Officers and Other Ranks 1914-1920
All the surviving Officer records for the period 1914-1921 have been transferred from the Army Records Centre (ARC) to the TNA, and it is estimated that about 86% of these are still in existence. WO339 has the records of over 140,000 men who were mainly Regular, Special Reserve, and Emergency Officers; WO374 contains over 70,000 officers’ records mainly for those commissioned into the territorial force. The records of soldiers discharged after 3 1913 have also been transferred to the PRO at Kew. It should however be understood that more than two thirds of the records covering the period 1914-1920 were destroyed or damaged by enemy action in the WWII. There are two TNA sequences containing First World War service records. The ‘unburnt documents’ (WO364) consist of about 4,000 microfilm reels, and it has been estimated that there is a 10% chance of finding the soldier being sought. The ‘burnt documents’ (WO363) are being transferred alphabetically. If your ancestor claimed a war disability pension, the relative papers will probably have been removed and be filed with the PIN71 records at the TNA, or held at the Veterans Agency, Norcross, Blackpool FY5 3WP (Helpline 0800 1692277). Now that these recordes have been passed from the Army Records Centre to the PRO at Kew, the enquirer will have to visit the TNA in person, or employ a researcher. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) provides information on the location of graves and memorials around the world. The Commission has details of all service personnel who died between 4 August 1914 – 31 August 1921 and 3 September 1939-31 December 1947. The CWGC may charge a fee for postal enquiries, but there is a website containing their computerized database. Details about the burial places of soldiers who died outside the dates covered by CWGC are held by the Ministry of Defence, PS4(A) (Cas/Comp). They also have some details relating to soldiers’ wives or children who may have died outside the United Kingdom.