Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below; these are some of the more commonly asked questions we receive.

War Diaries
  • I can't find it! Where's it gone? Is it here? Where?

    The answers to these questions are fairly simple. The War Diary you seek is almost certainly contained within the pages on this website. Using the search facilities should make finding it straightforward but a few tips may be useful. The term 'Piece number' is part of the original official government filing system and continues to be used by The National Archives (TNA) to identify a particular diary or diaries.

    When seeking a particular War Diary by, for example, selecting 'Regiment' and 'Battalion', you will be presented with the entire contents of that allocated 'Piece' number. It may have been allocated to more than one diary. To check this, perform a search solely on the piece number, this will reveal the full contents of that one piece. To isolate the one you want, use the filter facility made available after "view diary" is selected. Try keying just basic information to quickly get to your chosen unit or subject. Too much information may restrict your search. Alternatively, scroll down through the entire 'Piece' until you reach the sub section you seek. You may well come across unexpected gems on your journey! 

    The War Diaries were compiled during the course of, and immediately following, the First World War. They recorded the events deemed relevant at the time. These priceless documents were promptly locked away from public gaze as much of their contents was deemed secret. They were however made available to the historians appointed to write the official histories of the war. And that task dragged on for the next 30 years. The diaries returned to cold storage in due course, accessible only to the chosen few.

    In 1965 the War Diaries were finally released to readers at the Public Record Office, under Class WO95, and promptly seized upon by hungry historians. During the following decades their millions of pages were turned, photocopied, shuffled, damaged, misfiled, lost and, regrettably, sometimes stolen. Some items, most usually maps and sensitive personal information, were officially removed and re-located elsewhere.

    Then, a few years ago, now renamed The National Archives decided to scan a few of these precious papers. Gradually more and more diaries were copied and now we have created a sophisticated index to enable the researcher to easily access the required text. As with every index it helps to understand how the original document was filed and, in this case, prepared for the camera.

    After several decades of public rummaging the original diaries were in a bit of a sorry state. Volunteers spent a considerable amount of time sorting and tidying every diary and trying to get the pages back into chronological order before the camera arrived.

    The War Diaries in Class WO95 are 'Piece' numbered in a sequential order of seniority and date that makes perfect sense when they are read in paper form. They are stored in strong cardboard boxes for protection. Some diaries have more pages than others. It was not sensible to have a big box containing a diary of just few pages on its own - it took up too much shelf space. Accordingly, several diaries were placed, albeit in separate entitled folders, into a single box until it was full. It was easy to find a desired folder [diary] within the box. Each box, not each diary, was allocated a unique Piece number. Where the diary of a particular unit conveniently fills its box that number relates exclusively to that unit. An example is WO95/1714 which is the number allocated entirely to 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment for the period December 1914 to June 1919. Where, however, the diaries are small in physical size, many are grouped together into one box and hence share a single Piece number. A simple example is WO95/2179 where three diaries occupy one box and share the same number.

    Quite frequently units were transferred from one level of higher command to another. An example would be where a battalion was reassigned to a different division part way through the war. In such situations the diary for that unit will be divided between locations (divisions etc) and hence filed under two (or sometimes more) Piece numbers.

  • What is a war diary?

    The headquarters of each unit and formation of the British Army in the field was ordered to maintain a record of its location, movements and activities. For the most part, these details were recorded on a standard army form headed 'War diary or intelligence summary'.

  • Which War Diaries are included in your collection?

    The War Diaries included in this collection are for units within British and Indian Divisions on the Western Front during the Great War. That includes headquarter diaries for each division and brigade, all fighting and pioneer battalions, other units actually under the direct command of divisions or brigades such as trench mortar and machine gun  batteries, field artillery and related ammunition columns, Royal Engineer and signal companies, field ambulances and divisional trains. Cavalry Divisions are likewise also included.

  • What's not included?

    Diaries that are not included in this collection are: Theatres of War other than the Western Front. All Army and Corps headquarters diaries and those for all other units whose command was not devolved from those Armies and Corps to Divisions. For example,  heavy artillery, tank and  most Army Service Corps Companies as well as several smaller specialist units such as Base Post Offices and Mobile Laboratories. Also not included are diaries for Lines of Communication troops  or those in the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian Divisions. Some War Diaries were deliberately destroyed during the war for operational reasons. A few others have been lost for a variety of reasons during the intervening years.

