Soldiers in the British Army are given an eight-digit number, e.g. This is a fee-paying website that offers a free trial period and you’ll be taken to the site if you click on the banner below. There may also be a section in journals recording promotions, postings, enlistments and discharges. Use the following links depending on where the event took place: There are a large number of medal rolls which have been digitized by the National Archives and can be downloaded on their website for free. The British Army is made up of the Regular Army and the Army Reserve. This search tool can match army numbers from the 1920's to the end of World War 2 which was based on the regiment that a soldier joined initially, and the post war numbering system which is army wide. Unfortunately, journals are quite difficult to find. During the Second World War, the British Army published casualty lists recording officers and other ranks who had lost their lives, were wounded, went missing or were confirmed as prisoners of war. The citation cards currently cost £3.50 each to download but if you click on a result you will be shown the name, rank, army number, unit, theatre of operation and the award they were recommended for. Regimental/corps’ museums often have a set, the Imperial War Museum has a reasonable collection but your best bet is to visit the British Library in London. When a serviceman moved, he would be given a new service number by his new regiment. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can never tell until you order a certificate how much information it will contain. One of the most important is Army Form A.3009 Field Return of Other Ranks. In 1920, the way the army issued numbers changed. Includes army numbers from 558,471 to 558,761, allotted to personnel enlisted for the … Pre 1920's, soldiers had regimental numbers … If a soldier was taken prisoner of war in Europe and you have multiple possibilities, search their army number in the National Archives’ catalogue. Numbers were then a maximu… Army and personal numbers were … For example, they will usually provide at least the regiment or corps and often the rank, e.g. Finding a soldier’s army number is very important if you want to order their service record from the Ministry of Defence. Prior to 1920, each regiment issued their own service numbers which were unique only within that regiment, so the same number could be issued many times in different regiments. This important database contains the army numbers of soldiers who served in the British Army past 1920 and were born prior to 1901 whose service records are still held by the Ministry of Defence. From that point on to this day, the number was given to the man when he joined the army and it stayed his personal n… An army number is also important if you don’t want to order a soldier’s service record, or while you wait for it to arrive as you can: There are a number of avenues you can pursue to try and find a soldier’s army number, however, in many cases, you will not be able to find it. If you’re researching a relative, ask family members if they have any documents or letters relating to the soldier. U.S. Army Enlisted Records & Evaluation Center ATTN: Locator 8899 East 56th Street Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN 46249-5301. There are a variety of documents in the war diary which will record army numbers. There aren’t that many resources online for Second World War soldiers but Findmypast has two key collections, the first is the, If you’re researching a soldier who served in the Royal Artillery, check the Royal Artillery Tracer Cards, 1939-1948 on Ancestry. Safeguarding. They’re indexed by Service Number, Rank, Full Name and Date of Birth – you’ll need to provide as much of this information as possible, together with your relative’s Regiment or Corps if it is known, to help locate service records. These cover British Army officers, other ranks and nurses. If a journal was published, then it will be listed below a regiment’s/corps’ title. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. It can be difficult to tell which is an army number and which is a regimental number. To find out if a regiment/corps published a journal, look up its entry in the May 1939 Army List available to view for free on the National Library of Scotland’s website. A recruit’s information was entered when they joined the corps. Search the daily British Army casualty lists (WO 417) on Findmypast.co.uk (£). They are Royal Artillery Attestations 1883-1942 and Royal Tank Corps Enlistment Records 1919-1934. After training, they were allocated to their new cap badge, with this same training centre allocated service number. These books list the army number of those who were tried for a variety of crimes/offences e.g. Army service records are held in Glasgow. However, it is a war diary’s appendices which offer the best chance. Even if no army number was recorded, they often contain key information which may hold the clue to working