WWI British Army Service Records

To help you discover your ancestors who served in WWI, you can search the only online collection of these important military records right here.

There are 27 million images, relating to 2.8 million British soldiers — although the record is sadly incomplete due to bombing, if your ancestors’ record has survived, this is where you’ll find them.

After all, more than seven million Britons fought in World War One — so the chances are that most of us will have military stories somewhere in our family history.

What can I find in this collection?

If the records exist, you can discover an amazing amount of information about an ancestor’s WWI military history. In fact, some service records for individuals are a massive 60 pages long.

There are attestation papers that give basic information like name, address, date of birth and next of kin. You can also discover medical records, discharge papers, details of injuries, awards for bravery — even punishments.

All of these have been painstakingly put together and scanned — so you can read original documents which can vividly bring your ancestors’ military history to life.

Sample records: [+] Click to magnify

 
 

A brief history of the WWI British Army Service Records

When war broke out in 1914, the British Army was just 730,000 strong. However, a wave of patriotism drove millions to enlist and, as the war grew, so did the number of recruits.

By the end of the war in 1918, more than seven million men had seen service in the British Army — and all their details were noted down in their service record, from enlistment to discharge.

Unfortunately, more than half of the records were destroyed in a Luftwaffe bombing raid in September 1940. However, an estimated 2.8 million records survived or were reconstructed — just over 40%. You can search and view these exclusively with us.

How do I search this collection?

As well as searching by personal information like name, date of birth or residence, you can also search by rank and regiment or regimental number. The more information you have, the more accurate your search results.

Go

If you can’t find your ancestors here (or if you’ve made a match but want to discover more), you can search our other WWI records — like the British Army Pension Records or Medal Rolls Index. Or to look for family members closer to home, search the WWII British Army Roll of Honour and WWII British Army Prisoner of War Records.

What's my next step?

Once you find a match, save it to your family tree — that way you can easily share your discoveries with your family, and quickly find the historical record again later. You can then search other record collections to discover more about your military ancestors.

I'm new to all this. What do I do first?

Start building your family tree

First include all the information you already know about yourself and your immediate family. To help you every step of the way, we automatically search through our records for potential matches — and give you results in seconds.


Search and attach records

There are billions of records worldwide — but searching for ancestors isn't like looking for a needle in a haystack. We'll help you search quickly and accurately. And you can attach your records to your family tree to help bring it to life.


Connect, share and grow

The Ancestry Community now has nearly 3 million members worldwide. Member Connect will help you contact other members who are researching your ancestors, share research and be notified when they add new content about your ancestors to their family trees.



Close [x]
Example Image
© 2002-2014 AncestryPrivacyCookiesNew Terms and ConditionsOperated by Ancestry.com Europe S.à r.l.