Officers prior to 1914

Other Ranks – Prior to 1914

As there are no ‘Army Lists’ for other ranks, and the available records are mostly arranged by regiment, the first requirement is to identify in which regiment or corps the soldier served. There are three important sources of information:

Regimental and Corps Museums. The 150 regimental and corps museums in the united Kingdom contain a wealth of information about the men who served in the regiments and corps concerned. Researchers are advised to contact the appropriate museum, if known, at an early stage in their enquiries. If the location of the appropriate museum is not known researchers should contact the Army Museums Ogilby Trust for help.

The Family Records Centre. This contains the following records which may be helpful:

Civil Registrations. Registrations of births, marriages and deaths after 1837 (England and Wales) or 1855 (Scotland) sometimes indicate the regiment of the person concerned or of the parent

Census Returns. It is possible to find references to service careers in the census returns, these are taken every ten years from 1841.

Regimental Registers and Chaplains’ Returns. A number of ‘non-statutory’ returns exist. The Regimental Registers record births, baptisms, marriages and burials of soldiers or members of their families and cover the period 1761-1924. Further 2 information may be available in Army Chaplains’ Department records of baptisms, marriages and burials at stations overseas.

The National Archives. The TNA contains the main ‘military’ source material as follows:

WO100/1-397 Campaign Medals 1793-1912.
WO101/1-7 Meritorious Service Awards 1846-1919.
WO102/1-16 Long Service & Good Conduct 1831-1902.
WO146/1-155 Distinguished Conduct Medal.
WO25/1121-1131 Service Returns No:3 Discharges 1783-1810. WO25/871-1120 Service Return No:1 as at 24 Jun 1806
WO25/1196-1358 Muster Master Generals’ Index of Casualties 1797-1817. WO25/1359-2410 Casualty Returns ca.1810-1840.
WO25/2411-2755 Index to Casualty Returns 1810-1840. WO22/1-300 Royal Hospital Chelsea Pension Returns 1842-1862.
WO23/26-65 Chelsea Registers of Out-Pensioners ca.1820-1875.

If discharged to pension:
WO97/1722-2170 Soldiers Documents 1873-1882
1722-1762 Cavalry
1763-1848 Royal Artillery
1849-1857 Royal Engineers
1858-1870 Foot Guards
1871-2147 Infantry
2147-2170 Corps & Misc Units
If not killed in service:
WO97/2171-6322 Soldiers Documents 1883-1913.