Get more from Forces War Records
1 Do a simple search
Go to forces-war-records.co.uk. This is the homepage, from which you can ask the experts and carry out simple searches for soldiers and sailors for free. You will need to take out full membership (complete the prompts that pop up to do this) to find out any details. Members have access to the full Forces War Records website.
2 Military hospital records
If you just want to search the hospital records on Forces War Records, click on the quick link on the left-hand side of the homepage then type the name of the man you are researching in the search box that appears. In this instance, I want to find out more about Sergeant W Caldwell who served in the Northumberland Fusiliers in the First World War.
3 Hospital record details
Caldwell’s entry is quite full, although not all the hospital records are so comprehensive. It tells us about his injuries – he was shot in the leg – and where he was sent after he left the Casualty Clearing Station. He appears to have survived the Great War.
4 Further information
Scrolling down gives us more information, including details of where his battalion in the Northumberland Fusiliers served. There are similar entries for every serviceman. Although they can be helpful, each man’s service was very different.
5 WW2 Army Casualty List
A general name search for Private A L Acutt brings up an entry in another new set of records – the WW2 Army Casualty Lists. He was reported missing on 16 July 1940 in France and also appears on the site’s list of prisoners of war in Germany. He survived the conflict in a PoW camp.
6 ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War’
I am also interested in what they hold on my great uncle Rifleman Stanley Crozier, killed near Courtrai in 1918. A name search brings up material based on his ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War’ dataset entry, compiled by the War Office in the early 1920s and readily available elsewhere.
7 Regiment or unit history
You can also search by regiment or unit. In this case, I want to find out more background information about the Northumberland Fusiliers. There’s a brief history, although no doubt you can find more details elsewhere online.
8 Collections List
There is also an increasing number of e-books and other resources that may add to your knowledge of your ancestor’s military service. Of particular interest are the War Diaries – memoirs and diaries written by the men who were there.