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Archiver > LONDON > 2002-04 > 1020120777

From: "Linda Mason" <>
Subject: Re: [LON] military sevice history
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 23:53:31 +0100
References: <>

Hello Roger
The only way is through painstaking research as I found out myself. There
are no such records available on line, if indeed they are available at all,
although please see my note at the end of this.
I will leave you with notes I have gathered from the rootsweb GREATWAR list,
with particular grateful thanks to Iain Kerr:

World War I Records

The British armed services personnel records for those serving in 1914 up
to 1921 are currently being released from the Ministry of Defence to the
Public Record Office, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, United
Kingdom; (Telephone: General Enquiries, ++44 (0) 208 876 3444; Records
Information, ++44 (0) 208 392 5200; Fax: ++44 (020) 8878 8905). There they
are being microfilmed to occupy a number of new archives. This major
project began in 1997 and is due to end in 2003. The original documents
cannot be viewed due to their fragile condition. It will be some years
before all surviving information from these documents will be available
remotely due to the complexity of the information and volume. The records
are available in the PRO microfilm reading room as follows:

British Army Other Ranks, whose service ended in 1920 or before, may be in
the so-called "burnt" records. Those for surnames beginning with A to F
and L to Z are available now in WO 363 - First World War Soldiers'
Documents. Those starting with K will be available in Nov 2001, I and J
will be released in Jan 2002, H in May 2002 and G in Jul 2002. The
programme concludes in Aug 2002, with the mis-sorts.

You should note that there is some risk that the official archives of more
recent British Army personnel records are incomplete. It is reported that
up to half of the original pre-World War II British Army soldier's
personnel records were badly damaged by fire and water following a 1940
German bombing raid on the Hayes Record Office during World War II. Those
that survived are often incomplete and in a poor condition.

World War I Medal Rolls

If the serviceman or woman survived World War I and served long enough
overseas to qualify for campaign medals, then they should be found in the
Medal Rolls held at the PRO Kew. The rolls record service (campaign) medal
and honours and awards; the lists are kept in class WO 329. These rolls
however give little or no personal information being confined to the unit,
service number, theatres of war in which the individual served, and the
medals awarded. Those who served in France and Flanders between 5 Aug and
22 Nov 1914 received the 1914 Star (the "Old Contemptibles" medal). Those
who served in any war zones between 5 Aug 1914 and 31 Dec 1915 were awarded
the 1914-15 Star. All British and imperial servicemen and women who served
outside the UK between 1914 and 1920 were given the British War Medal and
British forces over the same period also received the Victory Medal. [The
three medals 1914 or 1914/15 Star, the War Medal and the Victory Medal
became known as "Pip, Squeak and Wilfred" to old soldiers.]

PRO information

These records are open for personal search by the enquirer or a nominated
agent. Details of the PRO can be found at their web site URL:

The PRO do not have an on-line searchable archive, but they do now have
searchable indexes to the main archives. The PRO will not usually
undertake research for personal or postal enquirers. However the PRO now
offer a copying service and other elements of their Enquiry Service at URL:

There are many web sites that can give you backgound information on both the
battles, the experiences and the regiments. A few that I have collected are

Good luck
......We are not always what we seem to be......
Researching: Cook(e) Mason Plant Keys Miller Broster Walton Dunn Rastall

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