In addition to this British Army Ancestors website I maintain the Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 blog, and others. I am an experienced military researcher.
If you are struggling, drop me a line: email@example.com
Depending on when your ancestor served in the British Army there are different places to look for information. Remember though, there is no single nominal roll, archive collection or database of soldiers who served in the British Army. The data on this British Army Ancestors website has been compiled from many sources, mostly from records housed in The National Archives, but there are still significant gaps.
The good news is that despite these gaps it is still usually possible to fill in some details about British soldiers. Clicking on the blue buttons (below) that you’ll see against every record on this site will lead you to some information although you’ll normally need to pay to view that information on paid websites like Findmypast or The National Archives.
Pre-First World War records of British soldiers are held mostly in WO 96 and WO 97 at The National Archives and you will find links to those records on this website. However, before these papers ever reached the National Archives, they had been ruthlessly weeded. If a soldier died on active service, his record was destroyed. If news reached the Ministry of Pensions that a soldier had died after he left the army, his record was also destroyed.
First World War records are held in WO 363 and WO 364 at The National Archives but around 60% of the records now housed in WO 363 were destroyed in bombing during the Second World War. Records for men who were still in the army in 1920 or enlisted in 1920 or later are still with the Ministry of Defence and can be requested.
Remember too that whilst millions of records have been published online over the years, there are millions of other records that are still housed in regimental, county or national archives. Muster rolls and pay lists, for example, thousands of them, are all housed at The National Archives in Kew and provide valuable information on Victorian soldiers for whom no service record may survive.
Do drop me a line if you think I might be able to help. It will cost you nothing to make a research enquiry and I’ll be happy to outline what I think is possible and how much it will cost. Here’s that email address again: firstname.lastname@example.org
"I have been delighted by the information that Paul has been able to uncover relating to my late grand-father's experiences in WW1 and his captivity in a POW camp. When and where he was captured, his injuries and where he was taken to were previously unknown to the family but we now have a very clear picture.
"The report that I received also included a lot of additional commentary about the conditions which service personnel had to endure and gave a great insight in to what my grandfather's day to day life would have been like, even down to how they entertained themselves to keep morale up.
"Paul presented the information quickly and in an easy to read summary format with scanned copies of original records to support his commentary. I have been delighted to share this with our family. "
When contacting me about research, please include the person's name and, if known, regiment and regimental number (as applicable). Approximate year of birth will also always be helpful if known. Please drop me a line at email@example.com