London 1918, the Armistice and Gallantry research

London & World War One gallantry and casualties

LCC index

It is One hundred years since the end of the Great World War, when so many soldiers died, and women first got a vote (a few of them). It began with the tens of thousands of professional enlisted army versus the millions of Germans, and latterly led to the deaths of many young, and older, volunteer conscripts doing their 'bit' for King and country. This war was about two Germanic cousins who fancied a fight amongst themselves, and it caused the deaths of thousands; and untold misery for all. There will be many tributes and services to commemorate this centenary; but this site is my suggestions about how you can research your ancestors who served, were awarded for their gallantry and whom died; and where to find some record of their life; and their hardships; including the many gallantry awards during this period.

London County Council records.

The London County Council also provided a service record of the Great War, in 1920, and this was awarded to all of its former staff. It is another brilliant record of the war; and its highs and lows, the dead and those awarded with gallantry medals; this record actually lists about 10,000 former LCC personnel, and brief details of their war record, including deaths and their length of service, their regiment, and any gallantry awards etc.

I think we need to start with two sites, one is the London Gazette, the other is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Both sites are brilliant, and all research is free, and open to all. In fact as a starter, ready this account of The 23rd (Service) Battalion Royal Fusiliers (First Sportsman's) A Record of its Services in the Great War, 1914-1919 by Fred Ward.

London University - Officers Training Corps. - a to z

A brilliant online resource is available which lists in great detail the OTC of the London University. This detail includes the many citations from the London Gazette. This is useful, as it confirms an award, but the London Gazette was several months later than an action, and this extension became greater as we neared the end of the Great War. The lists also note specific persons mentioned in an officers dispatches, these are clearly closer to the date concerned, and are highly likely to have led to the gallantry award; plus a number of lists of those who actually died in a specific action. By putting all of this detail together, it paints a clearer picture of when events happened, and where the event happened. I would highly recommend also reading the as regimental histories that exist, often with dates and accurate battle proceedings. I list some of these on the 1918Armistice site. Here is a good example (Captain William Buntin) of records from the London OTC and other sources. A second example of  Lt. Henry Pettit Chiswell is an excellent example of using dispatches to add detail to an action, as the London Gazette is clearly months out of date.

London Gazette & Commonwealth Graves Commission (cwgc).

You can search on the basic detail of people at the CWGC to verify any facts, plus details such as grave registration reports and headstone listings; and also try the same names in the London Gazette. If you have access to Ancestry, for example, you can further research a persons records prior to the war, in particular the 1911 census; and also you may find a medal card and also a will with direct links to other members of the family. These last three access points will often confirm the same detail. The latter is free in any local library.

There are also a number of Army Lists, mostly officers. These are difficult to find in a search, but here is a start :

One point that I should note is that military records are very impersonal, they are name, rank and serial number. It is really difficult to find personal details about a person when you only have a surname and an initial. Good luck on this. Actually, this is not entirely accurate, as I have now also found the records of the National Archive Discovery service. They are brief detail, in many instances, but incredibly useful in confirming name, rank and regimental number.

The Artists Rifles.

Formed in 1859, as a Volunteer Light Infantry; formed into three battalions in 1914. It appears to have been largely an Officers Training Corps during the Great War. Wilfred Owen was one of the many officers who began their careers in the Artists Rifles.

Regimental records.

I list on the site ; the regimental histories of a number of regiments and territorial regiments throughout the first world war. These describe their experiences, through using timelines, and a brief description of the life at that time. Many of these texts also highlight particular acts of gallantry and also lists of those who died at the time.


Sources :