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Army - Registers of Deaths and Casualties, Other Ranks & Officers, WWI (Military)

Nature of Source

Registers of approximately 750,000 British soldiers killed in WWI. Similar indexes are available for the Boer War and WWII. The location and cause of death may appear vague. Death certificates for soldiers who died in hospital in France or Belgium are in series RG 35/45-69, arranged alphabetically. WO 35/69 lists men wounded or killed during the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916. For the place of burial or memorial see the Debt of Honour. Also consult The War Graves Photographic Project which aims to provide images of the graves or memorial listings of every service casualty since the outbreak of the First World War.

If killed on service, look for his 'Field Service Report'. For details of an airman's death consult the 'Soldiers Died in the Great War' publication. First published in 1921, the 81 volumes lists approximately 635,000 Soldiers and 37,000 Officers who died in WWI. The records also deal with Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force casualties. The publication may contain additional information to that on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register. The entire collection is published by The Naval & Military Press on CD-Rom and also available online (See below). The paper and CD versions are available at The National Archives, Imperial War Museum, Society of Genealogists and specialist and local reference libraries. Also consult the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register for details of a death and also consider looking through local newspapers which often carried obituaries for those killed in action.

War Office Lists were compiled on a daily basis and printed weekly. The lists carry details of wounded and missing officers and other ranks as well details of those that died or were captured as prisoners of war. The lists are available from the British Library Newspaper Collections. The lists were also published by the Times newspaper which can be searched online at The Times Digital Archive, available at many libraries and by The Scotsman which can be searched at The Scotsman Digital Archive.

Service records for all ranks who served after 1920 remain with the Ministry of Defence with each military service maintaining its own record office. The Veterans UK web site provides contact details of where to apply for service records for each of the services.

Also see
Army - Casualty Lists, Other Ranks before and after WWI
Army - Chaplain's Returns, Regimental Registers and Service Departments Returns, Other Ranks & Officers
Debt of Honour Register - Commonwealth War Graves Commission
War Memorials, Graves & Rolls of Honour (Including Scotland)

Where Found

General Register Office for England and Wales (GRO holds certificates of births, marriages or deaths registered by the armed forces. The registers include deaths of serving personnel during The Boer War, 1899-1902; World War 1, 1914-1921; World War 2, 1939-1948. Also included are British Army Regimental records of births/baptisms, marriages, 1761-1924 and Chaplain returns consisting of Army chaplains’ records of baptisms, marriages and deaths, 1796-1880)
County Record Offices (Regional coverage)

Period Covered

1914 - 1921

Genealogical Value

  • Name, age at death, date and place of death.
  • Country of birth.
  • Cause of death.
  • Rank and regiment of serviceman/woman.

Further References

General
Annal, David & Collins, Audrey. Birth, Marriage and Death Records: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen & Sword Books, 2012
Beckett, James Deuchar (ed). The Beckett Soldiers Index, A-C: Jade Publishing, 2003
Beckett, James Deuchar (ed). The Beckett Soldiers Index, D-G Jade Publishing, 2009
Beckett, James Deuchar (ed). The Beckett Soldiers Index, H-K: Jade Publishing, 2009
(Listing of soldiers from 1793 to about 1854 extracted from TNA series WO 120 and WO 116 and other sources such as marriage registers and medal awards. Arranged alphabetically by surname, forename and regiment including whether discharged at either Chelsea or Kilmainham Hospital. These published editions cover more ground than the Beckett Soldiers' Index available at The National Archives)

Bevan, Amanda. Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives: The National Archives, 2006

Brereton, J.M. A Guide to the Regiments and Corps of the British Army: Bodley Head, 1985

Blank, Dr. Stuart. Researching British Military History on the Internet: Alwyn Enterprises, 2007

Cox. Reginald H. W. Military Badges of the British Empire 1914-18: Ernest Benn, 1982

Farmer, John, The Regimental Records of the British Army: Grant Richards, 1901 (Free download available at the Internet Archive)

Fowler, Simon. A Guide to Military History on the Internet: Pen & Sword, 2007

Fowler, Simon. Tracing your Army Ancestors: Pen & Sword, 2006

Fowler, Simon. Tracing Your Army Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen & Sword Books, 2013