  • What details are given?

    The details given vary greatly, depending on the nature of the unit, what it was doing and, to some extent, the style of the man writing it. The entries vary from very simple and repetitive statements like 'Training' up to many pages of description when a unit was in battle. Production of the diary was the responsibility of the Adjutant of the headquarters concerned.

  • Is there any other information or documents with the diaries?

    Some diaries have other documentation attached, such as maps, operational orders and after-action reports.

  • Do they all exist?

    We are very fortunate in that a significant proportion of all the diaries that were originally produced still exist today. However, there are exceptions: in particular, many units of the Labour Corps and the Royal Garrison Artillery, some Royal Engineers and Army Service Corps units are missing from the National Archives collection. Some diaries are only fragments, with pages or even whole months missing. Units and formations that were at home in general did not submit diaries, although a few of them do exist. Most of the diaries begin when the unit or formation was just about to go overseas, or when it was formed if this took place overseas.

  • How reliable or accurate are the diaries?

    The diaries were ordered to be written with a future production of an Official History in mind. In general, they appear to be factually accurate although inevitably at times of intensive action, especially when many officers and men did not survive, the details were written up after the event and relied on memory of what could be complex and chaotic situations. It is sometimes possible to detect from the language used in the diary whether it was written at the time or at a later date.

  • How easy are they to read and understand?

    In general the diaries are easy to understand but they are peppered with military terminology and often give locations in terms of trench map grid references.

  • Will I find a soldier I am looking for?

    Officers are frequently named in the diaries, from the date they arrived to join the unit, through times when they went on leave or to hospital, and often to coming a casualty. They also often feature in operational orders, after-action reports or when they were given special awards. The same is not generally true of men of the 'other ranks', although the diaries vary in this aspect. Some mention almost every man that became a casualty or who was given an award; others barely even mention the officers. If you have a soldier and know details of dates, it helps 'home in' on the period of interest.

    Tip: go up a level

    You will often find the war diary of a unit to be rather restricted in the details it gives – after all, it had only a narrow view of the war and was recording its own activities. If you go up a level (for example from an infantry battalion diary up to the brigade under whose command it came) you will often find much better contextual description, and more maps and orders. The higher diaries sometimes also mention gallantry and other awards that do not appear in the diaries lower down.

  • Can I print the pages off?

    Yes you can

  • Can I download a page?

    Yes, you can download pages on an individual basis

  • Acknowledgement and Copyright of War Diary Images

    © Crown Copyright Images reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, London, England.

    The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.

    Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education. Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.

Campaign Medal Rolls 1914-1919
  • Introduction to the Campaign Medal Rolls

    ­The Naval & Military Press commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War by listing on this website arguably every British Army serviceman and woman who served their King and Country during the ‘war to end all wars’. From the Recruiting Sergeant-Major with his single award of the British War Medal to the Victoria Cross hero, the soldier slaughtered on the first day of the Somme or the Nursing Sister, you will find their medal details recorded in full on this truly amazing disc.

    These records are the nearest we have to a full British Army ‘Roll-call’ for the Great War

    The information recording soldiers serving with British Forces and their eligibility for campaign medals is contained in the Medal Rolls 1914-1920. The original documents are held by The National Archives, Kew, London under the reference WO329. They have now been digitised by the Naval & Military Press and published for the first time. This now allows examination of these important records without a trip to Kew to view the original printed Rolls.

    The Campaign Medal Rolls for the Great War are contained in 2,972 bound volumes preserved at The National Archives. Difficult to search, they contain a wealth of information not available elsewhere. Whereas the Medal Index Cards are invaluable, that collection is incomplete and generally but a précis of the actual Rolls. For the first time, those original Rolls have been carefully transcribed and the resulting database is now available for you to search.

    The Medal Rolls contain over 6.5 million records detailing the medal entitlement of our officers, soldiers and many civilians for the First World War. Naturally, a recipient may have more than one record. Using the Rolls it is often possible to establish the battalion of the regiment with which the soldier fought. Gems of additional information sometimes appear to add colour to the medal entitlement; or perhaps forfeiture of entitlement, if the soldier committed an offence such as desertion!

    The Rolls are in fact the certificates of entitlement to the 1914 Star, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Territorial Force War Medal and, in addition, certain other medals etc awarded for particular services. They appear to be complete. The successive units a recipient served with during the war are commonly revealed along with their regimental number at that time. Using the available data will frequently guide the researcher to access the appropriate War Diary and thus be able to read, on a day-by-day basis, what action the chosen battalion was engaged in.

