Delve into the archives

A guide to begin your research

The commitment of archivists to preserve the records is revealed by the increasing availability of the archives on-line.

During 2020/21, when regulations prevented so many of us from leaving home, I presented a series of on-line talks to demonstrate how it is possible to research British soldier from WW1. 

Using case studies, I explained how the family member had sent a photograph of a medal and, using on-line resources without leaving my desk, we were able to point at a trench map where the soldier had been on a given date.

When there is a citation for a VC or DCM, the research can be helpful but one still needs to know where to look.

Where to begin

WW1 medals will have the recipient's name and service number inscribed on the rim.

With a name and a number, basic research should begin with...

The Medal Card

If you do not have a membership with a genealogy website such as Ancestry, begin with National Archives.


War diaries

Unit war diaries of the British Army in the First World War are held by The National Archives in a record series code WO95.

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