Soldiers’ records (1914-1920)
Search military records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks on Ancestry (£) including service records (WO 363), pension records (WO 364) and campaign medal cards.
These cover regular soldiers who may have enlisted as early as 1892 for 22 years’ service as well as a small number of stray service records of pre-war soldiers who did not serve from 1914-1920.
You should find
- soldiers discharged between 1914 and 1920
- soldiers killed in action between 1914 and 1920
- soldiers who served in the war and died of wounds or disease without being discharged to pension
- soldiers who were demobilised at the end of the war
You are unlikely to find
- regular soldiers who continued in the army after 1920
- soldiers who transferred to another service, taking their service record with them
The British Army contained regiments from parts of the former colonies. The service records in WO 363 and WO 364 include regiments such as:
- the West African Field Force (such as Nigerian, Gold Coast, Sierra Leonean and Gambian Regiments. Covers only British Army non-commissioned officers of European descent)
- British West Indies Regiment
- the West India Regiment
They do not include the service records for soldiers serving in the armies of Commonwealth countries (such as Canada, New Zealand or South Africa). You will need to contact their respective archives for advice on how to locate these records.
British Army casualty lists (1939-1945)
Search the daily British Army casualty lists (WO 417) on Findmypast.co.uk. These cover British Army officers, other ranks and nurses. They state the individuals’ rank, service number, date of becoming a casualty and type of casualty. It sometimes gives the unit/battalion number – you can use this to locate a unit war diary.
The term ‘casualty’ covers anyone in the British Army who was killed, wounded, missing, or was a prisoner of war.
Household Cavalry service records (1799-1920)
Search and download (£) service records (WO 400) of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who served in one of the Household Cavalry regiments during the First World War.
Medal cards (1914-1920)
Search the First World War army medal cards (WO 372) on our website (£) for a soldier who received a campaign medal or gallantry award.
Campaign medal rolls (1914-1920)
Search the campaign medal rolls (WO 329) on Ancestry (£) by name, regimental number and regiment. You may find abbreviations on a roll entry – some of these abbreviations are explained on our army medal index card guide (see section above).
The British War and Victory medal entries may give you a battalion/unit number which will help you to find a unit war diary.
Silver War Badge rolls (1914-1920)
Search the Silver War Badge rolls (WO 329) on Ancestry (£) by recipients’ name, regimental number or by badge number. Alternatively you can search by regiment.
Recommendations for military honours and awards (1935-1990)
Search the recommendations for military honours and awards (£) (WO 373) for personnel of the British Army and dominions’ armies.
Selected unit war diaries (1914-1922)
You can search some unit war diaries in WO 95 (£) which are available to view online. Only a select number of unit war diaries are viewable online.
Read our guide on British Army operations in the First World War for guidance on how to search for war diaries which are not viewable online.