Catalogue description War Office: Soldiers' Documents, First World War 'Burnt Documents' (Microfilm Copies)

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Details of WO 363
Reference: WO 363
Title: War Office: Soldiers' Documents, First World War 'Burnt Documents' (Microfilm Copies)

This series contains microfilm copies of the surviving records of service for non commissioned officers and other ranks who served in the 1914-1918 war and did not re-enlist prior to the outbreak of war in 1939.

Electronic images of these records can be searched online through our partner website.

Date: 1914-1920

The records were stored and filmed in alphabetical order of a soldier's surname (as stated at the time of enlistment). Files discovered out of alphabetical sequence (after their correct place has been filmed) were filmed as a sequence of mis-sorts and placed at the end of the series.

Related material:

Equivalent records for the Coldstream, Grenadier, Irish and Welsh Guards are held by the Ministry of Defence. Records for the Scots Guards are held by their Regimental Headquarters. See:

For soldiers' service records pre-1914 see WO 97

Further soldiers' records of World War 1 are in WO 364

Records of the soldiers of the Household Cavalry WO 400

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 29889 microform
Access conditions: Available in digital format only
Custodial history: In September 1940, as the result of a fire caused by an incendiary bomb at the War Office Record Store in Arnside Street, London, approximately two thirds of 6.5 million soldiers' documents for the First World War were destroyed. Those records which survived were mostly charred or water damaged and unfit for consultation and became known as the 'burnt documents'. Commencing in 1996 and with the aid of Lottery funding and volunteers from the Genealogical Society of Utah under an agreement with the Ministry of Defence, the surviving records were the subject of a large microfilming programme designed to capture as much information as possible from these fragile documents and enable them to be permanently preserved.

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