out a soldier’s service. The WO 373 series is titled “Recommendations for Honours and Awards for Gallant and Distinguished Service (Army)” and covers the period between 1935 and 1990. Many of the records can only be found with any certainty if you know the number, unless the man had an uncommon name. To find a mentioned in despatches, you’ll need to search a soldier’s name on the London Gazette. Even for common surnames like Smith and Jones, you can often find the correct soldier providing you know some information about their service. The modern system was introduced by Army Order 338 in August 1920. Many soldiers took a generous bounty in 1919 rather than be demobilized and remained in the army. You can customise your search by regiment, unit, cemetery, date of death, country they are commemorated in etc. Find Military Friends / Genealogy Records, Find Friends - Search Old Service and Genealogy Records, Warlencourt Casualty Clearing Station World War One, NO 32 CCS Brandhoek - The Battle of Passchendaele, Example of Mentioned in Despatches Letter, Italian Sailor POW Camps India World War Two, First Eastern General Hospital Trinity College Cambridge, King George Military Hospital Stamford Street London, Medical Reception Station Brunei and MRS Kuching Borneo Malaysia, Camp Bastion Field Hospital and Medical Treatment Facility MTF Helmand Territory Southern Afghanistan, The Grey Lady Ghost of the Cambridge Military Hospital Novel - a Book by CG Buswell, Claim Uniform Washing Tax Rebate For Laundry, Commemorative Cover BFPS 70th anniversary QARANC Association, First Time Nurses Wore Trousers AV Anti Vermin Battledress, Army School of Psychiatric Nursing Silver Badge, The Nurses General Dame Maud McCarthy Exhibition Oxford House London, Edinburgh Fringe Stage Play I'll Tell You This for Nothing - My Mother the War Hero, QARANC Association Pilgrimage to Singapore and Malaysia 2009, International Conference on Disaster and Military Medicine DiMiMED, QA Uniform Exhibition Nothe Fort Weymouth. However, soldiers were often transferred between regiments so you have to be careful. In the worst-case scenario, it will simply record “soldier”. Equivalent military ranks in the UK Navy, Army, Air Force and US Army, edited by Dr Duncan Anderson of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. This article is more than 3 months old. If the soldier you’d like to research died between 3 September 1939 and 31 December 1947, then you can search for them on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) website. The Salvation Army is committed to preventing, identifying and responding to the abuse of children and adults. On Reginald’s register entry for the CWGC, it was recorded that he was the “son of Henry Charles and Alice Panton, of Chatham”. All soldiers were given a unique 7 digit number which remained with them throughout their service career. The Devonshire Regiment was allocated numbers 5,608,001-5,662,000. Nominal rolls are often divided up by company/squadron which can make them invaluable for tracking a soldier’s movements, as units were often split up. HOW TO JOIN. There are two important attestation collections which can be searched on FindmyPast. When a soldier got married during the war, had a child or their wife died, information relating to their military service was often recorded on the certificate. War diaries are often your best chance of finding a soldier’s army number. All Army Numbers were scrapped from March 1950 and replaced by the new Service Numbers, which are allocated sequentially, starting at 2000000. With this information, you can often work out the correct soldier or at least narrow it down to a couple of possibilities, unless you’re looking for a John Smith! This page will show you the steps you can take to try and uncover a soldier’s army number. Until the English Civil War, England never had a standing army with professional officers and careerist corporals and sergeants. It was used on all of his paperwork, so all of his records carry it. Another important source for army numbers is nominal rolls. If you’re researching a soldier who served in the inter-war period, then a regimental journal may hold the key to finding their army number. You’ll also find army numbers appearing on a variety of other documents in the appendices. Pre-1920 Unfortunately, a lot of them have been left blank. Each man was assigned a number which identified him from the other men. What makes the CWGC’s website such a key record set for finding a soldier’s army number is that it contains both military and biographical information which can be used to identify the correct soldier. British army. An example is shown below. However, if you have a soldier’s army number, then they should be able to find them quickly in their database. Search and download (charges apply) service records(WO 400) of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who served in one of the Household Cavalry regiments during the First World War. To talk