Today, we’ve added more than 880,000 records to what is already the largest online World War I archive.
During the War, arguably the worst thing a man could be accused of was cowardice. Women were encouraged to patrol the streets, berating any young males who weren’t in military uniform and presenting them with symbolic white feathers.
This campaign had the desired effect of shaming less enthusiastic men into signing up. At the same time, though, it led to terrible embarrassment, particularly for those who had been sent home from the Front with appalling wounds or physical and mental illness.
It quickly became obvious that these former servicemen needed some way to prove they had done their duty. In September 1916, the Government responded by issuing the Silver War Badge.
The Badge was given to anyone who had been honourably discharged from the Forces with ill health. Recipients wore it on civilian clothes, as a clear sign that they were anything but cowards.
The Silver War Badge Records, 1914–1920, reveal the soldiers, sailors and pilots who qualified for the Badge. It’s a comprehensive database of men who were injured or ill during the Great War.
Find your family’s war heroes here, and you’ll discover their dates of enlistment and discharge, and why they were discharged, as well as their rank, unit and regimental number. The number is especially important, as it matches the number on a man’s service and pension records and medal index card, so you can easily work out if you’ve found the right person.