About British Army Ancestors

The aim of this British Army Ancestors website is to create a FREE photographic archive of British Army soldiers. Currently the date range is 1850-1920.

Read these tips on my Army Ancestry blog about how to find a photograph of your military ancestor. Also read this post called, Finding a photo of your British military ancestor. Finally, read Finding Photographs of your British Army Ancestor which is published on the British Army Ancestors blog.

Launched in 2017, the British Army Ancestors website enables people to search for British Army soldiers and upload photos; a permanent photographic memorial to the men and women who have served their country and Empire. Thousands of photographs have already been added. Hundreds more are being added every week.

How British Army Ancestors works

British Army Ancestors makes it easy to search and easy to upload images.  The search engine is fast and returns results in seconds. 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. This is solely to deter spammers.

* 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.

Service records, medal index cards and more

In addition to uploading or downloading photos on this site, there is also the option to find out more about the soldier concerned. This might be a link to a service record, or a medal index card, or further information. The majority of these links are to Findmypast or The National Archives or Casus-Belli where you will need to pay to view this information.

About the data on this site

The indexed names on this site appear as a result of collaboration with The National ArchivesFindmypast and Casus-Belli. The majority of the indexed names  you will find here, have been 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 100: Boer War medal roll information indexed by Casus-Belli

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 close to twelve million searchable records on this site. Nevertheless there will tens of thousands of men and women who do not appear on this site; individuals 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 am constantly adding new names to this database but I do not, at this point in time, offer a facility for users to add individual entries if a name does not already appear in the British Army Ancestors’ database.

For more information about this site and how it works, have a look at these Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for taking time to remember our British Army Ancestors.

Paul Nixon, September 2019

Launched in 2017, British Army Ancestors is a FREE site with a simple aim: to populate the data with photographs of British soldiers.

On this British Army Ancestors website you will find close to 12m records which have been collated from many sources. Search the database, find your soldier, add a photo. Search again, find the next person, add another photo. That really is all there is to it. The date range covered is 1850 to 1920.

SEARCH for a soldier, UPLOAD a photograph, REMEMBER the individual. There are millions of searchable names on British Army Ancestors and thousands of photographs covering conflicts from the Crimean War to the First World War. HUNDREDS of new photographs are being added every week. Have you found your British Army Ancestor yet?

There are close to 12 million names on the British Army Ancestors website and searching is easy and fast. Use the wildcard asterisk * to focus your search results. Searching is free but you will need to REGISTER in order to upload photographs or download existing images.

This website is regularly updated and new features announced on the British Army Ancestors blog. Remember too to check out the British Army Ancestors Facebook page which features a different person every day.

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 information from medal rolls and other databases.

Remember, there is no one single data source for British Army soldiers between 1850 and 1920. All of the data on this site has been compiled from many separate sources such as service records, pension records, medal rolls and other databases compiled by contributors.

Send an email to me at paul@britisharmyancestors.co.uk if you would like to contribute data.

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In 2008 I launched my Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 blog and over the years I have helped hundreds (if not thousands) of military and family historians. I also carry out research. Drop me a line if you need help.

NOTE There is also a RESEARCH button against every returned result on this site. Click on this button to find out more about research services for individual soldiers.