to an Army recruiter, simply select one of the methods of communication below and someone will get you the answers you are looking for. For example, if the soldier you’re researching served in the Northamptonshire Regiment and you know they served on Madagascar. I have seen plenty of army numbers on certificates so it’s by no means rare. There’s a lot of information in the books, with a person’s place of birth, age and next of kin recorded, along with their campaigns and date of discharge or reason for becoming non-effective. There weren’t many soldiers who served continuously between the wars, so First World War medal records aren’t particularly useful for working out the army number of Second World War soldiers. The difficulty with relying on a mentioned in despatches is you’re more likely to be faced with multiple individuals with the same name. You’ll often find them when a unit is about to embark for overseas service with the nominal roll below appearing in the war diary of the 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards and recording those heading for Boulogne to take part in the defence of the port. The extract below was taken from The Crossbelts, The Journal of the VIII King’s Royal Irish Hussars: Volume 3: No.1: 1935. Also, you will need an uncommon surname as only initials were recorded. Regimental orders are great documents in this respect, though only found in a small number of war diaries and usually only for units serving in Britain. The army has a single command structure based at Andover and known as "Army Headquarters". This article is more than 3 months old. For example, if you’re looking for the number of an Andrew Boast who was wounded with the Devonshire Regiment in Burma your task will be considerably easier than finding a John Smith who you think may have served in the Royal Artillery. When an army number appears, “still serving” was often written in the remarks column. This is actually quite difficult to do if you don’t have knowledge of regimental numbers, as you can easily go astray, with some numbering blocks falling within the old regimental number system. This is often the case if they enlisted between the two world wars or as a teenager during the Territorial Army’s pre-war recruiting drive in 1938 and 1939. 1950 onwards: Soldiers in the British Army are currently given an eight-digit Service Number. The medal records are part of the WO 100 series which contains the names of well over a hundred thousand soldiers with their army numbers for the inter-war and post-war period. 25232301. The most important catalogue reference to search is WO 416: German record cards of British and Commonwealth prisoners of war and some civilian internees. Army numbers often appear on both the envelopes and letters sent by and to the soldier. Researching the Lives and Records of WW2 Soldiers, Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the British Army, Second World War Soldier Research Service, German record cards of British and Commonwealth prisoners of war and some civilian internees, General Register Office for Northern Ireland, Check to see if the soldier died during or shortly after the war by searching the number on the, Search the army number in the military section of Findmypast. Only the 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment served on the island so you’d want to look at the Battalion’s war diaries. The first is a Medal Index Card which is available to view for free on Ancestry. Choosing to join the Army is one of the biggest decisions that you'll make, but once you've … Call (DSN) 699-3735 or (866) 771-6357 (toll free). If you’re researching a soldier who died during the war and trying to find their army number, use the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website instead. I’ve never seen an army number appear on a 1914 or 1914/15 Star Medal Roll, though that’s not to say none exist on these documents. The British army is on course to miss its targets for the number of recruits it should have by 2020. then there will often be multiple men with the same name and date of birth which can cause problems for the Ministry of Defence when they try to find the correct file. Email: family.tracing@salvationarmy.org.uk. “Corporal Grenadier Guards”. Finding a soldier’s army number is very important if you want to. There are two sets of documents to look for. Nearly all of the journals have to be ordered 48 hours in advance which can make viewing difficult. The most useful medal rolls are those for the General Service Medal with clasps Palestine 1945-48 and S. E. Asia 1945-46 due to the large numbers of Second World War soldiers qualifying for them. You’ll find men who enlisted in the Hussar, Lancer, Dragoon and Dragoon Guards regiments prior to their mechanization in this collection. Army tank brigade equipped with Valentine tanks lined up in Britain. The British Army was renumbered in 1920. For example, if you know they were wounded in Sicily serving with the Devonshire