Findmypast Grant Free Access to all Military Records to Commemorate Centenary of the Battle of the Somme

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

  • findmypast_logoFindmypast makes entire collection of 65 million world military records free for eight days
  • All UK, Irish, Australian, Canadian and US military records free from 27th of June to 4th July , allowing researchers around the world the opportunity to learn more about the military heroes in their family
  • Includes free access to 32 million World War 1 records including 4.2 million British Army Service Records, over 5.8 million medal records, over 700,000 death records and over 27,000 Pals battalion records
  • Free access to all UK and Irish census records also included, allowing researches to discover what their military ancestors were doing prior to the outbreak of war

London, UK. 27th June 2016.
Leading family history website, Findmypast, has just announced that they will be making their entire collection of military records free for eight days to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. From 04:00 ET, 27th June until 06:59 ET, 4th July 2016, all 65 million records within Findmypast’s “Military, Armed Forces and Conflict” category will be completely free to search and explore, providing family historians from around the globe the opportunity to uncover the stories of the military heroes within their own family. All 265 million UK and Irish census records will also be free to search, allowing researchers to uncover details of their military ancestor’s civilian lives.

This will include free access to Findmypast’s vast collection of more than 32 million World War 1 records, including:

  • Over 19 million US and Canada World War 1 records
  • The most comprehensive collection of British Army service records both for WW1 and pre WW1 – these multiple page documents were released in partnership with The National Archives and are packed with fascinating biographical details such as the names and addresses of next of kin, physical descriptions and character references from commanding officers
  • Exclusive Pals battalion records covering major cities including London, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
  • Soldiers Died In The Great War 1914-1919 records
  • Comprehensive, illustrated Victoria Cross records
  • Over 1.5 million medal index cards, memorial rolls and roll of honour records
  • Military tribunal records – the records of thousands of men who attempted to avoid conscription
  • Military Nurses 1856-1994 records
  • Over 25,000 British Red Cross records
  • The most comprehensive British Naval collection available online
  • The most comprehensive Royal Air Force collection online

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire between 1st July and 18th November 1916 on both sides of upper reaches of the River Somme in France. It was the largest battle fought on the Western Front with more than one million men wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

The first day of the action alone resulted in more than 58,000 British casualties, one third of whom were killed in action. This was followed by 140 days of horror in which hundreds of thousands of British troops fought and died in some of the worst conditions of the entire war.

The battle also marked ‘blooding of the Pals battalions’. The Pals, who had volunteered together, fought together and in many cases died together, were mostly young, educated, white collar workers who had signed up in 1914 amid the first excitement of Kitchener’s ‘Your Country Needs You’ campaign. For many, the Somme was the first major action they saw and casualty rates were staggeringly high. The devastating effect this had on their home communities led to the experiment being abandoned after the summer of 1916.

Paul Nixon, military expert at Findmypast, says: – “Findmypast is proud to perpetuate the memory of those who served their King and Country during one of the darkest chapters in the history of the British Armed Forces. By providing access to the most comprehensive collection of World War 1 service records and other military records online, Findmypast enables people to easily discover those ancestors who sacrificed so much.”

William Spencer, Military Records Specialist at The National Archives, said: “Records relating to the Somme give us a very vivid picture of what it was like for those fighting there and the conditions they lived and fought in. Poignantly, they provide a record of the number of those killed, many of whom were young and who were experiencing a battle for the first time.”

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Many relatives of those looking for the military records of family members who were soldiers and have served the military may find the search process like an intricate labyrinth and often time consuming and exhaustive.  –


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