Do you have family members who fought with the British Army in World War I? If so, you might find them in Fold3’s new collection of British Army WWI Service Records (via the National Archives of the UK).
This collection has service records for non-commissioned officers and “other ranks” (soldiers below officer rank) of the World War I era British army. The soldiers in the collection are typically those who were discharged between 1914 and 1920, those who were killed in action or died of wounds or disease during that time, or those who were demobilized at the war’s end. Some of these soldiers may have enlisted as early as 1892. The records do not include those who served with armies from Commonwealth countries, nor those who continued to serve with the British army after 1920.
The range of service records available in this collection is limited by the fact that many of them were destroyed during a 1940 bombing, leaving behind only roughly 40 percent of the original number. However, despite this, Britain’s National Archives microfilmed all the surviving service records, and those records are what appear in this collection. Because of the bombing, some of the surviving service records are damaged, sometimes affecting their readability.
On Fold3, these records are organized by the soldier’s surname. Keep in mind that some names may have been misspelled in the records, and that some soldiers used initials or nicknames instead of their given first name.
The records include various forms, depending on the individual, such as attestation forms, medical history forms, casualty forms, disability statements, regimental conduct sheets, awards, proceedings on discharge, and others. From these records, you may find information like the soldier’s name, age, birthplace, occupation, marital status, regimental number, date of attestation, physical description, and more.
Examples of service record documents include:
- Attestation form of Alfred Scrafton
- Medical History of Samuel Sears
- Casualty Form for John Williams
- Disability Statement for Albert Pope
- Regimental Conduct Sheet for William Benson