Gaylor, John. Military Badge Collecting: Pen & Sword Books, 2002
Grehan, John & Mace, Martin. British Battles of the Crimean Wars 1854-1856: Pen & Sword Books, 2014

Kitzmiller, John. In Search of the Forlorn Hope: A Comprehensive Guide to Locating British Regiments and Their Records, 1640-WWI: Manuscript Publishing Foundation, 1988

Murphy, Gerry. Where Did That Regiment Go? The Lineage of British Infantry and Cavalry Regiments at a Glance: The History Press, 2009

Paterson, Sarah. Tracing Your Family History, Army: Imperial War Museum, 2006

Pols, Robert. Dating Old Army Photographs: Family History Partnership, 2011

Saks, David. Boerejode: Jews in the Boer Armed Forces 1899-1902: 2010

Spencer, William. Family History in the Wars: The National Archives, 2007

Spencer, William. Army Records: A Guide For Family Historians: The National Archives, 2008

Storey, Neil. Military Photographs and How to Date Them: Countryside Books, 2009

Swinnerton, Iain, An Introduction to the British Army: Its History, Traditions and Records: FFHS, 1996

Swinson, Arthur. A Register of the Regiments and Corps of the British Army: The Archive Press, 1972

The Great War: A Photographic Narrative: Imperial War Museum: Jonathan Cape, 2013

Usher, George. Dictionary of British Military History: A&C Black Publishers, 2006

Watts, Michael and Watts, Christopher. My Ancestor was in the British Army: Society of Genealogists, 2009

Westlake, Ray. The Territorials 1908-1914: A Guide for Military and Family Historians: Pen & Sword Books, 2011
WWI
Banks, Arthur. A Military Atlas of The First World War: Pen & Sword Books, 2013
Bridger, Geoff. The Great War Handbook: A Guide For Family Historians & Students Of The Conflict: Pen & Sword Books, 2013
Christopher, John & McCutcheon, Campbell. 1914 the First World War in Old Photographs: Over by Christmas: Amberley Publishing, 2014
Doyle, Peter & Foster Chris. British Army Cap Badges of the First World War: Shire Publications, 2010
Doyle, Peter. Great War British Tommy Manual: The British Soldier 1914-18 [All Models]-Haynes Owners' Workshop Manuals: Haynes, 2013
Doyle, Peter & Foster Chris. Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War: The History Press, 2013
Doyle, Peter & Foster Chris. What Tommy Took to War, 1914-1918: Shire Publications, 2014
Doyle, Peter. The First World War in 100 Objects: The History Press, 2014
Forty, Simon. Mapping the First World War: Battlefields of the Great Conflict from Above: Anova Books, 2013
Gregson, Keith. A Tommy in the Family: First World War Family History Tales and Research Tips: The History Press, 2014
Hadaway, Stuart. Tracing Your Great War Ancestors: The Egypt and Palestine Campaigns: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen and Sword Books, 2017
Holding, Norman, More Sources of WWI Army Ancestry: FFHS, 1998
Holding, Norman & Swinnerton, Iain. WWI Army Ancestry: FFHS, 2004
Holmes, Richard. Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front 1914-1918: Harper Perennial, 2005
Holmes, Richard. Shots from the Front: The British Soldier 1914-18: HarperPress, 2010
Holmes, Richard. The First World War in Photographs: Andre Deutsch, July 2014
James, Brig. E. A. British Regiments 1914-18: Naval and Military Press, 2009
Paterson, Sarah. Tracing Your Prisoner of War Ancestors: The First World War: Pen & Sword, 2012
Rawson, Andrew. The British Army 1914-1918: The History Press, 2014
Spencer, William. First World War Army Service Records: The National Archives, 2008
Swinnerton, Iain. Identifying Your World War One Soldier from Badges and Photographs: Federation of Family History Societies, 2001


