To mark Armistice Weekend, Ancestryis giving free access to its First World War military records databases from today until Sunday 13 November.
These records include Attestation Forms, medical and casualty details, conduct, awards and disability statements. The kind of information you are likely to find in them includes name, address, next of kin, age, physical description and occupation. Wonderful stuff for your Irish genealogy research!
The collections included in this offer are:
- British Army Service Records 1914-1920: This database contains the surviving records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who served in WWi and did not re-enlist before WW2. These are the records known as the Burnt Documents, which survived a bomb explosion in 1940. Unfortunately, not all descendents of WW1 soldiers will find records; about 60% of the original 6.5million service records were destroyed.
- British Army Pension Records 1914-1920: This database contains service records for non-commissioned officers and other ranks who were discharged from the Army and claimed disability pernsions.
- Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914-1920: This collection contains records for about 4.8million soldiers, about 90% of those who fought. They were created towards the end of the First World War and make up the most complete listing of soldiers involved. Nearly all soldiers who fought outside the British Isles were entitled to receive at least one medal.
While rooting about on Ancestry you might also like to take a look at the newest military collection: Silver War Badges 1914-1920, which contains more than 800,000 records.
The Silver War Badge was introduced in September 1916 to anyone who had been honourably discharged from the Forces on the grounds of ill health. Recipients wore it on civilian clothes, as a clear sign that they had done their duty and were not cowards. This collection is a comprehensive database of men who were injured or ill during the Great War.
Details include the soldier's dates of enlistment and discharge, information about why they were discharged, as well as their rank, unit and regimental number.