war criminals, requests for interviews and affidavits from POWs held in various camps in Japan, Korea, Thailand (Siam), Singapore, Java, Malaya, Thailand-Burma Railway.]
D844, 167/1/1E
War crimes investigations, 1946
[General correspondence regarding photographic recognition of suspected Japanese war criminals, requests for interviews and affidavits from former POWs held in various camps in Japan, Korea, Thailand (Siam), Singapore, Java, Thailand-Burma Railway.]
D844, 167/1/1F
War crimes – Japanese, 1946–48 D844, 167/1/12 PART 1
War crimes – Japanese, 1946–48
Statements to the Australian War Crimes Commission: statements made by SX9427 Dvr RL MORRIS; SX6699 Spr BE OLSEN; SX11466 Dvr PO WILLIAMS; SX13712 Capt OJ BLAU; SX10231 Cpl FP PREISS; 27733 Lac WK EDMONDS; NX3265 Gnr JG BYARD; SX7550 Pte V CURNOW; NX70392 Capt WD FAWCETT; SX10847 Cpl GJ KITTO; SX9430 Sgt WJ STIGGANTS; No number [407457] F/Lt VLP Ryan; SX2686 W/O BH MACKENZIE; SX11718 Pte GW VINALL; 888 Sgt CH Coats (Kedah Volunteer Force); SX12148 Pte RR STASINOWSKY; 27979 Cpl JA TRAINOR; No number [SX5793] Lt J Redward; SX8465 Sgt EN KASSULKE; VX39016 Capt NM GIBSON; A2105 F/O JT WHELAN; 424228 F/O PS SYKES
D844, 167/1/12 PART 2
Survey results ex-prisoners of war, 1948 AP194/1, B2
War crime trials, 1951 D844, 167/1/14

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Chapter 19
War service