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  1. #11
    Seriously addicted to family history research. spison's Avatar
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    Newcastle, Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Mackay View Post
    These are available as free (but very large) downloads here The records are not indexed and must be scrolled through just as you would if you were viewing the microfilm at Kew
    I hope this isn't a really daft question (one where my IT son would roll his eyes), but the size of the download doesn't worry me. My 'worry' is the amount of storage space it will take. Would I store this behemoth on my hard drive and if I downloaded more than one file should I consider doing something else with them (aside from discarding them) when I'd read them.

    Jane (Please don't laugh - just )

  2. #12
    A fountain of knowledge
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    Penge, London, England
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    400Mb isn't a lot by modern standards. (When I started in "IT", 5Mb was a HUGE disk, if, indeed, you could afford a disk at all and weren't limited to the size of a reel of paper tape.) You could burn them onto CD or DVD, or maybe invest in an external hard drive, which has the advantage that you can move your life's work from one computer to another with ease.

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    spison (16-04-2012)

  4. #13
    Loves to help with queries
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    A belated big thank you to Sue for starting this topic and T@nya for raising it again (how could I have missed it the first time?). I've been quietly downloading lots of useful stuff, including Army Lists from the mid-1700s and Army medical records from the 1850s - I now know what colour hair and eyes and shoe size my 3 x great grandfather had (not exactly useful, but interesting ...). Also, thanks to Coromandel for the post on the WW2 casualty lists as the reference provided was exactly the same one I could use to date an air raid.



  5. #14


    I would really encourage people to have a look at some of these freebies just to see what they're like. I have been exploring the WO 116 records, which are described thus in the TNA catalogue:
    Title: Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Disability and Royal Artillery Out-Pensions, Admission Books'
    Scope and content: These are registers of the award of out-pensions of the Royal Hospital Chelsea to soldiers discharged from the Regular Army or the Militia on account of disability. In each case a brief description of the pensioner is given together with age, place of birth, particulars of service and the reason for discharge.'
    At Kew there are 252 volumes covering 1715-1913. Of these, the first 164 (covering 1715-1892) are available as free downloads as part of the "digital microfilm" initiative. There are three different types:
    • 'Cavalry and Infantry', 1715-1882 (WO 116/1-24 and WO 116/26-124)
    • 'Hanoverians', 1816-1817 (WO 116/25)
    • Royal Artillery, 1833-1892 (WO 116/125-164)*
    *The catalogue notes that each Artillery document 'also includes entries for pensions awarded for length of service'.

    I have downloaded just one of these documents so far, WO 116/136 (Royal Artillery, 1864). It was very big but worth the wait. Soldiers are listed by date of examination. There are columns with the following headings: Regiment, Rank, Name, Age, Total Service, Rate of Pension, Foreign Service [where and how long], Character, &c., Disability or cause of discharge [in two parts: 'Regimental Surgeon's Report' and 'Inspecting Medical Officer's Report, as to the Effect, &c. of the Disability'], Place of birth, Trade, Description (feet, inches, hair, eyes, complexion)

    Though some of the men had completed their service, the majority were being discharged because of illness or injury or just being 'worn out'. Among the medical conditions reported were phthisis pulmonalis, chronic bronchitis, heart disease, syphilis, 'chronic headache caused by sun stroke and service in India', epilepsy, chronic dysentery, and many eye problems from myopia to cataracts and 'Loss of left eye from the entrance of sand into the eye at Gibraltar. Right eye impaired.'

    There were a lot of hernias, some of unknown cause but others brought on by strenuous activity such as 'while undergoing instruction at the Gymnasium', or 'lifting up the end of his Bedstead' or (my favourite) 'from blowing his trumpet'.

    Of the numerous accidents, many happened when men were off-duty. Some inevitably involved alcohol. One man had a 'fractured patella by his attempting to escape from Barracks'. Others happened when men were on duty. During the period covered by this particular volume, most of the injuries seem to have been accidental rather than inflicted by enemies. However, some were troubled by old wounds, such as Richard Manning of the Horse Brigade (31, b. St Michaels, Limerick) who had been 'Wounded at the Battle of Agra 10.10.57 by a bullet on left Tibia, received also at same time 2 sabre wounds on the head & one on the neck he is subject to periostitis'.

    There were mental as well as physical problems. Among those described as suffering from 'Insanity' were 28 year old Charles McKenna (Royal Artillery Depot Brigade; 'appears to have been always eccentric and excitable since enlistment) and 22 year old Joseph Gardiner (9th Brigade, born Maidenhead; 'his Father & Brother have been in an asylum'). Another whose name I haven't copied had a 'weak intellect from long service in India'.

    Some entries are very poignant:

    James Hobbs (30, b. Charlton Mackrell, Somerton, Somerset), of the Horse Artillery, was examined on 12 January 1864; 'aneurism of the aorta renders him totally helpless & will be so for the short time he has to live'

    John Ladams (27, b. Marden, Kent, a sawyer by trade) of 3 (or 5?) Brigade, had suffered 'Injury of the Head and Paralysis at Corfu 4/4/64 from the fall of an 18 pounder shot on the head.' The Inspecting Medical Officer described him as 'Helpless and likely to remain so'.

    This volume had no index. Unless there is some other finding aid, it would be a long trawl to find a particular person unless you had a very good idea of when they were discharged. But I found it quite fascinating reading.

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    malcolm99 (28-04-2012)

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