Ancestry has posted a database of British Army WWI Pension Records (1914-1920) online. Approximately 5 million men served in the British Army in World War One (WWI). This database contains service records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who were discharged from the Army and claimed disability pensions for service in WWI. These were also men who did not re-enlist in the Army prior to World War II. This first release contains records for surnames beginning A & B. Full surname range coverage will be realised in Release 2.
These records contain a variety of forms, including:
- Attestation forms – the form completed by the individual on enlistment
- Medical history forms
- Casualty forms
- Disability statements
- Regimental conduct sheets
Information available in these records includes:
- Name of soldier
- Marital status
- Regimental number
- Date of attestation
- Physical description
The British Army World War One Pension Records are War Office (WO) records also known as the WO364 records and the â€˜Unburnt collectionâ€™, due to these records surviving a World War Two bombing raid on the War Office in London where they were held. During this raid, a large portion (approximately 60 per cent) of the British Army World War One Service Records, also known as the WO363 records were destroyed by fire. The surviving service records have also become known as the â€˜Burnt collectionâ€™.
Although many of these records suffered water damage following the bombing raid, all surviving service and pension records were digitised by The National Archives, where both collections are held, as part of a major TNA conservation project.
Tips and Notes
- These records are unlikely to contain information on individuals who did not claim a pension.
- These records are unlikely to contain documents on soldiers who were killed in action and had no dependents (as there would have been no one to claim a pension).
- These records are unlikely to contain documents on soldiers who were discharged from demobilization at the end of the war and did not claim a pension (since they were generally not eligible for one).
- Some records may have been stored and/or filmed in incorrect alphabetical order.
- Some records may appear to be out of order due to a misspelling or misreading of the name.
- Some soldiers did not record their first names; some of them only used initials, and others used nicknames or diminutive names.
Click on the images to enlarge the documents.