TNA Research Guides

Websites

General
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/birth-marriage-death-armed-forces (The National Archives Research Guide: How to look for records of Births, marriages and deaths in the armed forces. This is a brief guide to help you with your research into a birth, marriage or death in the British Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines or Royal Navy)
www.gov.uk/research-family-history (Gov.uk: Research your family history using the General Register Office)
www.gov.uk/government/publications/events-recorded-in-england-wales-and-overseas (Gov.uk: Events recorded in England and Wales and overseas. This is a list of the types of events that are recorded in England, Wales and overseas for which the General Register Office holds records. It also gives the dates for which the records are held)
www.collectionsgateway.org.uk/collections/97/grooverseas.pdf (General Register Office Overseas & Military Indexes)
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/?research-category=military-and-maritime (The National Archives Research Guides: Military and maritime)
www.ukmfh.org.uk (UK Military Family History Online: Links to web sites with online data and information to aid in military family history research)
www.armylists.org.uk (Guide to Army Lists and published lists available on CD)
www.parishchest.com (Online store selling military records from a variety of suppliers)
www.veterans-uk.info/index.html (Veterans UK)
www.iwm.org.uk/research/tracing-your-family-history/tracing-your-army-history (Imperial War Museum Research Guide: Tracing Your Family History. Guides to help you start your research into your army family history explaining what records you will need and where to find them. Subject areas include: Service records; Casualty information; Medal records; Unit and operational histories)
www.globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazfd/gazfd44.htm (British Military Records: The Army by Fawne Stratford-Devai)
www.militaryarchiveresearch.com (Military Archive Research, by Dr Stuart C Blank)
www.genuki.org.uk/big/MilitaryRecords (GENUKI Guide: UK and Ireland: Military Records)
www.genuki.org.uk/big/BritMilRecs (GENUKI: British Military Records by Jay Hall)
www.armymuseums.org.uk (The Army Museums Ogilby Trust. Directory of over 140 Army museums across the UK represented by the Trust)
www.nas.gov.uk/guides/military.asp (National Archives of Scotland Research Guide: Military Records)

