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First World War service records published

6th November 2009

The service records of British soldiers who served in the First World War have been launched online.

Ancestry.co.uk and the National Archives teamed up to release the British Army World War One Service Records 1914-1920 archive, which contains details of the full military careers of over two million troops.

Details found in the documents include the soldiers' names, places and dates of birth, former occupations, marital statuses, medical records, service histories, regiment numbers, where they were stationed and discharge papers.

Among the records are famous Sherlock Holmes actor Basil Rathbone and flamboyant playwright Noel Coward, as well as those of ordinary heroes such as Victoria Cross recipient George Peachment and Henry Mays, who signed up under a false name.

Dan Jones, international content director at Ancestry.co.uk, commented: 'The service records will provide millions of people with information to help them better understand what their heroic ancestors were like as soldiers, including their performance in battle, their health and details of their general appearance.'

Earlier this week, the National Heritage Memorial Fund said it would provide GBP 550,000 to help the University of Cambridge purchase the private notebooks of First World War soldier, poet and author Siegfried Sassoon.

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