  • Overview of the original documents

    This database contains 6.5 million records. It was transcribed by Naval & Military Press Ltd from 2,973 bound volumes of records (Medal Rolls) held in the safe custody of The National Archives. It details the official entitlement to campaign medals awarded for service in the Great War. Only service in a designated theatre of war qualified anyone to campaign medals. Service in the United Kingdom, with very few exceptions, did not qualify. Members of the Royal Navy were subject to different rules and most are not included in this database.

     The vast majority of people who served in a theatre of war with the British during the First World War were entitled to the British War and Victory Medals. Many were also entitled to either the 1914 Star or the 1914-15 Star. The medals awarded were recorded in separate official Medal Rolls and therefore millions of soldiers have more than one entry in this database. For some, who remained exclusively with the same unit, their regimental number may continue throughout their service. Others changed units or were re-numbered. And many non-military personnel, such as the Female (M.I.5.) Civilians, similarly served and were also entitled to campaign medals. Most are honourably mentioned within this database.

    Please remember that databases cannot reason with vagaries or imprecise searches. If you enter a 'wrong' search criteria you will not get the result you seek. It cannot understand or interpret that, although you entered 'John', you really meant 'Jack'! The golden rule is that, 'less gives more'. It is better to get lots of possible results [hits] and then filter them down, rather than to not get any hits at all. That said, there are over 90,000 people named 'Smith' in this database so some initial filtering may be desirable!

  • Which medals are included?
    • 1914 Star
    • 1914-15 Star
    • British War Medal 1914-20
    • Victory Medal 1914-19
    • Territorial Force War Medal 1914-19
  • Numbers for WW1 Campaign Medal Rolls

    6.5 million database records

    10.9 million campaign medals

    4.6 million servicemen and women

  • What is the source of this information?

    The campaign Medal Rolls for the Great War are contained in 2,972 thick, bound volumes preciously stored at the National Archives under reference WO329.

    Difficult to search, they contain a wealth of information not available elsewhere.

  • What is the difference between these Medal Rolls and the Medal Index Cards?

    The Medal Rolls were the source material for the Medal Index Cards. During transcription much information was omitted and many errors and corruption of soldiers' records were made; the cards are generally but a précis of the actual rolls.

    Therefore, the Medal Rolls present a more complete and accurate survey of a soldier's military career.

  • More information and further research

    The successive units a man served with during the war are commonly revealed in the rolls, along with his regimental number at that time. Using the available data will frequently guide the researcher to access the appropriate War Diary and thus be able to read, on a day-by-day basis, what action the chosen battalion was engaged in.

  • Previous Unit(s)

    Many soldiers served in a succession of units for various reasons. The British War & Victory Medal rolls frequently show, under one of the prescribed headings such as, 'units previously served with' on the army form, not only the previous unit and regimental numbers but the current ones as well. The regimental number often changed when the soldier transferred to another unit. Where present, these features can often be used to determine or confirm in which battalion the soldier served. This information is vital and rarely found other than on the medal rolls. With it you can decide which War Diary to read and thus see what the soldier's battalion etc was doing on a day by day basis.

    When searching for a name that is unlikely to be unique, it is not always immediately obvious which entries relate to the same person. Examination of the entries of previous units on the British War & Victory rolls should however generally show the succession of units to enable a positive identification.

  • Can I print records off?

    Yes you can

  • Can I download data?

    No. You can print and email records, but you cannot download records.

Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
  • Where does the data come from?

    From the two lists of those who died during the Great War, published by His Majesty's Stationery Office on behalf and by authority of the War Office in 1921. These two lists consisted of 80 volumes of soldiers and one volume of officers. The Naval & Military Press arranged for the original data in both to be entered to a high level of accuracy. The original data has been extensively revised and corrected, and is now the best source of information available on those in the British Army who died in the First World War.

  • Where can I find further information on an individual?

    There are many sources of information, including the National Archives, the Imperial War Museum and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The Naval & Military Press offers a wide range of books on military subjects, and as you use the website you will be prompted to go to relevant publications they have available that may be of interest to you.

  • When I view a record, why are some fields blank?

    This is because the War Office recorded no information for those fields in 1921.

  • Why are some records duplicated?

