Volunteers complete extensive WO 374 project

Volunteers at the end of the WO 374 project

Volunteers at the end of the WO 374 project

A project completed by volunteers at The National Archives has made searching for relatives who fought in the First World War easier. Over the last two years, volunteers have been working on series WO 374 to ensure it is now fully catalogued.

This series contains the papers of 77,833 officers who were either Territorial or temporary officers during the First World War. Before this project, their files could only be searched using initials and surnames. The work completed by the volunteer team now means readers know that the files they are ordering belong to the correct officer, as forenames, parent unit and rank have been recorded. Not only will this be a benefit to researchers, it will save time and costs in document production.

Famous names in WO 374 include the composer Ralph Vaughan-Williams; author, archaeologist and one of the architects of the Arab Revolt, T. E. Lawrence; actor Leo Grattan Carroll who appeared in a number of Hitchcock films and The Man from U.N.C.L.E and star of stage and film, Basil Rathbone, best known for his appearances as Sherlock Holmes.

As a result of the hard work and dedication by the volunteers this series has been opened up for further exploration. The examples given here represent a tiny fraction of the treasures found in the series, with many more stories waiting to be found. You can start your adventure by searching our online catalogue – Discovery.