Over half a million WW2 casualty records now online

By Guest, 17 December 2015 - 3:23pm

Specialist military genealogy website Forces War Records has now transcribed and uploaded more than 500,000 Second World War casualty records to its collections

Photo credit: Forces War Records Historic Archive

An online database of Second World War casualty records has now expanded to include more than half a million entries.

On 14 December Forces War Records announced it had transcribed and uploaded a new tranche of material from WO 417 at The National Archives, providing the names of British Army personnel listed as a ‘casualty’ on each day of the conflict.

This means that they were either killed, wounded, went missing or taken prisoner of war.

First launched in May 2015, the collection can also reveal the individual’s service number and the date on which they became a casualty. Crucially for researchers, the records are divided according to rank, with separate volumes for officers and nurses.

“WO417 is quite different from other collections we have transcribed,” said Rachel Cope, data entry manager at Forces War Records.

“It is an insight into how information about the fate of soldiers was reported during the war as it happened.

“Consequently, each report includes corrections as events become clearer and a timeline of information begins to emerge about missing personnel, prisoners of war and those who died.”

Although the original documents are still held at The National Archives, Forces War Records are the only genealogy service to have transcribed and indexed the collection.

A Forces War Records spokesperson said it would be impossible to give an exact date of completion without checking all of the records individually.

However, they confirmed that site staff hoped to finish the transcription process by the “latter half of 2016”.

Search now by visiting Forces War Records (requires subscription)

Words: Stephanie Brown

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TV and Radio highlights: 18-24 December 2015
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Genealogy news round-up: Ancestry updates Gloucestershire collection
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