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Researching British Army Soldiers.

Following on from our article about Robert Falconer we’d like to share some tips about researching British Army soldiers who served in the first World War. ©Discovering Heritage

The Service Medal

  • If you are lucky enough to have any medals awarded to the soldier the service number of the soldier should be engraved on the medal. This is a vital piece of information that may allow you to discover more about his army service.
  • If you don’t have access to the service number you may be able to discover this by looking for a Medal Roll Index Card. The Cards record the award of service medals. These are available on the two main commercial sites, Ancestry and FindMyPast. This is easier if you are researching a more unusual name or if you know the name of the regiment the soldier served in.
  • If the soldier was awarded a gallantry medal a citation which included the service number was  placed in  The London Gazette

The Service Record

  • Once you have the service number you can try to locate the service record. The remaining service records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks can be found on Ancestry and FindMyPast. Only about 40% of the records survive, the remainder were destroyed during WWII.
  • The same sites can be used to access the pension records of those non-commissioned officers and other ranks who were discharged from the Army with a disability and claimed a pension as a result of their WWI service.
  • Service records of officers all survive but are not currently viewable online. Copies can be accessed via The National Archives 

Researching British Army Soldiers Who Served In WW1

Other Sites That May Help With Your Research

  • If a solder lost his life details of his date and place of death ought to be recorded on the website of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
  • The Imperial War Museum’s site Lives of The First World War includes information about many service personnel.
  • The Long Long Trail, a website dedicated to WWI, provides much useful context about ranks, regiments, campaigns etc.
  • Regimental magazines record acts of bravery and deaths in action although generally the magazines tend to focus on officers.
  • Regimental museums may hold useful research information 

©Discovering Heritage

Gifts inspired by the archives!

Was your house famous? We can search through hundreds of archives to bring you News Sheet Legacy posters highlighting the article that mentions your house.

News Sheet Legacy £60 +p&p


“I considered each of those places my home at one time or another, whether it was for months or years.” Julie Beck The Atlantic


More research tips and heritage discoveries

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Discovering Heritage News Sheet Legacies

Newspaper highlight May 12 1888

News Sheet Legacies

Our News Sheet Legacies offer a glimpse into the past life of your house .In the delightful details that embellish a person’s life, which somehow make it into the news, we get a tantalising taste of what life was like for the people who lived in our properties through the years.

In 1665 the first newspapers were printed in London; and they were heavily censored until 1695. In this year, the English government relaxed censorship, and newspapers truly began to flourish. The news was available for ordinary people.

In 1855, stamp duty required to be paid to the government was abolished, prices came down, and the news thrived.

Newspapers of this era covered local areas. People didn’t travel far from home and wanted to know what was happening in their own neighbourhoods. They knew the road names and the people involvedin the stories; this was news that directly impacted their lives. Reading newspapers became an important part of daily life.

Public libraries had rooms designated specially for people to read newspapers.


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Early advertisements were essentially text and could contain information about a persons business dealings. Debtors were named and shamed, and often, their addresses were published in the local news. Newspapers presented reports on court proceedings, particularly local ones, including the names of victims, defendants, witnesses and officials who were involved.

The Beautifully Banal!

“It is in the beautiful banal quiet moments that the world turns inside our houses.” Discovering Heritage

Requests for information on lost pets, property or even residents might be found under personal notices. The names of people who made charitable donations were regularly printed in the press. The minutes of public meetings may mention a resident of your property. And let’s not forget about the births, marriages and deaths columns.

To Buy Or Let

House sale or To Let adverts were often very detailed, providing a glimpse of the householder’s lifestyle. Descriptions of house contents and elaborate representations of the house layouts were often printed.

Stories that have fallen out of the ordinary.

Then there are the extraordinary stories. Glimpses of lives recorded forever in print because fate or fortune dictated it so. The news archives are full of them, we use these clues all the time when we build a House History; they often lead to remarkable stories for our clients!

Was your house famous?

Are you curious to find out? Discover your News Sheet Legacy!


What we need from you.

All we need are your name and full address details and we can begin searching for your News Sheet Legacy!

©Discovering Heritage