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Tracing WW1 soldier ancestors. Phyllis Court Family History Section 1 October 2012. The War to End Wars. 4 August 1914 – 11 November 1918 Six million men in British Armed services 250,000 women An Imperial war 750,000 deaths Highest proportion Scotland, New Zealand But Spanish Flu

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Tracing ww1 soldier ancestors

Tracing WW1 soldier ancestors

Phyllis Court Family History Section

1 October 2012


The war to end wars
The War to End Wars

  • 4 August 1914 – 11 November 1918

  • Six million men in British Armed services

    • 250,000 women

    • An Imperial war

  • 750,000 deaths

    • Highest proportion Scotland, New Zealand

    • But Spanish Flu

  • A world war


Army organisation
Army organisation

Army

Corps

Division

Brigade

Battalion


Private s eye view
Private’s eye view

  • Section (10-12 men under NCO or 2nd Lieutenant)

  • Platoon (four sections under 2/Lt or Lieutenant)

  • Company (four platoons under Captain or Major)

  • Battalion (four companies + battalion HQ)

  • Regiment (two or more battal


Before you start you need to know
Before you start you need to know:

  • Name

  • Regiment or unit

  • Rank and number

  • When did they serve


Types of record you can find
Types of record you can find

  • Service records

  • Medal index cards

  • War diaries

  • Casualty records

  • Rolls of honour

  • Memoirs


Other ranks service records
Other ranks Service Records

  • Two-thirds destroyed

  • Online at Ancestry

  • The contents of each file is differnt

  • Look for:

  • Enlistment papers

  • Casualty forms


Officers
Officers

  • At The National Archives(not online)

  • 85% survive

  • Heavily weeded


London gazette
London Gazette

  • Contains officer’s promotions

  • Details of awards of gallantry medals

    www.gazettes-online.co.uk



Medal index cards
Medal Index cards

  • On Ancestry

  • Only for men who served overseas


Gallantry medals
Gallantry medals

Listed in the London Gazette (with citations)


War diaries
War diaries

  • Overseas units only

  • At The National Archives

  • (Online from 2014)




Soldiers died in the great war
Soldiers Died in the Great War

On Ancestry and Findmypast


Rolls of honour
Rolls of honour

  • Many rolls of honour for the war dead

  • This is the Irish Memorial on FIndmypast


Records of the wounded
Records of the wounded

Few records survive

Silver War Badge

Medal rolls on Ancestry


Women in the services
Women in the services

  • From 1917

  • Records on The National Archives website

  • Not very informative


Nurses
Nurses

  • Indexes on Findmypast

  • Records on The National Archives website


Other record sources
Other record sources

  • Casuaty lists

  • Gallantry awards

  • Obituaries

  • Photographs

  • www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk


National roll
National Roll

  • Biographies of ordinary people (but incomplete)

  • On Ancestry and Findmypast



Archive holdings a summary
Archive holdings – a summary

  • The National Archives (TNA)

  • Imperial War Museum (IWM)

  • RAF Museum

  • Royal Naval Museum

  • National Maritime Museum

  • Regimental museums


Taking it further
Taking it further

Simon Fowler, Tracing Your First World War Ancestors (Pen & Sword, 2013)

William Spencer, Army Service Records of the First World War (3rd edn, TNA, 2008)

The Long Long Trail – www.1914-1918.net