- Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Registers & Service Records, 1760–1882. WO 97/426–433, 504–509, 516–520, 568–575, 583–590, 629–635, 724–745, 824–838, 885–897, 933–941, 978–985, 1071, 1125–1126, 1136, 1141, 1148–1152, 1164–1170, 1178–1181, 1185–1194, 1468–1471, 1500–1502, 1522–1524, 1569–1575, 1600, 1619–1623, 1650–1652, 1677, 1705–1711, 2167–2170. War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies Records of the Royal Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals. The National Archives of the United Kingdom, Kew, Surrey, England.
- Registers of pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, 1713–1868. WO 120. War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies: Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Regimental Registers of Pensioners. The National Archives of the United Kingdom, Kew, Surrey, England.
The Royal Hospital Chelsea was the administrative office for the British army and was responsible for distributing pension payments to British soldiers since the 1680s. While some pensioners surrendered their pension to the hospital and lived there (“in-pensioners”), many more lived outside the confines and received their pensions elsewhere (“out-pensioners”). This database contains records for soldiers who were applying for their pension after service in the British military. The records also include records of discharge.
The content varies depending on the document and time frame, but you may find
- age at enlistment
- enlistment date and place
- length of time in service
- location(s) of service
- military regiment
- physical description
- character and conduct
- medals earned
- medical history
The earliest records are arranged by regiment, but beginning in 1873, local units are together, organized by surname. The records typically include more than one page, so be sure to page forward until you have viewed the entire file associated with your ancestor.
There is information on soldiers who were born in the late 17th century, i.e., the 1690s and in the early 18th century. This is extraordinary and these records are important for research in general.
It should be noted the“Colonial Regiments” in the include records documenting Army pensioners who has served in Canada - numerous examples - or elsewhere in the Empire from about 1814 through mid-nineteenth century. Where the pensioner resided is recorded, more often than not with a death date.