WWI
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/firstworldwar/index.htm (TNA online WWI exhibition)
www.1914-1918.net (The Long, Long Trail - The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918: A resource for military historians, genealogists and others with an interest in the Great War of 1914-1918 with information on the soldiers, units, regiments and battles of the British Army. The site includes a section on 'Researching a soldier')
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/first-world-war (The First World War - The National Archives: Web portal dedicated to WWI with collections featuring letters, diaries, podcasts and videos, maps and photographs. Also discover online collections, research guides and educational resources to learn about the history behind the war)
www.operationwardiary.org
(Operation War Diary: Crowdsourcing partnership project between The National Archives, Imperial War Museums and Zooniverse which aims to unlock the details from within the WWI unit war diaries such as individual named individuals and place names)
www.bl.uk/world-war-one (World War One - The British Library: Explore over 500 historical primary sources from across Europe, together with new insights by World War One experts. Highlights include trench photographs, soldiers’ personal diaries, censored mail and propaganda posters)
www.westernfrontassociation.com
(The Western Front Association: The Association was formed with the aim of furthering interest in The Great War of 1914-1918 and to perpetuate the memory of all those on all sides who served during The Great War. The site includes a section on Research and Family History with articles providing help and guidance for your research into The Great War)
https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk (Imperial War Museum: Lives of the First World War. Discover, Explore and Remember Millions of Personal Stories From The First World War. The project tells the stories of individuals from across Britain and the Commonwealth who served in uniform and worked on the home front. Each person remembered has Life Story page using a variety of sources. The digital project ran from 12 May 2014 to 19 March 2019)
http://maps.nls.uk/ww1/trenches (British First World War Trench Maps, 1915-1918 - National Library of Scotland. Maps of the Western Front in the Great War depicting British and German trenches. Users can browse individual sheets using a zoomable map or view zoomable overlays of each map on a modern Google or Bing map)
www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War (British Red Cross: First World War Volunteers: Search over 90,000 people who volunteered for the British Red Cross at home and overseas during the war. Groups of volunteers were organised into Voluntary Aid Detachments)
www.everymanremembered.org (Every Man Remembered: The Royal British Legion initiative allows members of the public to commemorate with a personal dedication every individual man and woman from across the Commonwealth who fell in the First World War)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Welsh Guards 1914-1918. These records contain 4,060 names of officers who served with the Welsh Guards, and nominal rolls of Warrant Officers and NCOs)
http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk (TNA podcast: Tracing battalions or regiments of the British Army during the Great War)
www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/gwa (The Great War Archive: WWI digital photographs, audio, film, documents, and stories submitted by the general public. The initiative was run by Oxford University between the 3rd March and the 30th June 2008. Users can now share First World War objects on the The Great War Archive Flickr Group)
www.europeana.eu/portal/en/collections/world-war-I (Europeana 1914-1918. Explore the untold stories and official histories of World War I in items from across Europe including postcards, letters, diaries, images and other memorabilia)
www.pals.org.uk/research.htm (Guide to researching service records)
http://ww1-lost-photos.livejournal.com (Blog covering the WWI photographs of the unknown soldiers)
www.ww1photos.com
(World War One Photos: Thousands of identified photos & obituaries of First World War officers, soldiers, sailors, nurses, airmen and civilian workers)
www.flickr.com/photos/imperialwarmuseum/sets/72157627910530369/with/6279131985 (IWM Collections: Faces of the First World War)
https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20190327132724/http://www.1914.org (Imperial War Museum First World War Centenary 1914-1918)
https://cymru1914.org/en/home (Cymru 1914. The Welsh Experience of the First World War. Online access to digitised primary sources relating to the First World War from the Libraries, Special Collections and Archives of Wales)
www.inflandersfields.be/en (In Flanders Fields Museum. The museum presents the story of the First World War in the West Flanders front region and is located in the famous Cloth Hall in the centre of Ypres)
www.stepshort.co.uk (Step Short: Folkestone Harbour Canteen Visitors' Books: Online collection of 42,000 names of soldiers, nurses and other individuals who passed through the town of Folkestone on their way to the Western Front between 1914 and 1919)
www.ljmu.ac.uk/merseyside-at-war (Merseyside at War 1914-1918: Memories and memorabilia of people from Merseyside who lived, worked or fought during the World War 1 period. Items include letters, photographs, birth certificates and records, posters and medals)
www.findmypast.ie (Ireland's Memorial Record: World War 1: 1914-1918: Online access to transcribed  volumes of Ireland's Memorial Records, created to preserve and commemorate the memory of the thousands of Irishmen who died during the war)

