Army Roll of Honour1939-1945
Army Roll of Honour 1939 - 1945
What is the source of information?
- The source is The Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945, an original document held under shelf reference WO304 at The National Archives, now decoded and put into a searchable database. It contains the details of British Army casualties during World War 2.
- The original 41-part document is in two main sections, firstly by regiment and secondly by surname.
- The document also includes a key to the codes used in the main sections. The key is necessary as much of the information in the original text is coded. The coded text includes the army rank, the corps in which the serviceman or woman served, and their places of birth, residence and death.
What period is covered?
- This dataset covers deaths within the period from 1st September 1939 to 31st December 1946.
Which parts of the British Army are covered?
- All credits: infantry, the artillery and all supporting corps.
- All ranks: officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and other ranks are all included. You do not need to know the rank of the soldier you are looking for. The rank shown is that held at death.
- All areas: soldiers from all parts of the UK are included.
- Only serving soldiers are included. If a soldier died after having been discharged from the army, even if their death occurred due to wounds incurred during their army service, they will not be included here. Usually their death will be included in the relevant civil death registers for England and Wales, Scotland or other jurisdiction of death.
- The records include those who were killed in action, died of wounds, and died of disease or other (including natural or accidental) causes. Soldiers who were recorded as missing presumed dead are also included.
- Please note that the records exclude most of the soldiers who were court-martialled and upon whom death sentences were executed. This is because such personnel were regarded as having died dishonourable deaths and therefore it was not thought appropriate to include them in a roll of honour alongside personnel who had died honourably for their country.
- As always with database searching, less is more: begin by entering limited information and then, if necessary, refine your search by adding extra information.
- This is simply the branch of the Army in which the serviceman or woman served.
- The branch is given either once or, where the information is available, twice for each person: firstly for the outbreak of War in 1939 and secondly as at their date of death.
Regiment, Corps etc
- This is the unit within the branch of the Army in which the serviceman or woman served.
- The unit is given either once or (where the information is available) twice for each person: firstly for the outbreak of War in 1939 and secondly as at their date of death.
Surname, forenames and initials
- The names and any initials shown are those known to the army and might not necessarily represent the soldier’s full given name at birth.
- Usually at least the first forename is shown in full in the Forename field. Sometimes a second forename may also be shown in full in this field.
- One or more initials are always shown, as the Initials field includes the initial(s) of the forename(s) shown in the field above.
- For example, in the case of a soldier with the full name James Yates, James will appear as forename and J (i.e. for James) as initial. It is important to understand that this does not mean that he was named James J Yates. A soldier actually named James J Yates would appear within the dataset with James as forename and JJ as initials.
- Within your search you can use asterisks (*) in place of any character or string of characters to widen your search. In some search fields we have included automatic wildcards to help your search, as detailed below.
- Surname There is no automatic wildcard for this field. In other words, if you search for Fox, you will not be returned entries for the surnames Foxley or Foxton. You can of course add your own trailing (Fox*) wildcard, if you wish, so as to obtain these names. This can be useful when looking for hyphenated or unhyphenated double-barrelled surnames.
- ForenameSimilarly trailing wildcards can be used for the forname and middlename fields.
Rank and number
- Rank will be that shown in army records as at the date of death
- Most soldiers should be shown with a 7-digit army number
Theatre of war
- Where United Kingdom is shown, this may mean that the person died on active service whilst serving in UK, for instance as a result of wounds received overseas prior to repatriation.
- Where At Sea is shown, this may mean that the person died while being repatriated to UK following wounds received on active service overseas.
Places of Birth and Domicile
- Domicile here reflects the permanent contact address of the soldier as per army records
- For both place of birth and place of domicile, sometimes a town will be given, sometimes a county. This simply reflects the original coding: for example, in the county of Kent, Canterbury was coded as 080 and elsewhere in Kent as 081: no other places in Kent are given in the original.
- These places are shown exactly as is, without correction or enhancement.
- This means that inaccuracies, omissions and errors in the original have been preserved and also appear online.
- Both birthplace and residence contain one place name only
- Places in London often include the general postcode area, e.g. London SE, or London W. Where this is the case and the post district has two characters (e.g. EC or SE), these are shown with the second letter in lower case (e.g. Ec or Se).