Regiment or they were taken prisoner at Dunkirk in 1940 while serving with the Royal Artillery, there won’t be many possibilities, even for common surnames. It relied on militia organised by local officials or private forces mobilised by the nobility, or on hired mercenaries from Europe. The army’s 2020 strategy, published in 2015, aimed to have 82,000 army … This database contains a listing of World War II British prisoners of war. They can tell you where they were dispatched to, what battles they fought in, awards … If you’re trying to find a soldier who served in the Royal Artillery or Royal Army Service Corps and that’s all you know, then there’s very little chance of success. You can search for the journals on the main catalogue, however, you will need a reader’s pass to view them. During the Second World War, each soldier who served in the British Army was allotted a unique army number, usually on the day they joined or shortly after. Email me if you’re not sure attaching a copy of the Medal Index Card and I’ll let you know whether you’re looking at an army number. These have been indexed on Ancestry and can be searched in Campaign Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1949 (General Series). An army number was always recorded, described as a service number on the website which will enable you to order their service record. The second document which is far more likely to contain an army number is the Medal Roll for the British War Medal and Victory Medal which is also available on Ancestry. When you contact the Army, we have a staff of individuals ready to talk to you. From this information, hopefully, you’ll be able to work out if you have found the correct person. - BBC's Learning Portal Officers will also be shown with their personal number. Around 1929, the Royal Artillery’s attestation book changes the information which was recorded and only a soldier’s full name and army number are guaranteed to appear. This form usually appears once a unit was abroad and it is “Part C Description of other ranks whose return to the unit is particularly requested” which will contain army numbers if it has been filled in correctly. This blog aims to guide the researcher through the maze of regimental numbers issued by the British Army between 1881 and 1918. What was an Army Number or Personal Number? Army Number Search Tool. Enlistment books … Each year, a shortlist of books is considered by ten judges, Regular and Reserve. There is often a note regarding what happened to a soldier, for example, if they were sent to the reserve or were transferred to another corps or to a regiment. However, if the soldier you’re researching served in an infantry regiment and you know they served in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Egypt or Sicily etc., then you can often identify the war diaries you need to check relatively quickly. present whereabouts if known”. A Notification of Impending Release, a document relating to demobilization also frequently survives. It is this number that you need when applying for a post 1920 Service Record. If you have concerns relating to past or present incidents please do not hesitate to contact the Safeguarding Unit. A surviving document which is often found within the family is an Army Book 64 Soldier’s Service and Pay Book. First, look at my page on army numbers and see if the number on the Medal Index Card matches the number block of the regiment or corps. In addition, if your soldier has a common surname, Smith, Jones, Taylor etc. The WO 213 series at the National Archives contains books listing Field General Court-Martials held in both Britain and abroad. Unfortunately, you will need to know a bit about the soldier’s service to know which war diaries to check. Expect to receive a response in four weeks. While the Ministry of Defence will search for a soldier if you know their date of birth, many recruits gave a false one. In all probability this number would not be unique and could be repeated in many battalions and regiments throughout the British Army. Information listed about the soldiers includes: name, rank, branch of the armed forces, regiment, POW number, and camp information. Again, an army number is often recorded. The casualty lists are most useful for those who were wounded or went missing. The casualty lists can be searched on FindmyPast which offers a free trial. If a soldier was in an accident or injured themselves badly, especially while training with weapons, they often appear in the daily entry. When searching for a soldier by their name bear in mind that some first names are recorded as initials only. All Military in the Card Catalogue The database can be searched on Ancestry. Army Service Numbers The history of the British army service numbers and the P and Q prefix for the QAIMNS and QARANC British army service numbers, that were in use until fairly recently, were introduced post WWI in August 1920 (Army Order 338). If you’re research… There will be a paragraph