    Apparent duplication or incorrect positioning of entries throughout this website mirrors the original 1921 printed works. For example, every battalion of the London Regiment was affiliated to another regiment of the Army. In some instances, the names of soldiers who enlisted in the London Regiment, but who died while serving in units of affiliated regiments, will be found in the rolls of the affiliated regiments and vice versa. The regiments concerned are: Royal Fusiliers (City of London), King's Royal Rifle Corps, Rifle Brigade, Middlesex Regiment, Royal West Kent Regiment, East Surrey Regiment, Royal West Surrey Regiment, Gordon Highlanders and Royal Irish Rifles.

    Officers attached to other units will often have an entry under both named units in Officers Died. It is noticed that this especially applies to those attached to the Royal Flying Corps, Tank Corp and Machine Gun Corp. The decorations shown in cases of duplication are not always identical, perhaps because either the parent regiment or that which the officer was attached to did not have up-to-date information.

  • Can you correct or edit any errors in individual records?

    Our aim with this web edition of Soldiers Died has been to produce as near perfect a copy of the original War Office works as humanly possible. Our basic editorial rule is that if it appears in the original 1921 records, then it will appear on this website without alteration.

  • Are there errors in this database?

    The original versions of both Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 and Officers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 unfortunately contain many errors. These were made at the time. It is not possible to speculate on the number of original errors, even less to correct the majority of them on the website. This is primarily because of the destruction of the military records from which Soldiers Died was compiled in the first place by the War Office in 1921. It nevertheless remains a unique source of the most valuable information. The basic editorial rule adopted is that if it appears in the original printed edition, it has been copied thus onto the website. In response to numerous requests it has however been decided exceptionally to amend, where appropriate, the dates of death of those 110 casualties recorded as dying either before the war commenced or after 1/1/1921. In addition, a small number of dates, which made no sense at all, have been corrected. The authority adopted for the amended dates of death is that published by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

  • Why are the records in Soldiers Died in the Great War not amended when an error is discovered? The Commonwealth War Graves Commission sometimes updates theirs.

    Both sets of records are different and thus are for different purposes; see the following FAQ.

    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is primarily a maintenance organisation dealing with the graves, cemeteries and memorials commemorating those Commonwealth personnel who died during the two Worlds Wars. It also keeps and maintains records of the fallen, but only those records required for identification of the deceased and the location of their grave or memorial. The Commission does not have access to service details or records of the actions which resulted in the deaths of those it commemorates. Their records are maintained to enable relatives or others to identify the grave or memorial of a deceased for whom they are responsible. As such, any identified errors may be sometimes corrected provided sufficient relevant evidence is provided. It is not normally necessary to correct minor errors that have no bearing on the positive identification of the individual or their grave or memorial. The Commission is however not a repository of research and is unable to expend its limited resources on detailed research on behalf of the public.

    Soldiers Died in the Great War is now a historical document originally compiled in 1921 by numerous clerks in the War Office. It is known to contain many errors, but as the original records from which it was compiled have been destroyed, it is not possible to attempt to correct errors with any authority. Soldiers Died in the Great War is no longer used for official purposes for identifying the dead of the First World War. It is mainly used by historians or those with family connections. The information provided was transcribed from the original volumes with the greatest care. But mistakes can occur. If a transcription error is discovered it will be corrected. It is however not practical to attempt to correct original War Office errors made over 84 years ago. It is for the user to interpret the information provided in the same way as they would use any other secondary source of information.

  • What are the differences between the data in Soldiers Died in the Great War (SWD) and the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)?

    Both authorities give details about the casualty but there are considerable differences in the information available. Soldiers Died (in 80 volumes plus one for officers) was compiled, published and sold by the War Office in 1921 from various military records that no longer exist. Similar, but not identical, information was made available to the War Graves Commission and they used some of it to identify casualties for their registers, most of which were published and sold during the 1930s.

    In summary, the most important purpose of the files of the CWGC is to provide information so that the next of kin may know the resting place or place of commemoration of their relatives. The CWGC records are therefore designed to identify the casualty and trace the cemetery or memorial. They give the location of the grave or memorial to aid a visit and thus provide a most valuable service.

    The basic CWGC data is supplemented, in 60% of the cases only, with additional information that was provided by the family before the registers were published. The cause of death, decorations, details of former unit, together with places of birth, enlistment or residence are not given unless mentioned in additional information supplied at the time by relatives.

