Researching World War One records

From Linking experiences of World War One
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It can be hard to know where to start looking for World War One records. Results will also vary by country, which resources have been digitised and how much information survives about each person.

Many soldiers were born in one country, but served in another, so you might need to search multiple countries. Copying resources over to this page is very much work in progress and will be biased towards the research I've done so far, but I've found the following resources useful. If you know of any I've missed, please just sign up and edit the page to add them. If you'd rather not edit the page yourself, you can email me via this form.


Australian and New Zealand records

Many New Zealand records are held by Australian institutions.

The Australian War Memorial has useful background information on Researching Australian military service: First World War, 1914-1918 and Researching Australian military service: introduction.

Wikipedia also has a List of Australian diarists of World War I that includes the unit for a large percentage of the diarists. As online versions of diaries are found it would also be useful to update the Wikipedia list so more people can discover them.

Research Links from Medals Reunited NZ has lots of useful links for researching Australian and New Zealand records.

Research Notes on the Australian Army Nursing Service in the Great War

Looking for specific names

British records

The The Long, Long Trail site is useful for any researcher but is particularly focused on 'The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918'. It includes:

The Great War Forum is also an incredible resource - your question may already have been answered.

The Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives has a useful list of Military abbreviations including terms on British and Commonwealth orders, decorations and medals and a 'glossary of foreign terms'.

Canadian records

Indian records

In the context of WWI, the Indian army encompasses historical British India, which included the present-day countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Burma.

Searching for specific names

Irish records

The museums listed at Museums & Associations might be useful.

The Combined Irish Regiments Association has put campaign accounts taken from "A History of the Irish Soldier", written by Brigadier AEC Bredin DSO MC DL online.