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View Full Version : Army WW1 records on Ancestry (not everything)



waspexile
30-07-2007, 10:39 AM
I cant see this being mentioned before or if it is known by all but thought it would be worth mentioning the following;

Ancestry now have what is called British Army WW1 Pension records on line. I wont reproduce what group of soldiers it covers as that is clearly stated when you go into the records.

Whats not clear is that what is online on Ancestry is not everything you can get for a particular soldier. For my great uncle there are 3 pages on line (enlistment and service) but on a trip to NA I got 16 pages which was everything from enlistment, service, medical, discharge, and pension.
As I think most people know the medal card records are a seperate area.

I'm guessing its an ongoing thing with Ancestry/NA so dont be disappointed if you cant see much (or anything) to start with.

Forrest Anderson
01-08-2007, 11:47 PM
Ancestry now have what is called British Army WW1 Pension records on line. I wont reproduce what group of soldiers it covers as that is clearly stated when you go into the records.

Whats not clear is that what is online on Ancestry is not everything you can get for a particular soldier. For my great uncle there are 3 pages on line (enlistment and service) but on a trip to NA I got 16 pages which was everything from enlistment, service, medical, discharge, and pension.

The discrepancy is interesting. Do you have the reference for the documents you found at Kew?

Forrest

waspexile
02-08-2007, 9:40 AM
If you mean the ref number from the microfilm roll then no I dont think so.
I might have written it down on the back of one of the pages but someone else in the family is looking at the info at the moment.

The reason why I thought it might be an unfinished record by Ancestry is that the images are called "WW1 Pensions record" but the 3 pages for the person I am interested in are just the service record and have nothing to do with discharge or pension.

Forrest Anderson
02-08-2007, 10:06 AM
If you mean the ref number from the microfilm roll then no I dont think so.
OK. The reason for my question is that sometimes a service record can be found in both the Burnt (WO 363) and Unburnt (WO 364) Documents. The number of pages found in each collection is usually different, so it's quite possible that your 16 pages came from the Burnt Documents collection, and the 3 pages came from the Unburnt Documents.

Forrest

waspexile
02-08-2007, 11:18 AM
Wasnt aware of that, thanks very much.
WO364 is the collection on Ancestry, correct?

Forrest Anderson
02-08-2007, 11:34 AM
Wasnt aware of that, thanks very much.
WO364 is the collection on Ancestry, correct?Yes, that's right. Ancestry still has to put the Burnt (WO 363) collection on-line.

As the Unburnt (WO 364) Collection amounts to 5,719 films, but the Burnt (WO 363) Collection amounts to 29,889 films, it may be a while before we see the Burnt collection on-line, although they may release it in stages.

Forrest

Terry Reeves
02-08-2007, 4:11 PM
Just to reinforce Forrest's comment about papers in WO 363 and 364. I have had that experience as well, and in one particular case the two lots had to be read together as WO 364 showed he continued to soldier on until the 1930's. This also highlights the fact that the pension records also included those men who completed regular pensionable service ect, and were not restricted to men who received pensions as the result of wartime wounds or injuries.

Terry Reeves

waspexile
02-08-2007, 7:13 PM
Yes, I think thats the answer.

I am sure now what I was studying at Kew was WO363.

I didnt check WO364 and missed the 3 pages that are now on Ancestry, although in my case they dont add any more info, other than the actual date he enlisted for General Service from the Territorial Reserve.

Thanks for clearing that up folks!

Alan Welsford
18-01-2008, 3:04 PM
OK. The reason for my question is that sometimes a service record can be found in both the Burnt (WO 363) and Unburnt (WO 364) Documents. The number of pages found in each collection is usually different, so it's quite possible that your 16 pages came from the Burnt Documents collection, and the 3 pages came from the Unburnt Documents.

Forrest



Just to reinforce Forrest's comment about papers in WO 363 and 364. I have had that experience as well, and in one particular case the two lots had to be read together as WO 364 showed he continued to soldier on until the 1930's. This also highlights the fact that the pension records also included those men who completed regular pensionable service ect, and were not restricted to men who received pensions as the result of wartime wounds or injuries.

Terry Reeves

I have found another classic example as to why it is worth searching both collections

British Army WW1 Service Records, 1914-1920
and
British Army WW1 Pension Records, 1914-1920

even if you have already found somebody in one of them.

Take the example of Herbert James Brackley, born in Tring, Hertfordshire around 1879, and by 1914 married with 2 children.

He can be found in the "British Army WW1 Pension Records, 1914-1920". These show him attesting at Watford, Herts on 14th Sep 1914, aged 34, and joining the Bedfordshire regiment.

