Last effects of First World War soldiers to be made available online

Members of the public will soon be able to explore online handwritten records detailing the last pounds, shillings and pence belonging to thousands of British soldiers who died in the First World War.

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Members of the public will soon be able to explore online handwritten records detailing the last pounds, shillings and pence belonging to thousands of British soldiers who died in the First World War.

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The Soldiers’ Effects ledgers, created by the War Office to record the monies owing to soldiers who died while serving in the British Army, are currently held in the National Army Museum’s archives in giant, leather-bound registers.

From early 2015, the records will be made available at family history website, Ancestry.co.uk.

Dating from the First World War and up to 1929, they also contain information about soldiers’ debts, deaths and next of kin. The records include the war dead that were later discovered.

The earliest records also detail soldiers’ trades on enlistment. Among them are a tea packer from Wigan, and a flannelette finisher from Lancashire.

The records are to be digitised as part of the museum’s First World War commemoration plans.

David Bownes, assistant director (collections) at the National Army Museum, said: “This project unlocks the records held in these ledgers, and allows us to share this significant resource with thousands of new users from across the world.”

Ancestry.co.uk senior content manager, Miriam Silverman, said: “We are delighted to be working with the National Army Museum to share these fascinating military records with an even wider audience.

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“This unique collection will be an invaluable resource for those wishing to learn more about their ancestors’ military careers and uncover the stories of these brave soldiers’ lives.”

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