Thank you for visiting British Army Ancestors. The aim of this website is, quite simply, to create a free resource of photographs of our British Army Ancestors.

My name is Paul Nixon and I’ve been researching the British Army for more than three decades. If there’s one question I am asked more than any other, it’s “How can I find a photo of my British Army ancestor?” In fact I am asked this so often that I wrote a post on my Army Ancestry blog about the steps I would take to find a photo. You can read this post here, it’s called, Finding a photo of your British military ancestor.

That got me thinking that maybe I should just create a website myself where people can search for British Army soldiers and upload photos; a permanent photographic memorial to the men and women who have served their country and Empire. How useful a resource British Army Ancestors becomes depends very much on YOU. Over time I hope that this site will become the place to go to in order to find a photograph of British Army soldiers who served from the middle of the nineteenth century until the end of the First World War.

How it works

Some websites can be overly complicated to navigate and use. The aim of is to make it easy to search and easy to upload images.  Here are the guiding principles:

* British Army Ancestors will always be FREE to search and FREE to use.

* If you want to add a photo you will need to REGISTER.

* If you want to view or download a photo you will need to REGISTER.

* You can add as many photos as you like for a single soldier.

* Each added photo must contain basic information on its source, but all other information is optional.

* The whole process is designed to be as painless as possible!

This named group photograph of officers serving with the 2nd Battalion, Scottish Rifles in Malta in 1913 could be added for multiple individuals.

“But I don’t have a photo of my ancestor in uniform.”

The principle aim of britisharmyancestors is remembrance, and bringing our vast army of British Army Ancestors to life.  For this reason, a photograph that shows the man or woman in later life – or indeed in pre-army days – is just as acceptable as a photo of the subject in British Army uniform.

About the data on this site

The indexed names on this site appear as a result of collaboration with The National Archives and Findmypast. Here you will find records, some of these transcribed by Findmypast, from the following series which are housed at The National Archives. Dates given are the date ranges for the entire series, although the data on this site begins at 1850 and ends in 1920.

WO 76: records of officers’ services, 1760 to 1914

WO 96: militia attestation papers, 1806-1915

WO 97: other ranks’ service papers, 1764-1913

WO 128: Imperial Yeomanry, soldiers’ documents, South African War 1899-1902

WO 339: officers’ services, 1914-1920

WO 363: other ranks’ service records, 1914-1920

WO 364: other ranks’ pension records, 1914-1920

WO 372: campaign medal index cards 1914-1920

WO 374: officers’ services, (temporary commissions and Territorial Force), 1898-1922

WO 398: Women’s (later Queen Mary’s) Army Auxiliary Corps: service records 1917-1920

WO 399: British Army Medical Services & Territorial Force Nursing Service Records, 1914-1918

WO 400: The Household Cavalry, 1799-1920

Information provided by the National Archives is reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England. The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.

In addition to the series noted above additional indexes have been provided from regimental muster lists and pay books published in 1851, 1861 and 1871. There are records from The Scots Guards and The Honourable Artillery Company. A database of men serving in the British Army in 1920 completes the picture.

Missing records

There are millions of searchable records on this site. Nevertheless there will be many thousands – tens of thousands, possibly – which do not appear on this site; men and women for whom no record of service survives. This may be because the person was killed whilst serving their country before 1914, their files later destroyed; or because they did not serve overseas, or because their records were destroyed during the Second World War. There are practically no Volunteer Force records that survive, thus robbing us all of the chance to remember men who volunteered to serve their country at home between 1859 and 1908.

I intend to add additional names to this database over time. I do not, however, at this point in time at least, offer a facility to add individual entries if a name does not already appear in the British Army Ancestors’ database.

Thank you for taking time to SEARCH, UPLOAD, REMEMBER

Paul Nixon, October 2018

Welcome to British Army Ancestors. This is a FREE site. It will always be a FREE site. The vision is one of our vast army of British Army Ancestors brought to life. Search for a soldier. Upload a photograph. Search for another soldier. Upload another photograph. In time, it is intended that this site will become THE place to come to when looking for images of British Army Ancestors.

SEARCH for a soldier. UPLOAD a photograph. REMEMBER the person. So many people asked me how they could find a photograph of their British Army Ancestor that I decided to create this site. Now it's up to you.Help make British Army Ancestors THE PLACE to come to when looking for photos of British Army soldiers. There are millions of searchable names on this site. Help me put faces to them. SEARCH, UPLOAD, REMEMBER.

There are over 11 million searchable names on the British Army Ancestors website. Searching is easy and fast. Use the wildcard asterisk * to narrow your results. REGISTER in order to upload photographs and download existing images. That's all there is to it. This website will be regularly updated and new features announced via the blog. Thanks for supporting this initiative to put faces to the names of our British Army Ancestors.

CONTRIBUTE DATA! Do you own medal roll transcriptions from WO 100 or similar? I am seeking to plug known gaps in this database of British Army Ancestors by adding medal roll transcriptions and other databases to this site, thus augmenting the 11.6m searchable names you will find here. Contact me if you would like to contribute:

I RESEARCH SOLDIERS Ten years ago I started a blog which I misleadingly called Army Service Numbers 1881-1918. Misleading, because as any military historian pedant will tell you, at this period of time the numbers were issued by regiments, not by the army. Army numbers came later in 1920. Nevertheless, my 'regimental' numbers blog has had thousands of views over the years and I have been pleased to help hundreds (if not thousands) of researchers and family historians. I also carry out research.