However a month and a half later, on 31st Oct 1914, he is discharged under Kings Regulations 392 (iii). As I understand it this means he was judged unlikely to become an effective soldier. A medical report shows him as suffering from "Aural Vertigo".

And that, you might think, was that, as far as his war service went. However…..

If you then look him up in the "British Army WW1 Service Records, 1914-1920", he can be found attesting again just over 2 months later, (claiming this time to be 36). This time he is at Woolwich on 6th Jan 1915, and joins the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. He gives his responses as if he has not served before. He then serves throughout the rest of the war, including a period in France. He seems to have looked after horses.
He is finally discharged 30th Jan 1919, unfit for further service, suffering from Chronic Bronchitis & Asthma, (something to do with those horses?). He is granted a 30% pension foe 28 weeks, reducing to 20% for the next 26 weeks, after which it is to be reviewed.

So we have the same man, (same wife, children and address), but two completely different sets of records. I guess without any kind of central databases, it was more or less impossible for them to spot somebody who had been discharged once, having another go at getting in. I guess we'll never know why he was so determined to serve - a genuine wish to do so, or pressure from others that he should be doing his bit ?

And just to emphasise the point about "Pensions" records not really being that, the records for this chap classed as "Pensions", have no connection to pensions, whereas when he does get a pension, it's in the other set of records, (The service records, or "burnt documents").

Finally, to give an idea of what you may find, these records provided exact marriage details for the man, as well as details of his children - one of whom may well not be his, as it predates the marriage by some 8 years, (but that, as they say is another story…..) And why can't I find that child, who would have been born just before 1901 census, anywhere in the census ? (Ho hum!!.....)

Best wishes,

Alan

v.wells
18-01-2008, 4:24 PM
Just yesterday I downloaded and printed 2 sets of military records from A.co.uk. They have changed the wording from WW1 army pensions to Military. I got 6 pages and 4 pages respectively and included medals, campaigns, enlistment, discharge - very detailed. I was stunned as I am usually very unlucky in searching out anything this route and usually end up slogging my way thru TNA. I think it was my lucky day yesterday! I don't know what will happen today. These were pre WW1 records as well. Perhaps it depends on the regiment they have been able to scan? These were from the Kings Royal Rifle Corps.

sandiep
18-01-2008, 7:38 PM
There are actually some of the WO363 service records on Ancestry but so far only a to c with a few odd other names that were missfiled.............they have quite a few details so I for one will be delighted when the rest are put on.
they are not really noticable unless when you go into the British pensions and click on Military at top and then you find it listed in databases and I have found this is only way to search this database it doesnt seem to come up automatically

so if your ancestor;s name begins with a B C give it a try

good luck sandie

Alan Welsford
18-01-2008, 9:24 PM
Yes indeed,

Although, as discussed in another thread, records survive in the Burnt Documents for only somewhere between 30% and 40% of other ranks and NCOs.

So you have a lot less than evens chance of finding someone, even when Ancestry do get around to putting your particular surname online.

I must say I have found them fascinating, even where not for my people.

I found it a bit shocking though when I found someone guilty of desertion, who was about to get shot, until a more lenient approach was taken.

Perhaps someone in the know can put me right on one thing....

My grandfather was enlisted in WW1, but from pictures seems to be in Royal Flying Corps uniform. My understanding is that his records would only be amongst WO363, if he had been signed off before the Royal Air Force came into being, towards the end of the war.

I think I was told that if he served to the end of the war, (the most likely possibility, I'd have thought), then the RFC records were transferred to the RAF, and hence would not be amongst the Burnt Documents.

Is that correct, please, and where would any surviving records for those serving in the RFC when the RAF was formed now be held ?

Alan

v.wells
20-01-2008, 11:02 PM
I also found by chance 2 more pages of a Short enlistment 1913-15 with discharge papers for my one fellow a Stuart. It had additional info such as children and home address - current and listed next of kin as well! This gave me such joy and laughter as on 1 of them was medical history that included a 1 day stay for constipation.:D

Alan Welsford
20-01-2008, 11:41 PM
This gave me such joy and laughter as on 1 of them was medical history that included a 1 day stay for constipation.:D

Yes I've seen a few good ones!

Some tell a sad story though. One I was looking at there was continuing dialogue as to whether the chap was eligible for any compensation or not.

It seemed to be heading in the direction that he had nothing wrong with him, or at least nothing that his war service would have contributed to.

Then a note simply says. "The man has now died - file closed".

It's not obvious to me that his widow received anything, but perhaps I'm wrong ?

Alan