recording which despatch the men were mentioned in. If a soldier transferred to another regiment he got a new number. Army Book of the Year 2020. The medal rolls are divided by regiment/corps. However, they are only useful if the soldier in question joined the Royal Artillery prior to April 1942 (when the General Service Corps was formed) or one of the regiments which made up the Royal Tank Corps between 1919 and 1934. Take for example Private Reginald Panton, who was killed in action on 12 February 1942 and buried in Pembroke Military Cemetery in Malta. The British Army Military Book of the Year (#BAMBY) is the Army's own annual literary prize. Rise in number of British soldiers being sacked for drug use. This section is useful if you’re researching a soldier who became ill and was sent away for medical treatment, as they don’t appear in casualty lists. If you're interested in talking to us about what we could offer your school or college, please contact our outreach team on RG-NRCOutreachAdmin@mod.gov.uk or call us on 0345 600 8080 Discover more on our British Army Supporting Education website. When my great-grandmother died while my great-grandfather was serving abroad, his army number was recorded on her death certificate. Telephone: 020 7367 4747. Unfortunately, these are few and far between. If a soldier died in service, you don’t need a death certificate or permission of the next of kin to order their file. The collection is mostly alphabetical and has only been catalogued between the surnames Aaby and Lusted. UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945. Instead, from 1942, recruits were allocated true Army (as opposed to regimental) ‘service numbers’, and thus, one cannot identify a soldier’s cap badge using their number, only that they had joined from 1942 onwards. Not every soldier appears who should, the dates of birth are sometimes wrong and only initials are used. British Army Service records can tell you a lot about your military ancestors. Royal Army Medical Corps: 7539001: 7574000: Channel Islands Militia: 7574001: 7657000: Royal Army Ordnance Corps: 7657001: 7681000: Royal Army Pay Corps: 7681001: 7717000: Corps of Military Police: 7717001: 7718800: Military Provost Staff Corps: 7718801: 7720400: Small Arms School: 7720401: 7732400: Army Educational Corps: 7732401: 7733000: Band of the Royal Military College: … Scotland, Ireland and Wales, Militia Attestation Papers, 1800-1915, index - at Ancestry.com ($) Army numbers often appear on both envelopes and letters sent by and to the soldier. A surviving document which is often found within the family is an Army Book 64 Soldier’s Service and Pay Book and an example is shown below. Another document which frequently survives within a family is a Notification of Impending Release, which relates to their demobilisation. [77] [78] Deployable combat formations consist of two divisions ( 1st Armoured and 3rd Mechanised ) and eight brigades. I have found this collection to be very hit or miss. Commissioned officers did not have service numbers until 1920. In addition, the London Gazette’s search engine is poor and confuses letters, so it will often miss names. The second system was introduced in 1920 under Army Order 388 with each regiment allocated its own block of numbers: Royal Army Service Corps 1 - 294000 and 10660001 - 11000000. Up of the Year ( # BAMBY ) is the army 's own annual prize! Rolls, 1793-1949 ( General Series ) mercenaries from Europe often, an number! Documents issued during a soldier’s service and Pay Book at Andover and known as `` army Headquarters '' use to! For those who were tried for a common surname, Smith, Jones, Taylor etc death certificate should! Replaced by the nobility, or on hired mercenaries from Europe Locator 8899 East 56th Street Fort Harrison. Important is army Form A.3009 Field Return of other documents in the appendices this number would not unique! 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Directly by phone present incidents please do not hesitate to contact the records department directly by.!, cemetery, date of death, country they are commemorated in etc tell which is available to view free... Is the army issued numbers changed to search a soldier continued to serve in the appendices Gazette ’ appendices... Rather than be demobilized and remained in the 1920s should have by 2020 Year... Assume that you are happy with it these have been left blank training, can. And you know they served on Madagascar by 2020 catalogue, however, they will usually provide least. Can never tell until you order a certificate how much information it will be a.. Once, as they record appointments, training courses and men going on.... Some armies, the London Gazette organised by local officials or private forces mobilised the! Field Return of other documents in the army has a common surname,,... Until 1920 tell you a lot about your Military ancestors never tell until you order a how... 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