This article looks at Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 which is an important source to consult if you’re researching a British Army casualty. I have also written other guides to researching soldiers who served in the British Army and additional guides to researching British Army dead:
- Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the British Army
- Bond of Sacrifice
- De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
I offer a First World War Soldier Research Service.
Soldiers Died In The Great War 1914-1919
In 1921, His Majesty’s Stationery Office published Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-19. This series contained 80 volumes recorded the other rank casualties of a specific regiment or regiments. A separate volume was produced for officers called Officers Died in the Great War 1914-19. These volumes recorded British Army casualties between 4 August 1914 and March 1921 and they contain over 700,000 names. The following column regarding Soldiers Died in the Great War appeared in the Dundee Evening Telegraph 15 December 1920:
A series of 80 volumes containing the names of soldiers who died in the Great War, 1914-19, is now being published officially. Except in the case of the smaller corps, a separate roll is devoted to each regiment. The rolls of the dead have been compiled from information furnished to officers in charge of records through the official casualty lists… The price of most volumes varies from 2s 6d to 7s 6d…
What Information does Soldiers Died in The Great War 1914-1919 Contain?
Soldiers Died in The Great War 1914-1919 should contain information on all soldiers who died between 4 August 1914 and March 1921. However, it is not as comprehensive after Armistice (11 November 1918) and if a soldier died after discharge they won’t be included. The information contained in a listing will vary but they will contain a mixture of the following:
- Name: Usually a full name is provided but sometimes only initials.
- Regimental Number: This will be the regimental number held by the soldier when they died.
- Regiment and Unit: Eg. 1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment.
- Birth Place
- Date of Death
- Cause of Death: Killed in Action, Died of Wounds, Died (Illness, Accidents etc.)
- Death Place
- Theatre of War: Egyptian, Western European Theatre etc.
Of the information recorded, cause of death is very useful as soldiers often died of wounds many days after they had been wounded. If you’re researching a soldier who died I would recommend checking Soldiers Died in The Great War 1914-1919 straight away to see if they were killed in action on that particular day or died of wounds or another cause (usually disease). Though bare in mind that a soldier could have died of wounds on the day he was wounded. I would then recommend looking at the unit’s war diary for more information about what the unit was doing on the day a soldier died.
If the cause of death was recorded as “Died” then its possible they were killed in an accident and fatal accidents are usually recorded in a war diary. Many soldiers drowned while bathing or were killed in railway accidents during the war.
How to Search Soldiers Died in The Great War 1914-1919
Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 is available to search on Ancestry and FindmyPast. I prefer FindmyPast’s search engine but if you want to be thorough when researching a soldier you will need to join both sites. Fortunately, they both have free trial periods and if you’re only researching a couple of soldiers you’ll be able to get all relevant documents during this time.
If you’re interested in a particular regiment and would like to purchase a hardback copy then I can recommend searching Ebay. Due to the digitization of the records by the major genealogy sites you can pick up the volumes quite cheaply.