Medical, hospital and pension details of veterans revealed in time for Remembrance Day

If you have a relative who served in World War I and was lucky enough to come home, you can now search for their medical record.

A project recently completed by the National Archives of Australia set about describing and preserving the medical records of more than 256,000 World War I veterans.

Archives offices in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane worked towards publicly listing and repackaging the records, which contain medical, hospital and pension details of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps personnel who returned.

According to Anne-Marie Conde, senior curator at the National Archives, “Some veterans had three or more repatriation records, sometimes up to 20cm thick.”

She says the Archives have fully digitised nearly 5,600 of the repatriation records, and they provide an insight into some of the problems veterans faced when they returned home after the war. Some individuals’ files contain more than 500 pages of information including distressing details of their ongoing battle with illness, disfigurement and shell shock.

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“For many, the horrors of war never ended,” Conde says.

Many of those files that have been digitised belong to ANZACs who sailed from Albany with the first convoy on November 1, 1914.

“Those men had a very long way, from the beginning to the last days,” Conde says.

Do you have a loved one who was involved in World War I? What do you think of projects like this one, aimed at preserving Australia’s involvement in wartime efforts?