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Army records

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Mayfield Report 12 Jul 2013 22:26

I have been trying to find an ancestor’s war record from the first war. I have a picture of him in uniform. No rank badges and the cap badge is unclear but certainly typical WWI army uniform.

Can't get any record at all. Now I know a lot of records were destroyed during WWII, but would there be any other list of servicemen that might list him? He survived the war so death records would not help. Tried medal cards but no luck.

It’s no big deal as his life is well documented, but I’m just curious.

I wondered if there might have been a WWI equivalent of “Dads army” that he might have been drafted into, perhaps due to medical problems or if he was required to work in some sort of support job like the Bevin boys in WWII (he was a tailor) he would have been 32 in 1914 so age would not have been a consideration.

Can anyone suggest a place to look please?



KathleenBell Report 12 Jul 2013 22:33

I can only think of Regimental Museums but you would need to identify the regiment first.

Might he have got married or had any children whilst he was in the army? If so the marriage or birth certificates might give his regiment and army number.

Kath. x


Mayfield Report 12 Jul 2013 22:43

Thank you for the quick reply, he was married before the war and last child born 1913 unfortunatly, but a good idea, shame he was too quick off the mark with having his kids :-D

Brain going into overload now so time for me to toddle off up the wooden hill :-)

Best wishes,


GlitterBaby Report 12 Jul 2013 23:14

Have you checked out this database on Ancestry

UK, Silver War Badge Records, 1914-1920


Porkie_Pie Report 12 Jul 2013 23:20

Where did you try searching medal cards?

Did you use the national archives website to search?

It would be very unusual if he actualy served in the war years in any capacity and not receive a medal, Added, (Though not imposible)

Even sick and injured who never served abroad and were discharged due to their sickness or injury were awarded the silver war badge



Susan Report 13 Jul 2013 07:36

Ancestry holds a lot of WW1 records .
Would you like to post what info you have on him and we could have a look for you.
Name, DOB,Place of birth ect.



Mayfield Report 13 Jul 2013 09:11

Thank you all for your suggestions I didn't know about the Silver war badges before.

Susan, thank you for your kind offer, I do have Ancestry and have searched both that and National archives several times with different criteria.

Strangely he comes up on normal BMD and census searches fine but nothing at all in relation to the military.

I'm wondering if he might have been in the Volunteer Training Corps which it seems was the "Dads Army" of the day he does not have the GR armband on though.

Otherwise perhaps;

The army got his name wrong and once they have got it wrong I guess that’s it as far as the army is concerned! I have tried phonetic searches.

By all accounts he was a bit of a joker so he might have just had his photo taken in a uniform to impress ;-)

Might have been ground crew in the RFC but I think they came under the army at the start of the war.

The photo I have is from a contact I made on the web I suppose it might not be him at all, but I do have other photos of him and the resemblance is very good.

I'm simply unlucky and Adolf's fly boys destroyed any records during the rematch in 39-45!

Two of his bothers were in the navy and no trouble at all in tracing them, one discharged for being a naughty boy ;-) and the other sadly lost at sea.

Thank you


SylviaInCanada Report 14 Jul 2013 05:46

Mayfield .....................

as it is estimated that only about 30% of WW1service records survived WW2, it is not at all unusual to find no records for many servicemen.

It is somewhat unusual not to find medal records ................. every serviceman who served outside the UK got a medal, whether that was in France or elsewhere.

I have noticed that a lot of records are shown only as forename initial(s) and the surname

eg, G N Jones

which is little help if he had a common name!


DazedConfused Report 14 Jul 2013 10:54

Sylvia, I can find NO records at all of my grandfather, no medal cards nothing.

And I know he was awarded the 2 standard medals all serving soldiers had.

And in my research I have noticed quite a few of my relatives with no WW1 records, so to me it does not seem that unusual for someone to find absolutely nothing for their ancestor.

Yet, the one person I did find their records for (long before they appeared on Ancestry) were some of the most complete to be found. This was according to the researcher who did this for me. He explained that even those records which are 'complete' may still have paperwork missing as they were often culled in the past. But he was amazed at what he found in these papers. Letters from the mother to the war office, which break your heart. He was one of the thousands of whom no trace was ever found. In fact she would no accept he had died until 1921/2.