FAQ and help

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What do I do if...

Someone was in more than one unit

If the personal narrative references both units then just add their link to both pages.

A link is broken? For example, some of the lists of personal narratives might not work anymore.

You could try googling to see if the site has been moved, or was saved on the [Internet Archive. Failing that, add a note with the name of the author and the site with the broken link to the Research in progress section in case someone else is later able to find it, and so we can notify the site with the broken link.

Can you help me research an ancestor's military history?

Unfortunately we can't. A good place to start is the Army Museum's Ancestor Research & Military Genealogy site. Searching for relevant posts on the Great War forum might provide further clues. The 1914-1918-Online Encyclopedia provides academic information and references.

Understanding military terminology, records and research

Citing military records and historians

Specific reference templates have been added for some common sources. More will be added later. These can be used in footnotes with <ref> tags or in the body of the page.

  • To cite part of a unit's official war diaries to support a fact, use {{Cite war diary}}
  • To cite non-war diary documents from the UK National Archives use {{Cite TNA}}
  • To cite E.A. James, British Regiments 1914-1918, use {{Cite James}}
  • To cite Chris Baker's website, The Long, Long Trail, use {{Cite TLLT}}
  • To cite A.F. Becke, Order of Battle of Divisions, use {{Cite Becke}}
  • To cite British Army Orders, use {{Cite AO}}
  • To cite War Office Instructions, use {{Cite WOI}}. These were issued up to the end of 1915, then they were replaced by Army Council Instructions. TNA, WO 293 includes copies of all instructions issued from 1914 to 1915.
  • To cite British Army Council Instructions, use {{Cite ACI}}. These were introduced in early 1916 to replace War Office Instructions. Copies are held by TNA in series WO 293.
  • To cite the British Army Lists use:
  • To cite the Australian Official History, use {{Cite OH Australian}}
  • To cite the American Order of Battle, use {{Cite OB US}}

Referring to a unit's war diaries

These templates are used under the war diary heading of a unit's page to give information about whether a unit has war diaries, and if so, where they can be found:

  • For official war diaries at the UK National Archives use {{War diary TNA}}
  • For official war diaries at the Australian War Memorial, use {{War diary AWM}}. These are mostly Australian and New Zealand, but also include some British and Indian units.
  • If a unit or formation doesn't have a war diary because it never served in a theatre of war, use {{War diary none}}
  • For administrative organisations that didn't have an operational role, use {{War diary none admin}}

Editing existing pages

To edit a page, whether to fix some text or add a link, you'll need to request an account. Once your account is approved, just click 'Edit'.

Creating a new page

These tips are taken from MediaWiki's Help:Starting a new page.

This site assumes you're creating a new page about a battalion and pre-populates the pages with some headers and description.

Each unit page should have a category for the relevant army and role (i.e. infantry) so supporting pages explaining the structures for each army can be created. More information about categories is below.

Starting a new page from a search

A quick way to start a new page is to type its title in the search box, and start the search. If there are no matches, it will say (for example) 'There were no results matching the query.

Create the page "Royal Dublin Fusiliers" on this wiki!'

Starting a new page from a link

Some pages contain links to other pages that don't exist yet. These are called "new page links". To start one of these new pages, you can click on its link.

Links to non-existing pages are common. They are typically created in preparation for creating a new page, and/or to encourage other people to do so. Some people may see the presence of new page links on a page as a sign that the page is broken. However most wikis are intended to be constantly added to, so in this sense a new page link is only an indication that a particular page is needed.

Links to non-existent pages are created the same way as links to already existing pages. For example, adding New page name in the wiki editor will create a new page link to the page "New page name".

If there isn't already a new page link to the page you want to create, you can always add such a link yourself. You would add the new page link typically in a related page, an index page or your own user page.

Adding references and citations

The MakeRef site is useful for formatting references for use on these pages.

Category:Citation templates lists templates that you can use to cite widely used sources more easily. We now have the Wikipedia citation templates such as {{Cite book}}, which are also listed in Category:Wikipedia citation templates. These templates automatically create COinS metadata which can be captured by reference management software such as Zotero. If you're using Zotero, you can set it to export references as Wikipedia citation templates, so you can drag and drop references from your Zotero library straight into wiki pages that you're editing.

Categories used on this site

See Special:Categories for the full list of all categories used on the site. Category hierarchies explains how the main groups of categories are arranged.

Category:Countries arranges pages by country, then by service, then by type.

Category:Units arranges unit pages by type then by country.

Category:Units and sources includes sub-categories that group pages by linked resources that they have or need.

Templates used on this site

See also Category:Templates, which groups templates into sub-categories.

Some templates have been set up to help consistently format references and link out to other projects; they're listed above in Citing military records and historians.

Others help create shortcuts for specific tasks or do various things on the backend of the site. Each template has a documentation page, which is automatically included in the template page. As templates use wiki markup, you might not be able to see the detail of the template itself except in Edit view.

Templates to help editors

  • {{About}} - add extra information about a page if its name is ambiguous.


Some discussion of these infoboxes is also on their talk pages Template talk:Infobox command structure and Template talk:Infobox military unit.

  • {{Infobox military unit}} summarises information about an individual military unit or formation, such as a regiment or division
  • {{Infobox command structure}}
  • {{Infobox theatre of war}} is designed to record information about a specific units' deployment to a specific theatre of war. The infobox can be repeated as necessary to allow for multiple engagements.

Other templates