    Soldiers Died in the Great War has been computerised from the paper volumes published in 1921. In addition to giving basic information to enable identification it also shows, in a majority of cases, genealogical details of value to family historians such as places of birth, enlistment and residence. Often the former military unit is shown along with other useful information such as medal entitlement. The fundamental cause of death and theatre of war is also shown.

    Neither Soldiers Died in the Great War nor the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission stand alone. They complement each other with similar, but generally different, information other than the basic military identification information.

  • Memorial Scrolls

    You may generate a Memorial Scroll, very similar to the ones sent to the next of kin of deceased officers and soldiers. These will be in colour, like the originals, and the full information contained in Soldiers Died in the Great War will appear at the bottom of each scroll. If you wish to keep this please ensure that you either download it to your hard drive or email it to a computer.

About the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 records
  • Accuracy of the Soldiers Died records

    The original version of Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 unfortunately contains many errors. These were made at the time. It is not possible to speculate on the number of original errors, even less to correct the majority of them. This is primarily because of the destruction of the military records from which Soldiers Died was compiled in the first place by the War Office in 1921. It nevertheless remains a unique source of the most valuable information. The basic editorial rule adopted is that if it appears in the original printed edition, it has been copied thus into this database. In response to numerous requests, it has however been decided exceptionally to amend, where appropriate, the dates of death of those 110 casualties recorded as dying either before the war commenced or after 1/1/1921. In addition, a small number of dates, which made no sense at all, have been corrected. The authority adopted for the amended dates of death is that published by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

  • Places of birth, enlistment or residence

    These fields are only available for soldiers. The War Office did not record the places of birth and residence for officers.

    The information given in the 1921 edition has been transcribed into the appropriate fields but it must be realised that many variations of place names exist in those old records – and hence on this website. This is partly dependent on what abbreviations and punctuation were used by the War Office clerks. They, in turn, could only copy what they were given! Whether true or not, whether abbreviated or not, whether punctuated or not – the information has been copied by our transcribers, exactly as per the original and as accurately as humanly possible. It is for the researcher to interpret the data.

    Place of birth
    Not every record has a place of birth recorded. Occasionally, because of the way the original records were typeset, the places of enlistment and residence may be entered in this field. Hopefully this should appear obvious to the researcher. Unfortunately such original errors cannot be corrected now.

  • Enlistment

    Not every record has a place of enlistment recorded. There are more entries for places of enlistment than for the other place fields.

  • Residence

    There are fewer places of residence than places of birth recorded. This is partly because not every unit gave that information for inclusion in the original records. Some regiments have few places of residence shown eg Cheshire Regiment; some have none eg Royal Sussex Regiment.

  • Ranks

    There are 547 ‘different’ ranks for soldiers which can appear on a record – just as they were originally printed. Many of the variations came about because different clerks at the War Office used different abbreviations, or even different punctuation, to represent the same rank.

  • Counties

    It must be remembered that county boundaries have changed considerably since 1921, especially around London. Many places currently thought of as being within London were, at the time of the Great War, in Surrey, Kent, Essex or Middlesex.

  • Date of death

    The exact date of death of many soldiers is not known. In the majority of cases the War Office made an assumption and a specific date was attributed to the death. Most often this was the first possible date the soldier could have died in action. Sometimes, however, an ‘in between dates’ situation is recorded.

The National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918
  • How did the National Roll originate?

    It was originally published by the National Publishing Company, which attempted, shortly after hostilities ceased, to compile a brief biography of as many participants in the First World War as possible. Alas, after completing 14 volumes covering various areas around the country, the company ceased trading.

  • How was the National Roll compiled?

    By subscription. The contributors were charged 7/6d (37p) per entry in one volume. It seems people were invited to submit a personal biography of themselves or another in a certain format.

  • What is special about the National Roll of the Great War?

    Genealogists long ago realised the enormous value of the National Roll, for the information it contains is virtually unique. It gives a pen picture of the war service of well over 110,000 men and women. Included is the unit the person served in, their address, their medals and a brief biography of their service. In addition to those from the Navy, Army and Air Force, many civilian war workers are included.

    Each entry runs, on average, to over 100 words. Many areas of the country, in addition to London, were covered. Some volumes extend well beyond the named area. For example, ‘Southampton’ includes villages and towns many miles from the city. Other areas covered include: Manchester, Leeds, Portsmouth, Bradford, Salford, Birmingham, Luton, Bedford and Northampton.

