London, United Kingdom, November 07, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- Ancestry.co.uk, the UK’s leading family history website*, today completed the world's first online launch of the British Army World War One Service Records, 1914-1920, which detail the full military careers of more than 40,000 Irish soldiers who served during World War One.
Service records contain a variety of information concerning all aspects of the army careers of those who completed their duty or were either killed in action or executed, including the soldier’s name, date and place of birth, address, next-of-kin, former occupation, marital status, medical records, service history, regiment number, locations of service and discharge papers.
Each service record contains an average of 16 pages of personal information; however they can contain as many as 60 pages.
The British Army World War One Service Records, 1914-1920 complement the British Army World War One Pension Records, 1914-1920, which are already online and contain 9.7 million pages of personal information relating to almost one million discharged soldiers, who, having sacrificed their own wellbeing for the war effort, suffered disabling sickness or injuries for which a pension was subsequently granted.
As approximately 60 per cent of the paper originals of the service records were destroyed by fire when the War Office in London was struck by a bomb in 1940 during an air raid, the surviving 32.5 million paper records now online have become known as the ‘Burnt Documents’.
Amongst the remaining service records are those for 40,000 of the 210,000 Irish soldiers who served with the British forces in World War One.
Microfilm of the total 43 million pages of paper originals which comprise the service and pension records are the second most viewed collection at The National Archives, which maintains the collection and is Ancestry.co.uk’s official partner in hosting it online.
Fortunately, the service details of many soldiers whose records were destroyed in 1940 are now available in a separate collection also launched online today. Ireland, Casualties of World War I, 1914-1918 details 50,000 soldiers who at the time of their death in service during World War One were of Irish birth or residence.
The collection was compiled in the 1920s to commemorate the Irish soldiers who died during World War One and was funded by the National War Memorial. Just 108 copies of the eight volume set were printed and distributed around the country’s libraries, each with ornate binding and symbolic borders designed by renowned artist Harry Clarke.
Each soldier’s record typically details their name, age, detail of the death, medal entitlement, and often other personal information.Ireland, Casualties of World War I, 1914-1918 is the only publication to bring so many fallen Irish soldiers from World War One together in one collection.
Ireland, Casualties of World War One, 1914-1918 and British Army World War One Service Records, 1914-1920 are the latest additions to Ancestry.co.uk’s extensive British military collection, which includes the World War One Medal Index Cards, 1914-1922, detailing medal entitlements for more than 5.5 million soldiers, and the British Army Prisoners of War, 1939-1945, detailing more than 100,000 British World War Two POWs.
Ancestry.co.uk International Content Director Dan Jones comments: “The Irish service records and casualties material will enable family history researchers to create a vivid picture of what their World War One ancestors were like as soldiers, including their performance in battle, their health and details of their general appearance.
“These are a welcome addition to the millions of military documents available online at Ancestry.co.uk, including our ever growing collection of World War Two records.”