Online Databases

Debt of Honour Register - Commonwealth War Graves Commission (The Debt of Honour Register records and commemorates the names of some 1.7 million men and women from all three services killed in the two world wars and others who died up to 31 December 1947)
www.findmypast.co.uk
(Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt Of Honour. Search the records to discover the final resting place of your military ancestors who died in the First and Second World Wars and covers cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries)
www.ancestry.co.uk
(UK, Commonwealth War Graves, 1914-1921 and 1939-1947. This collection comprises cemetery and memorial registers from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
www.thegenealogist.co.uk/ww1-wounded (Over 1.3 million records from daily and weekly First World War casualty lists from British and Commonwealth forces covering soldiers, sailors and airmen from all ranks. The collection covers both those who died of their wounds and those who recovered and returned to the front)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Royal Artillery Officer Deaths 1850-2011. Search through over a century of Royal Artillery records. The records include campaigns in Bosnia, Iraq and the First and Second World Wars. Discover your ancestor’s birth year, death date and obituary. The records include 27 Victoria Cross recipients)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Royal Artillery War Commemoration Book, 1914-1918. Explore more than 3,000 names of officers of the Royal Artillery who died during World War One. The images will show you the officer’s name, rank and death date)
www.forces-war-records.co.uk (Forces War Records: Military Hospitals Admissions and Discharge Registers WW1. The records are transcribed directly from the Military Hospital records in The National Archives collection reference MH 106)
www.thegenealogist.co.uk (Soldiers Who Died in the First World War. This record set covers over 650,000 individuals who died in the First World War. These records are uniquely linked to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to show you where your ancestor is commemorated)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Armed forces & conflict records, including Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 and War deaths from the Boer War, WWI and WW2)
www.gov.uk/probate-search (Find a Soldier's Will: Search for the will of a soldier who died while serving in the British armed forces between 1850 and 1986. Final handwritten wills and last letters home were kept by troops in their pocket service books and tucked into their uniforms. The wills, owned by Her Majesty's Court and Tribunal Service, include 280,000 soldiers who died in the Great War. See website for progress on the project)
www.findmypast.co.uk (Trade Union Members, Service & Casualties 1914-1918: Details of men and women from 18 different unions who served as soldiers or nurses in the First World War. The documents include details about individual members such as payments made, benefits received, name of spouse and can include members who did not serve in the war)
www.nmarchive.com (Naval & Military Archive: Military Genealogy: Datasets include Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919)
www.thegenealogist.co.uk (Casualty Lists, 1914-1919. The collection is a list of soldiers of all ranks who were reported as injured, missing or prisoners of war by The War Office)
www.familyrelatives.com (The Bond of Sacrifice - A Biographical Record of British Officers Who Fell in the Great War from August 1914 to June 1915)
www.familyrelatives.com (Officers Died in the Great War 1914-1919: Published in 1919 by HMSO and compiled in the Officers Casualties branch of the War Office from reports to the notice of the Military Secretary)
www.genesreunited.co.uk (WW1 death Records including Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919)
www.ancestry.co.uk (UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919)
www.ancestry.co.uk (Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929. This database contains records detailing the money owed to soldiers of the British Army who died in service from 1901 to 1929 and includes name of the soldier, his next of kin and their relationship. Produced in association with the National Army Museum)
www.forces-war-records.co.uk (Military Genealogy Forces War Records: Military records of over two million British Armed Forces personnel cross matched with over 4000 Regiments including Rolls of Honour, Crimean and Boer War Databases, Medal Rolls and Casualties Lists. The site also has a facility to access information on specific units or bases including regiments, ships, airfields)
www.militaryarchive.co.uk (The Military Archive: The site incorporates three extensive sets of resources: 'Murphy's Register' which has an index of records and photographs of individuals who served in British and Allied Forces from 1880's through to 1935, with a particular emphasis on the Great War: 'The Rolls' which can identify and confirm details from official records with regards to medals awarded: ‘The Library’ is a large, searchable online collection of divisional and regimental histories, and rolls of honour)
www.ancestry.co.uk (UK, Foreign and Overseas Registers of British Subjects, 1627-1965. Collection of birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial records from a variety of sources including British consulates and embassies and British and Scottish churches abroad. The collection also includes a number of registers from India and also a significant number of records of deaths of British and allied servicemen in France and Belgium during the First World War)
https://soldiersofglos.com (Transcribed summary service details of officers and men who served with the 28th North Gloucestershire Regiment during the 19th Century or the Gloucestershire Regiment in WWI. Database courtesy of Mr. J. Devereux)
https://database.namenlijst.be/publicsearch (Flanders Fields Museum: The Name List: Search fatalities of the Great War who died or were mortally wounded in Belgium, both civilian and military and whatever their nationality. The list includes the digitised Ireland’s Memorial Records which commemorates the memory of the thousands of Irishmen who died during the war)

CD Roms

S & N Genealogy Supplies (WWI Army Officer & Navy War Deaths)
Naval & Military Press (CDs include Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 and the Army Roll of Honour. These sets contain a complete listing of British soldiers that died in the two World Wars)
Naval & Military Press (Officers Died in the Great War 1914-1919: This publication is arranged in two parts: Part I The Old and New Armies, Part II The Territorial Force. RFC officers, both Regular and Territorial, are included in Part I, but not RAF, which came into existence on 1st April 1918)
Naval & Military Press (CDs include The Official Boer War Casualty Rolls of The British & Empire Army 1899-1902)
Surrey History Trust (Surrey Recruitment Register, 1908-1933. details of about 85,000 men who signed up for service in Surrey between 1908 and 1933, including volunteers and conscripts in World War I)
www.officialhistoryofthegreatwar.co.uk (Official History of The Great War: A complete record of the war on the Western Front, 1914-1918)