  • Is the online database easier to use than the original books?

    Yes. Aside from locating a set of the books, which are not readily available, your online search gives a rapid index check of all 14 original volumes. It then links straight to the required page and displays it in a very convenient form that can be downloaded onto your computer for future reference.

  • If it is considered factual errors are present in the record I have displayed, can they be corrected?

    Sorry, no. Errors discovered in any published book cannot be corrected unless it is re-published as a second edition. No second edition of the National Roll has ever been published. What you are viewing is a copy of the original and only edition.

De Ruvigny's Roll Of Honour 1914-1924
  • Who was Marquis de Ruvigny?

    He was Melville Amadeus Henry Douglas Heddle de La Caillemotte de Massue, the 9th Marquis of Ruvigny and Raineval. He was heavily involved in genealogical research and published several books on genealogy – mainly on the nobility of Europe. He died in 1921.

  • Is there anything special about the Roll of Honour?

    Very much so. It was originally published in five volumes and is a compilation of over 26,000 biographies of casualties of the Great War of 1914-1918. Each page of the original book was published in two columns of small yet clear text. The biographies vary in length from a couple of lines of basic information to well over 1,000 words of text detailing the pre-war life and exact circumstances of death.

  • Does it only cover officer casualties?

    No. Unlike many Rolls of Honour this one combines both officers and other ranks. All arms of service are included.

  • Does it cover the whole war?

    Whereas some biographies relate to casualties in 1917 and 1918, it is noticed that the majority relate to deaths in the earlier years.

  • What else is so special about this Roll of Honour?

    It includes nearly 7,000 photographs of the deceased soldiers, sailors and airmen. Like all old photographs taken from printed books, some are of a higher quality than others. Indeed, some were taken from newspapers at the time of original publication.

  • If it is considered factual errors are present in the record I have displayed, can they be corrected?

    Sorry, no. Errors discovered in any published book cannot be corrected unless it is re-published as a second edition. No second edition of the Marquis de Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour has ever been published. What you are viewing is a copy of the original and only edition.

Distinguished Conduct Medal Citations 1914-1920
  • What is the Distinguished Conduct Medal?

    Although the history of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, instituted in 1854, is complex, it prestige is simple. It was awarded 'for distinguished conduct in the field' and, ranking just below the Victoria Cross, is most highly regarded. During the First World War over 25,000, including nearly 500 first and second bars (additional awards), were given to army 'other ranks'.

  • What did the recipients have to do to get one?

    In short, perform an act or acts demonstrating extreme levels of courage.

  • How was this first publicised?

    By an entry in the London Gazette, the official newspaper.

  • What did it say and can we access this information?

    Most entries for the Distinguished Conduct Medal are in the form of a citation, which typically gives the man’s name, rank, number and unit as well as a summary of the act of heroism that resulted in the award. Very often the soldier’s hometown is shown. The date it appeared in the London Gazette is also given. The entire entry is available to view on this website, Military-Genealogy.

  • What does all this tell us about our ancestors?

    It typifies the sheer grit, determination and raw courage of some of our forebears who fought, in often appalling conditions, in a hideous war that lasted over four years. If your ancestor was not decorated for bravery that does not mean he was not brave.

    Many valiant acts were simply not officially witnessed to qualify for an award. Many others went unrecognised among the melee of ‘modern’ warfare. Perhaps your ancestors, serving alongside the recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, were also eligible for a bravery award that for some quirk of fate was not recognised at the time.

Ireland's Memorial Records 1914-1918
  • How did Ireland's Memorial Records originate?

    In 1923, 100 luxury volumes, with beautiful symbolic borders, detailing Ireland’s 49,000 war dead were printed on behalf of the Irish National War Memorial Committee under the direction of Lord Ypres (Field Marshal Sir John French). They were primarily intended for distribution through the principal libraries of the country.

  • Who is in these records?

    The men and women commemorated either served in Irish Regiments etc or were born or resident in geographical Ireland at the time of their death with other units from Britain and the dominions.

  • What do Ireland's Memorial Records contain?

    The principle information given for each person, whereas being similar to Soldiers Died in the Great War, quite often contains additional facts such as age and elaboration on how killed etc. For example, the entry, ‘died of wounds received in Sinn Fein Rebellion’ has been noticed. Details of pre-war medal entitlement and other odd facts occasionally occur. This is almost certainly the only publication to bring together so many of the Great War dead from all over Ireland in order that they may be individually and collectively honoured and remembered. Kitchener of Khartoum is probably the most senior officer commemorated.

