British Army Quarterly Army Lists

This article looks at the British Army Quarterly Army Lists published between 1879 and 1922 which is a great resource to use if you’re researching a British Army officer. I have also written other guides to Hart’s Army List and the Indian Army List and a series of guides to help you research those who served in the British Army during the First World War:

British Army Quarterly Army Lists

Between 1879 and 1922, Quarterly Army Lists were produced which covered the services of officers of the British Army. There was also an unofficial list produced annually called Hart’s Army List which you can find online. If you’re researching British or Indian officers of the Indian Army I have an article looking at the Indian Army List. The Quarterly Army Lists contains such a wealth of information that if I was to include everything below there would be about 50 bullet points! You will find the following information in the volumes and more besides:

  • Gradation List of British and Indian Army Officers
  • Riding-Masters and Quarter-Masters
  • Officers of Native Indian Land Forces
  • Warrant Officers
  • Forces of the Overseas Dominions and Colonies
  • Indian Volunteer Corps
  • Victoria Cross winners
  • Warrants and Regulations
  • War Services (see below for more detail)
  • Casualties

The lists also record the war services of officers from April 1881 which appear in the January issue between 1909 and 1922. There is both a contents page and an index allowing you to find the information you’re after quickly as the books are very large. A large part of the Quarterly Army Lists is taken up by gradation lists which record an officer’s service. These will record an officer’s:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Date of first appointment
  • Dates of promotion
  • Staff services etc.
  • Whether an officer has seen war service is denoted by crossed swords

Below is a page from the January 1914 Quarterly Army List showing the typical layout of the gradation lists. Army lists are full of military jargon and I have created a page to help you: British Army Abbreviations and Acronyms. There is also a section at the start recording the most common abbreviations and acronyms as well as symbols unique to the volumes.

British Army Lists First World War

War Services of British Officers

The war services of British officers can be found in the Quarterly Army Lists and below is an extract from the Supplement to the Quarterly Army List January 1919, corrected to 1 January 1919. This edition contains the war services of:

  • British Army officers
  • Members of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service
  • Territorial Force Nursing Service
  • Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps
  • Lady Superintendent, Army Ordnance Department
  • Overseas Dominions and Colonies, Australia, Canada, Ceylon etc.

British Army Lists War Service

If you’re researching an officer who served in the First World War then they may have seen active service in Africa or Asia before the war. Medal rolls are available for these medals and I have written guides to the medals most often encountered below:

Where to Find Quarterly Army Lists

While you can find the Quarterly Army Lists at the National Archives (on open access on the first floor with no reader’s card required), National Army Museum and Imperial War Museum a lot of them are available online. The National Library of Scotland has a near-complete collection of Quarterly Army Lists for the period between 1913 and 1919 and monthly lists for the period between 1914 and 1918. These lists can be viewed and downloaded for free on their website by clicking on the link below. It’s usually a lot quicker to download the volumes as PDFs rather than use the website’s navigation system for looking at the books. Though, the files are quite large. The website also has a collection of Hart’s Army List available as well as lists covering the late 1930s and the Second World War.

View and Download British Army Lists for Free