Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New military collection released online commemorates the 90th Anniversary of First World War I

In commemoration of the 90th anniversary since the end of the First World War is proud to announce the release of a new military collection online.

The Artists Rifles Roll of Honour, the Anzac Roll of Honour and the New Zealand Roll of Honour as well as the Waterloo Roll call, Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy 1660-1815, British Naval Biographical Dictionary 1849 and the Royal Air Force Lists, all form part of the new collection. The searchable database will enable millions to research their military ancestors with ease.

The Artists Rifles was formed in 1859 as part of the great Volunteer Corps. It comprised various professional painters, sculptors, engravers, musicians, architects and actors raised to defend the British Isles from a French invasion. The regiment became part of the Corps of the Rifle Brigade which was subsequently transformed into the famous 21 Special Air Service Regiment S.A.S (Artists Reserve).

In the 20th century the Artists Rifles was a popular unit with volunteers and attracted recruits from public schools and universities. Over fifteen thousand men passed through the battalion during the war, more than ten thousand of them becoming officers and served in almost every unit of the British Army. The battalion fought in France in the Great War, its battle honours include Passchendaele, the Somme 1918, Cambrai 1918, Pursuit to Mons, and suffered higher casualties than those of any other battalion. Members of the Regiment won eight Victoria Crosses, fifty-six Distinguished Service Orders and over a thousand other awards for gallantry and honour.

The Artist Rifles Roll of Honour provides the name of the Artist, rank, regiment, date and where they died. A list of honours, decorations and commissions are among the records provided.

Prominent members of the unit included Noel Coward, and Sir Barnes Wallis, CBE, FRS and the war poets Siegfried Loraine Sassoon and Wilfred Edward Owen who was killed in action on 4 November 1918, only one week before the end of the war.

The Anzac Roll of Honour 1914 – 1918 commemorates those soldiers who served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and died in the fateful Dardanelles campaign as well as other Great War battles.

The Roll of Honour, lists nearly 20,000 Australians and New Zealand soldiers who died in the war. In addition to the soldiers’ names, their number, rank, unit. The place and cause of death and date of death are also detailed.

The collection is comprised of a number of sections including Soldiers Verses, photographs stories, notes, letters and diary entries which provide a unique insight of a soldier’s life at war. An official summary of the “Peace Treaty” terms is also available.

New Zealand Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918
The Roll of Honour, lists over 18,000 New Zealand soldiers and officers who died in the war. The list contains members of the New Zealand Expeditionary forces killed in action or died from wounds inflicted, accidents, or disease contracted while on Active Service or those who died after discharge.

In addition to the soldiers’ names, number, rank and unit are detailed as well as the place, cause and date of death.

Royal Air Force Lists
The Lists are a valuable collection of the serving and retired officers of the Royal Air Force including the Reserve and Auxiliary Air Force.

As the junior service - the Royal Air Force was born from the merger of the Royal Flying Corp and the Royal Naval Air service in 1918. Its role in the inter-war years became increasingly important as it helped to maintain Britain's strategic interests from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf and east to India.

These detailed lists feature the Air Ministry, the Air Council and all officer ranks from Air Marshal to Pilot Officer featuring name, rank, date of seniority, unit and location. Additional information includes medical staff, nurses and chaplains, decorations and awards and a list of holders of the Victoria Cross. Every branch of the Royal Air Force at that time is represented.

As part of the new collection the records go back to Royal Navy Sea Officers all the way from 1660 to 1815 including the Napoleonic Wars. The military is not overlooked with the roll call of the Duke Wellingtons Army at Waterloo in 1812.

Waterloo Roll Call
The Waterloo Roll Call includes Commissioned and Non – Commissioned Officers who fought at Waterloo. The collection consists of a number of sections and is arranged by regiments, rank and seniority within regiments. A staff list is shown separately. Biographical information and anecdotes are available on the majority of those listed in the section and on NCO’s who were subsequently commissioned as well as some heroes of the battle. Those killed and wounded are also indicated. British and Hanoverian Army Divisions and an Index of officers are included in the sections.

Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy 1660-1815
The list was conceived and compiled by David Bonner Smith an Admiralty Librarian. The immense task filled 13 large notebooks and the records lists the name of the Officer, rank and year they were commissioned between 1660 and 1815. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson as well as Captain Thomas Masterman Hardy and many other Sea Officers of the Royal Navy are available to search.

The British Naval Biographical Dictionary, 1849
A Naval Biographical Dictionary comprising the Life and Services of Every Living Officer in Her Majesty's Navy, from the Rank of Admiral of the Fleet to that of Lieutenant, Inclusive. London, England compiled by John Murray in 1849.

The database consists of authentic family documents and comprises the biography of every living officer in the British Navy. The information will usually cover the individual’s rank, year of commission and details of their naval career. Often further reference to the ship they served on, their command and expeditions are mentioned. The biographies provide a fascinating insight into the expeditions and influence of the British Empire whilst keeping Britain secure and to ensure the flow of ships and goods to supply Britain’s ports and cities.

These records will add to the existing ten million military records and form part of a unique online resource available to military and family historians.

Military records collection being added to

· Anzac Roll of Honour 1914-1919
· Artist Rifles
· British Naval Biographical Dictionary, 1849
· Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy 1660-1815
· New Zealand Roll Of Honour
· Waterloo Roll Call
· Royal Air Force List 1920
· Royal Air Force List 1922
· Royal Air Force List 1929
· Royal Air Force List 1935

These records are available as part of the subscription and provide unprecedented value for money. A number of military records are available for free on

The existing military collection online includes;

World War I 1914-1918 British Army Deaths, database covers 1913-1921 includes Royal Air Force Deaths and Royal Flying Corps RFC
World War I 1914-1918 Royal Navy Deaths, database covers 1913 - 1921 includes Royal Naval Air Service RNAS
· Soldiers who died in the Great War 1914-1918
The National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918 (14 Volumes) Complete collection
· World War II British Army Deaths 1939-1948 database covers 1935-1950
· World War II 1939-1948 Royal Navy Deaths database covers 1935-1950
· World War II 1939-1948 Royal Air Force Deaths