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The very latest news from the world of genealogy

Second World War Casualty Lists released online

TheGenealogist is adding to its Military Records collection with the release of more than 1 million entries for people recorded in the Second World War Casualty Lists. Sourced from collection WO 417 held at The National Archives, these documents contain records from the war years of 1939 to 1945 and list casualties sustained by the British Army during the Second World War. There are volumes for Officers and Nurses, with separate volumes for Other Ranks. The Casualty Lists were compiled from daily lists that had been prepared by the War Office Casualty Section and cover the various expeditionary forces deployed in different locations across Europe, Africa and Asia as well as for personnel at home.

 

British Army Second World War casualties include wounded and POWs

 

WW2 Casualty Records will give family history researchers details of ancestors’ names and regiment as well as ranks and service numbers for those recorded. The World War 2 casualty lists contained more detail than their WW1 counterparts and often list the date of the casualty (as well as the list date), plus other information such as the unit a soldier had been serving in at the time.

 

Included in these lists are those who had been unaccounted for by the military, been dangerously ill or injured, captured as a Prisoner of War or died. The records include troops who had been serving in a number of places across the world, but also cover personnel who had lost their lives, were injured at home or were serving at an overseas station outside the theatres of war. Updates and corrections appear in the records as new information was received by the War Office.

 

These records allow a researcher to use TheGenealogist’s unique SmartSearch by simply clicking the magnifying glass at the bottom of the transcript. This will automatically search for any other records relating to that person. For example, if they were a Prisoner of War this will return other records from TheGenealogist’s military collection, including PoW records that reveal what camp that soldier had been recorded in.

 

If a person had died, you also get a smart link to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) which brings up details of their war grave, with further information.

 

Use the WWII casualty list records to:

  • Find ancestors who were Missing, Wounded, Killed in Action or Prisoners of War
  • Discover army personnel seriously ill or accidentally killed serving at home or overseas
  • Check an ancestor’s rank and service number
  • Find the theatre of war in which your ancestor was serving when they became a casualty

 

Read TheGenealogist's article:  WWII Casualty Lists finds two motor racing aces executed by the Nazis

 

https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2019/wwii-casualty-lists-finds-two-motor-racing-aces-executed-by-the-nazis-1059/

 

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New WW1 Records Released

New avenues of research are opened up by the latest release of unique Great War records online.

During the First World War many servicemen were reported as ‘Missing’ or ‘Killed in Action’ and for the first time you can now search a comprehensive list of these online. Usefully this includes the changing status of soldiers as the facts became clearer over time, as many assumed dead were found alive and those reported missing had their status updated.

TheGenealogist logo

This new release from TheGenealogist contains over 800,000 records. Included are 575,000 Killed in Action records, over 226,000 unique Missing-in-Action records and 14,000 Status Updates.

Over 100,000 people previously reported as missing had further status updates:

  • 59,500 were later reported as killed

  • 47,400 were later reported as PoW

  • 2,000 were later reported as rejoined

  • 4,200 were later reported as “not missing”

  • 8,400 were later reported as wounded

Mark Bayley, Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist comments:

“The telegrams and published lists of Dead and Missing must have had a huge impact on the lives of our ancestors. These records give an insight into what must have been an emotional roller coaster. They also give new avenues of research into what some researchers may have assumed were dead ends.”

These records are now available to Diamond subscribers of TheGenealogist.

Example 1 Thought to be dead

Some people initially reported to be dead may turn out to be alive; the change in status is usually reported in the War Lists. If it had been assumed that an ancestor was dead, from the initial report, it could reopen a closed off branch of a family tree for further research.

An example of this type of positive record status change is Flight Sub Lieutenant Trechmann who was first reported as “Died As A Prisoner” in the Daily Lists of 6th June 1917.

Flight Sub Lieutenant Trechmann who was first reported as “Died As A Prisoner” in the Daily Lists of 6th June 1917.

By the end of July 1917 his status changed to Previously Reported Died As A Prisoner, Now Reported Alive and Still a Prisoner.

Finally, in December 1918, his records show that he was Repatriated.

PoW camp in the image archives on TheGenealogist

Example 2 Thought to be wounded

A different illustration, on many levels, is that of the 5th Earl of Longford. Within the Daily Casualty List on TheGenealogist for the 6th September 1915, we can find Lord Longford who had previously been reported as “Wounded”.

5th Earl Of Longford

Lord Longford "Wounded" 6 Sep 1915 in records on TheGenealogistHis status was then changed to be “Now Reported Wounded and Missing” and this alteration appeared in the daily list of the 27th September 1915

Lord Longford Previously Reported Wounded in Military records on TheGenealogist

During the First World War, Brigadier-General Lord Longford was in command of a division sent from their base in Egypt to Suvla on the Gallipoli peninsula as reinforcements during the Battle of Sari Bair.

The initial attack by other Divisions on Scimitar Hill had failed. With his men waiting in reserve, the 5th Earl and his troops were then ordered to advance in the open across a dry salt lake. Under fire, most of the brigades had taken shelter, but Lord Longford led his men in a charge to capture the summit of Scimitar Hill. Unfortunately, during the advance, he was killed.

Earl Longford's body was never recovered and so, in the confusion of war, he was first recorded as “Wounded”, and then “Wounded and Missing”. Eventually, in 1916, he would be assumed to be dead.

Posterity tells us that the peer’s last words were recorded as: “Don’t bother ducking, the men don’t like it and it doesn’t do any good”.

To read more about these records and to read a featured article on TheGenalogist here.

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