About British Army Ancestors
British Army Ancestors is a FREE photographic library of British Army soldiers. 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.
How British Army Ancestors works
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.
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.
* You can add multiple photos 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.
Links to data sources
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 Archives, Findmypast and Casus-Belli. There is also data from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and from my own indexing projects. 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, and an as yet incomplete roll call of men who were serving in uniform in the British Army in 1911 when the census was taken. A database of men born before 1900 who were still serving in the British Army in 1920 completes the picture.
There are over twelve million names of British Army soldiers on this British Army Ancestors website. Nevertheless there will tens of thousands of men and women who do not appear here; 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
Paul Nixon, June 2020
The avatars on this site are intended as a guide for you and represent the British soldier throughout history. For example, if the red-jacketed soldier appears in your search results, this is an indication that this man probably served between 1850 and 1902.
These six different avatars that you will find in search results identify the approximate periods of service of the individuals concerned.