Researching First World War servicemen and -women

First World War research guide from the National Archives

Learn how to find and understand records of soldiers and sailors, battles and battalions and almost every other aspect of the British perspective on the Great War.


Records of military service, pensions, medals etc.

First World War records of service etc. can be found on Ancestry and Find My Past, which you can access for free at ERO and in Essex Libraries.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

A database of the 1.7 million graves looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars.


Lives of the First World War

A digital memorial to over 8 million men and women who served during the First World War, from the Imperial War Museum in partnership with Find My Past. Search for individuals, and add to their life stories.


Flight magazine

Digitised, searchable copies of Flight magazine from 1909-2005. First World War issues include information about pilot training and appointments etc. – soldier’s wills

Search for and purchase wills of soldiers who died while serving in the British armed forces between 1850 and 1986. Bear in mind that there will not always be a will, and sometimes existing wills may only be very brief.


International Committee of the Red Cross

Searchable records of 2 million First World War Prisoners of War.


Jutland Crew Lists

Lists of men who were on ships present at the Battle of Jutland


London Gazette

An official journal of record of the British Government, which includes notices of commissions and promotions in Armed Forces, and awards of military honours/medals. There is a special section for First World War notices.


Long Long Trail

A site all about the soldiers, units, regiments and battles of the British Army of the First World War, and how to research and understand them.


Ministry of Defence – post-1920 service records

Service records of regular soldiers who continued in service after 1920 are likely to still be with the MoD. Next of kin and members of the public can apply to the MoD for service records, provided the subject is no longer living.


Ministry of Defence – information on Army ranks

Description of the structure of British Army ranks, and the badges that indicate them.


Roll of Honour

The Roll of Honour website records many war memorials in the UK, often with basic information about the people named on them.


Scarlet Finders

Information about British military nursing during the First World War.