First World War Army Top Tips
Starting Your Search
WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914-1920 (Ancestry)
Every man and woman (as well as a few civilians) who saw service overseas was issued with a medal.
WWI Service Records (Ancestry)
These include the forms men completed when they joined the army. They also record a man’s service, both at home and overseas.
Often known as the ‘burnt records’. Only 40% survive after a bomb attack in WWII led to a fire in the War Office building, where the records were held, destroying many of the records.
May still be held by the MOD if ancestor remained in the army after WWI.
WWI Pension Records (Ancestry)
For those who were discharged from the Army because of sickness or wounds and did not re-enlist in the Army prior to the Second World War.
National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918 (Ancestry)
Mini biographies of British soldiers who served, including some who died. Information for the entries was generally submitted by family members or the soldiers themselves who paid to be included. Information provided was not verified and therefore, may or may not be accurate.
The collection does not cover the whole of the country, and even for the areas it does cover, is not comprehensive.
All volumes are available at Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard libraries. Bedford Central Library holds the volume covering Bedford and Northampton.
Ancestry Library Edition website
FREE to use in Bedfordshire Libraries (free for two hours in Central Bedfordshire Libraries, free for the first 60 minutes in Bedford Borough Libraries)
Ancestry are offering library members access to the Library Edition from home until the end of June 2021.
Click here to log in with your library card number and PIN.
Was he awarded any medals/honours for gallantry?
- Search the archive of the
London Gazette newspaper
During the First World War 628 awards of the Victoria Cross were made. Search the Victoria Cross list
If your ancestor died in the war:
died in the Great War 1914-1919 (Ancestry)
Lists those who died during WWI.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Lists the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations worldwide where they are commemorated.
Roll of Honour commemorates those who died or were injured, often for both World Wars. Search by village/town to see if your ancestor is named.
- War Memorials Archive enables you to search the records of war memorials commemorating all wars located throughout the United Kingdom. They range from familiar community crosses and statues to less common memorials like bus shelters, sundials, park benches and even an island. 60,000 memorials have been recorded so far.
We haveback files of local newspapers on microfilm or in bound volumes
The Times Newspaper 1785-2007
Search the complete digital edition of the Times newspaper.
Armed Services section of WebLinks
Search the catalogue> Advanced search > Subject> Armed Forces, genealogy
The National Archives began digitising diaries in 2011
May also be kept at Regimental museums
Lists – Reference Libraries
After 6 February 1918, service men could register to vote in the constituency of their home address. Two Absent Voters Lists were published in October 1918 and April 1919. Men had to be over 21 years old to vote, so the names of men under 21 are not included.
- Bedfordshire Archives has the Bedfordshire and Luton Absent Voters List
Free to search but £10 to view a will
Page last updated: 17th June 2020