5499WWI Soldiers' Records
- Nov 19, 2008Heather Jaremko put the following message on Dist-Gen recently:
> I am doing some research for a lady and she gave me her grandfather's name.She said that she thinks that he was in WWI and gave me a possible medal card
for him. I have checked a name in the British Military records and have come up
with a medal record but I do not find him in any military records or pension
records. I know which regiment he might have been with and the unit number.
Could any one tell me why I found him in one place but not in the other two? Any
help with this information would be greatly appreciated.
I replied directly to Heather as follows:
> Unless the person died, the medals record may be the only information you aregoing to find about a WWI soldier.
> Most of the WWI soldiers' records were lost in the London bombing of WWII.Parts of some of these records were transcribed by volunteers and microfilmed.
The results were called the "Burnt Documents." There are several cabinets filled
with these microfilms at the PRO at Kew. I believe Ancestry now has them on
their UK website.
Heather has now asked me to post this information on our mailing list so I
checked the notes about them on Google. My source was:
If you check this site you will learn that more than half of the records were
destroyed. The ones that survived were filmed but they are difficult to read. I
went to The National Archives at Kew several years ago to look for the records
of my two maternal uncles who served in WWI, completely forgetting to look for
my paternal uncle. I was unsuccessful.
The filing cabinets containing these films were organized alphabetically by
surname so it was easy enough to locate "P". Within the letter "P" the entries
were not strictly alphabetical so one had to carefully search each entry. Some
entries contained a lot of information about the soldier.
Ancestry has made some of these burnt documents available to subscribers. If you
access the undernoted site you will note that they have British Army WWI Service
Records, 1914-1920 but their latest release of burnt documents only contains