Soldiers’ Effects Registers now available online

By Jon Bauckham, 16 January 2015 - 12:55pm

Soldiers' Effects records from both the Second Boer War and First World War have been added to Ancestry.co.uk

Walter Tull

As well as being the first black infantry officer in the British Army, Walter Tull is also remembered for his time as a footballer at Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town (Credit: Getty Images)

Thousands of historic military records have been added to Ancestry.co.uk for the first time.

Digitised from documents held by the National Army Museum, the Soldiers’ Effects Registers were created by the War Office to show how much money next of kin received when soldiers were killed in service between 1901 and 1929.

Covering both the First World War and latter stages of the Second Boer War, each record typically lists the soldier’s name, rank, regiment, date of death and the name of the beneficiary. For the earliest records in the collection, the serviceman’s original trade before they enlisted is also included.

Comprising 872,395 fully searchable entries, exploring the collection reveals a number of famous names.

Among them is Walter Tull, noted for both his career as a professional footballer and being the first black man to be commissioned as an infantry officer in the British Army.

Killed during the Spring Offensive in 1918, an entry from the records shows that Walter’s brother Edward received a total payment of £15 after news of his death reached Britain.

Overall, this was slightly higher than the typical amount paid out to soldiers’ beneficiaries. Following analysis of the collection as a whole, researchers found that the average compensation received by family members was £10.35 – equivalent to just over £929 in today’s money.

David Bownes, Head of Collections, National Army Museum said: “Sharing the stories of soldiers who served with the British Army is at the heart of our work here at the National Army Museum.

“We embraced the partnership with Ancestry as a way of making the Soldiers’ Effects ledgers more widely accessible. Some of the insights they reveal are fascinating.”
 

TAKE IT FURTHER

Search Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 here (requires subscription)

 

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