Naval Casualties 1914-1919
  • How many 'other rank' naval casualties were there in the Great War?

    Almost 44,000 sailors perished during the course of that war and its immediate aftermath.

  • Where are the original records and can they be consulted?

    They are at The National Archives in Kew and are in a very distressed condition and difficult to read through years of use.

  • Were not most of the sailors who died lost at sea and have no known grave?

    That is true and yet around 36% do have graves around the world. Aside from seamen who actually died on land, many bodies were subsequently washed ashore after their ship sank. Additionally, thousands fought as ‘sea-soldiers’ in support of their chums in the army at Gallipoli, Russia and the Western Front. Those who died on land will often have named graves. For those whose grave is the sea there is still considerable information available. If there is no known grave then their name will usually appear on a memorial to the missing.

  • What information can I get by looking at these records?

    A lot. Aside from their full name, rating, number, branch of service, name of ship or unit, decorations etc, other valuable information is usually available. The date and cause of death, location of their cemetery and reference of grave (where applicable) is shown, together with the name and address of the relative notified of the death. This last item will be especially useful to genealogists.

  • Is there anything unusual to be gleaned from these records?

    There are many surprises, such as submariners buried in Baghdad and men in the Armoured Car Division buried in Russia. One gem, noticed among the records describing a grave, is “Buried [in] East Africa on a small knoll marked by blazed tree, R. bank Kaibiga River, 100 yards W. of Ndyimbwa-Ungwara.” For those lost at Gallipoli there are often detailed descriptions rather than traditional locations for the grave.

  • What about naval officers who died? Why are they not included?

    The casualty records for officers are contained in card indexes at The National Archives and it is hoped will be included in our database soon. In the meantime, details can be gleaned from The Cross of Sacrifice (volume 2) by S.D & D.B Jarvis, which is obtainable from Naval & Military Press.

Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945
  • Where did the data for Army Roll of Honour originate?

    The original information came from a variety of sources within the War Office. Between 1944 and 1949 fatal casualty details were encoded onto cards and then printed via a Hollerith machine. The original printout, a copy of which can be seen at The National Archives, is largely in coded form. All the data it contains was decoded and transcribed in 2000 by Naval & Military Press and published as a fully searchable CD-ROM. Identical information is now on this website.

    Some general questions may be answered by referring to FAQ - Soldiers Died in the Great War, as similar situations arise for the Army Roll of Honour World War II.

  • What period do the records for Army Roll of Honour World War II cover?

    3 September 1939 to 20 December 1946.

  • Are there errors in this database?

    Unfortunately yes! The original records were kept and then copied by vast numbers of clerks, many of whom were insufficiently trained and motivated for the purpose. The primitive punch card system used did not, additionally, lend itself to accuracy.

  • How many records are there?

    There are 171,212 records, with both officers and other ranks in one database.

  • Why are double-barrelled names not written with a hyphen? Why is the apostrophe omitted from such names as O'Brien and why are decorations not shown separately from initials?

    The original records were all printed in upper case letters with no punctuation. Naval & Military Press transcribed the names as accurately as possible, but could not always differentiate between a casualty’s initials and decorations. For the website, upper and lower case has been used as it is more aesthetic, but the original problem remains.

  • In view of the problem with initials, decorations etc, how are they shown on the website?

    They are shown under 'Initials etc' in the following order: Initials, Title (where appropriate) and then Decorations.

  • Why are some dates of death incomplete?

    Because that is how the War Office showed them.

  • Can you correct or edit any errors in individual records?

    Sorry, no. Our aim with this web edition of Army Roll of Honour is to produce as near perfect a copy of the original War Office works as humanly possible. Our basic editorial rule is that if it appears in the original version, then it will appear on this website without alteration.

  • Why are the records in Army Roll of Honour not amended when an error is discovered? The Commonwealth War Graves Commission sometimes update theirs?

    Please see 'Historical Questions: Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-19'. A similar situation applies to the World War II records.

  • Less information appears on the Roll of Honour than is available for Great War casualties. Why is this?

    It was a War Office decision to restrict the amount of information it was prepared to make public for Second World War casualties. All that was available has been transcribed and published.

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