WW1 Troop Movements - a new interactive feature at Forces War Records

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30 June 2016
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Screen-Shot-2016-06-29-at-12.15.11-46347.png Forces War Records
Track your WW1 Army ancestor’s movements using the new interactive map feature at Forces War Records

The Battle of the Somme was Britain’s biggest and bloodiest battle. And the 141 days of conflict included many smaller battles whose names have gone down in military history and in the stories of our ancestors’ war at the Somme – Delville Wood, Albert, Fromelles, Thiepval Ridge, Ancre Heights and more.

To commemorate all those who served at the Somme, Forces War Records has launched a new interactive feature enabling you to track your WW1 Army ancestor’s movements. Try it for free this weekend only, 30th June-3rd July, at www.forces-war-records.co.uk/ww1-troop-movements.

WW1 Troop Movements - using Order of Battle of Divisions (ORBATS) - is a new interactive feature on the Forces War Records website and gives more details of Army ancestors who served in the Great War of 1914-1918, movements of his battalion, where he embarked, which battles he would have fought in, and in which locations and on what battlefronts he may have served.

The ORBATS data, transcribed by Forces War Records, was used to produce this moving audio-visual interactive map, which tracks step-by-step the progress of units throughout the course of the war, from the opening battle at Mons to the closing stages of the Spring Offensive and the Armistice. Pinpoint exactly where a unit was on a given date and trace the battles, actions and events it took part in, while listening to an account of the action that took place at each location.

The specialist data team has been working for two years to transcribe the official ORBATS, published by His Majesty’s Stationery Office, as well as numerous official histories of the Great War, to help create this in-depth record of military operations and engagements by the British Army.

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What are ORBATS?

These are documents produced by the military that outline the hierarchical structure, command organisation and disposition of units for particular engagements undertaken by the Commonwealth and British Armed Forces. At the highest level they present a breakdown of the units involved in wider conflicts, the First World War in this case, including the names of divisional and brigade commanding officers and details of the organisation of the divisions, right down to battalion level, along with their attached units, for example from the Royal Artillery.

Watch a demo of the new interactive map feature below: