20 November 2020
More than a century's worth of military records are featured in new additions to the genealogy website FindMyPast this week.
If you have military ancestors, you might well find mention of the person concerned in one of the new collections below.
British Armed Forces soldiers' wills, 1850-1986
Discover the last wishes of British privates and non-commissioned officers who served in the Army and Air Force. Originally collated by the War Office, each indexed record reveals the serviceman’s:
- next of kin
- regimental number
- date of death
Soldiers on active service were encouraged to make a short will, which had to be in their own handwriting and signed. This would give names and addresses of beneficiaries and all sums and articles to be left. This was usually completed in their pay book, and if they were killed, it would be extracted and sent back to the War Office.
The majority of these wills were extracted from pay books, but a number have been written as formal wills, statements from next of kin to confirm last wishes or letters that express similar sentiments.
Ireland, Londonderry (Derry) war memorial
In 1919 the mayor of the city of Londonderry (Derry), Sir Robert Anderson, set up the War Memorial Fund, dedicated to the creation of a memorial to commemorate the lives of the 756 soldiers from the city who fought and died during the Great War. Forms were sent out by the Secretary of the War Memorial Committee to next of kin of every fallen soldier, to confirm or amend held information prior to it being included on the War Memorial itself.
These records contain details of their service and next of kin.
British Red Cross & Order of St John Enquiry List, Wounded & Missing, 1914-1919
Between 1915 and 1918 The British Red Cross & Order of St John published regular lists of men missing in action during the First World War, about whom enquiries had been made. These lists were published at regular intervals, each list cancelling all lists previous to it.
Typical information includes a man’s name, regiment, battalion and company (for infantry battalions). Ranks are rarely given, but details about the date of casualty, the place where this occurred, and sometimes extensive additional information are included.
There are over 158,000 records in this collection which is published in partnership with the Naval & Military Press.
QUICK LINK: How to identify a military medal