"The death of 111-year-old Harry Patch this week, which followed the recent death of fellow war veteran Henry Allingham, 113, leaves just one surviving British veteran of the First World War; Claude Choules, 108. These men had horrific experiences during the war that mirrored those of the millions of others involved in the fighting.
First World War heroes remembered
The First World War (1914-1918) shaped the twentieth century and brought tragedy to countless families. Anyone researching their British ancestry is likely at some stage to find an ancestor who fought and possibly died in the Great War. Findmypast.com has extensive records on the Great War that may help you trace your ancestors’ experiences. Search the military records on findmypast.com
Army Great War deaths
Tragically, millions of men from both sides died serving their countries in the Great War. Soldiers Died in the Great War, taken from official volumes published by His Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) in 1921, lists nearly 704,000 British army casualties. It covers:
- All army units: the cavalry, the infantry and all supporting corps
- All army ranks: serving officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and other ranks. You don't need to know the rank of a soldier to run a search.
- All areas: serving soldiers from all parts of the British Isles (including Scotland, all of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).
- Soldiers who died in action, those who died of wounds, and those recorded as missing and presumed dead.
Search for your ancestors in “Soldiers died in the Great War” now. The amount of information varies, but typically you’ll discover the soldier or officer’s regiment/corps, battalion, birthplace, place of enlistment, residence, rank, number, date of death, nature of death, and theatre of war. With some records you’ll see supplementary notes as well. Tip: Only serving soldiers are included. If a soldier died after being discharged from the army, even if his death was due to wounds incurred in active service, he will not be listed. However, if he died in England or Wales, he should be listed in the civil death registers held by findmypast.com.
Royal Naval Division deaths
If your ancestor served in the Navy you should search for him among Royal Naval Division records 1914-1919, which are part of the Jack Clegg Memorial Database, and reveal details of service record and burial.
Biographies and Photos of Great War heroes Marquis De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour has biographies for over 26,000 army, navy, and air force men (of all ranks) who were killed in the First World War. 7,000 of these include photos. If your ancestor is listed you’ll get detailed information.
Other Military records
Besides those for the Great War, findmypast.com holds a host of other military records, which include our Second World War Army Roll of Honour, official military births, marriages and deaths, records for the Battle of Waterloo, records for army deserters, and a multitude of other army lists and roll calls.