Recommended Reference Books for Basic Military Research and Genealogy

We've done some research to find military insignia reference books on the internet - click on the hyper-links to buy direct from (A number of North American customers have commented that even with shipping costs, can be cheaper than its US partner
The books listed are ones that we use on a regular basis. In many cases they show insignia reference numbers that we use on our mail-order catalogues. Please note that these books are sold by - not by Ian Kelly (Militaria). A number of books do not have links to Amazon - this is because they are out-of-print. We have kept the details of suitable out-of-print books on my web site so that you can use this bibliography to buy them second-hand from another dealer.

Bellis, MA. 1997. British Regiments 1945 - 1995. ISBN 0951212699: Malcolm A Bellis
Impressive research text giving dates, unit titles and lineage.
British Regiments 1945 - 1995  

Bellis, MA. 2000. Divisions of the British Army 1939 - 1945. ISBN 0952969319: Malcolm A Bellis
Impressive research text giving dates, locations, battles and titles of the units which made-up the British Divisions during WW2.
Divisions of the British Army 1939 - 1945  Buy Book

Cox, J. 1998. New to Kew?. ISBN 1873162405: Public Records Office.
This is a first-time guide for anyone wishing to research their family history at the British Public Record Office at Kew. It provides clear and helpful advice on finding one's way around the newly reorganized PRO, using the finding aids and beginning research. It also includes a comprehensive A-Z index of useful sources, from apprenticeship records to wills, case studies of individuals and illustrations of some of the most commonly found documents.
New to Kew?  Buy Book

Davis, BL. 1993. British Army Uniforms & Insignia of World War Two. ISBN 0713717378: Blandford Press.
Includes a useful section about allocation of Army Serial numbers to regiments.  If you have WW2 British Army Dog-Tags (ID Discs) that show a serial number, this book will help you find out which unit used that series of numbers.
British Army Uniforms & Insignia of World War Two

Forty, G. 1998. British Army Handbook 1935 - 1945. ISBN 0750914033: Sutton Publishing.
An impressive 369 pages covering mobilization & training, command structures, weapons, equipment, vehicles, tactics, abbreviations, signals codes, badges and medals.  The text is backed-up with over 300 photographs.  The author spent 32 years in the Royal Tank Regiment, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.  He later became the Curator of the Tank Museum at Bovington, Dorset.
British Army Handbook 1935 - 1945  Buy Book

Fowler, S & Spencer, W. 1998. Army Records for Family Historians. ISBN 1873162596: Public Records Office.
A guide to the most heavily-used records in the Public Record Office, this revised edition offers clear and comprehensive advice on tracing army ancestors from the 17th to the 20th centuries. It now includes detailed case studies and full coverage of medals and awards.  Buy Book

Herber, MD & Titford J. 2000. Ancestral Trails. ISBN 0750924845: Sutton Publishing.
This book sets out to guide the genealogist and family historian through the substantial British records with a detailed view of the archives and the published sources available. Each type of record, from personal recollections, photographs and other memorabilia to civil, legal and religious records, newspapers and directories, is analysed and the researcher is guided to the many detailed finding-aids and indexes. The early chapters aim to help the inexperienced amateur genealogist take the first steps in obtaining information from living relatives, drawing family trees and starting research in the records of births, marriages and deaths, or in census records.
Ancestral Trails  Buy Book

Jefford, CG. 2001. RAF Squadrons. (2nd Edition) ISBN 1840371412: Airlife Publishing.
Long-awaited Second Edition of a comprehensive book giving historical dates, locations and aircraft for every squadron in the Royal Air Force since its formation.  Wing Commander Jefford includes photographs of aircraft and maps to show locations of all RAF airfields in the UK and overseas.  Probably the best RAF research document in publication.
RAF Squadrons by Wing Commanderr CG Jefford  Buy Book

Osprey. 1998. The Osprey Militaria Directory & Source Book - 1999 Edition. ISBN 1902579178: Compendium Publishing.
The Osprey Militaria Directory & SourceBook - 1999 Edition

Rogers, CD. 1997. The Family Tree Detective. ISBN 0719052130: Manchester University Press.
A practical guide for the amateur genealogist, which has been revised and updated for this edition. New material to this volume includes a section on medieval genealogy, targeting family historians who have reached back as far as the 16th century and wish to go back further. Heraldry is introduced and there is detail on the genealogical content of military records and the records of Poor Law Unions and their workhouses. Details are also included of changes to the location and cost of civil registration sources.
The Family Tree Detective  Buy Book

Whittaker, LB. 1990. Stand Down - Orders of Battle for the units of the Home Guard of the United Kingdom. ISBN 1871167140: Ray Westlake Military Books.
An excellent book on the Home Guard, including locations, dates, insignia and unit commanders.
Stand Down - Orders of Battle for the units of the Home Guard of the United Kingdom

Windrow & Greene. 1997. Windrow & Greene's Militaria Directory & Sourcebook 1998. ISBN 1859150683: Compendium Publishing.
Nearly 3000 names and contact addresses listed under various categories and indexed by name and location.  Includes militaria societies and modellers clubs, re-enactors, dealers, auction houses, museums, historical groups and travel specialists.  A huge variety of goods and services on offer.
Windrow & Greene's Militaria Directory & Sourcebook 1998  Buy Book