Catalogue description War Office: Officers' Services, First World War, Index to Long Number Papers

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Details of WO 338
Reference: WO 338
Title: War Office: Officers' Services, First World War, Index to Long Number Papers

This series contains the indexes used to identify the Long Number by which the First World War army officers service records are organised in WO 339. The main series of officers' service records was destroyed by bombing in 1940 and what remains is a supplementary series. In some cases, the supplementary file had been destroyed by clerks before 1940, and so no service record exists any longer. Further advice on these records can be found in this leaflet: British Army Officers' Records: First World War 1914-1948 .

A single index volume from the earlier pre-1857 Long Number system survives (Long Numbers up to around 99,000) and covers papers registered after 1870. Long Numbers allocated to Royal Army Medical Corps officers were not included in the reorganised system; possibly the survival of a practice when the Army Medical Department operated a separate registry system.

Entries for some temporary commissioned officers can also be found in the indexes, although their files were transferred to a 'vowel' system in or around 1915 and cross-references to this system are included in the registers.

The indexes also provide cross references to the subsequent P (Personal) Numbers if the officer continued in service after April 1922 when the Long Number series was replaced.

Records within this series are available to download as digital microfilm .

Date: 1870-1922
Related material:

For the service records to which these indexes refer see WO 339

For registers of officers' services (including civilian dependants and civilian and military staff appointments) see WO 340

For related personal files see WO 374

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 23 files and volumes
Access conditions: Available in digital format only
Administrative / biographical background:

The Long Number was a registry number introduced in 1857 to cover personal records and correspondence relating to Regular and Emergency Reserve officers. It would seem from internal evidence within the indexes that by 1915 the system had become unwieldy and was reorganised to remove references to Long Numbers before 1901 and the numbers reallocated. This new system was indexed alphabetically in twenty one volumes and covers numbers from 300; it is not known if 1-300 were allocated or if so, what became of them.

The Long Number series was replaced in April 1922 by the Personal or P Number system.

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