Research WW1 deaths

Research WW1 deaths

Those who sadly lost their lives in WW1 can be traced in Rolls of Honour and casualty lists

How to, How to

How to

How to

The definitive records of WW1 casualties are held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (see right), which will help you find where a forebear killed in the war is buried. There are also many different Rolls of Honour that have been published during the war or since.

The National Roll of the Great War was published in 14 volumes shortly after the war ended and covers records of more than 110,000 men and women who served in the war – many of whom survived it. It was organised by UK region, but does not cover the whole country – nonetheless it contains brief biographies of those listed which can be of great value to family historians.

De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour is a much smaller collection – around 25,000 records – but more than a quarter of them include photographs. The level of information varies – it may just be the person’s regiment and when and where they died, but in some cases there are detailed biographies.

There are many other similar lists – many of which, along with those above, are available at, which has now also indexed the War Office’s weekly casualty lists from 1917-18 for the first time (see opposite). The site also has WW1 death indexes which provide General Register Office references for ordering death certificates via

Many WW1 service records have been lost but those that survive, along with medal index cards, are available from The National Archives.

Discover WW1 casualties at TheGenealogist

1 Log in to your account at TheGenealogist. Let’s say we want to look for the death records of someone called Gerald Peacocke whom we know died in 1917. Head first to and enter the details.
2 There is one match which looks likely – the results show he was in The Buffs. Clicking the icon at the right brings up a transcription of the casualty lists record – we can also view the original image (an example is bellow).
Rolls of Honour
3 Now let’s look him up in the site’s extensive collections of Rolls of Honour, at – there are two results here which straight away give us further information, including his education at Dulwich College.
Roll of Honour
4 This Roll of Honour record gives us a wealth of new information, including a mini-biography with details of his training, service and the circumstances of his death.
Gerald Peacocke
5 Many of the Roll of Honour records at TheGenealogist even include a small photograph of the individual, which might help identify him in an old family album.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
6 Clicking on the gravestone icon next to the results connects you straight to data at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website – and we now learn where Peacocke was buried.

In focus: Casualty lists

Weekly casualty lists from 1917-18 are available online exclusively at TheGenealogist

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casualty list

  1. The War Office’s Weekly Casualty List began in August 1917 to meet demand for information on casualties. It ran until March 1919. There were sometimes inaccuracies so, if you can, try to corroborate through other sources such as Rolls of Honour
  2. The lists cover all of the armed forces in all theatres of war, and include those who served in Canadian and Australian forces, as shown here
  3. The listings distinguish between officers and ‘other ranks’ – in the case of officers, you may find out more about what happened from regimental war diaries available online at The National Archives
  4. The listings divide the casualties by type – as well as wounded or killed/died, some are shown as ‘accidentally killed’, or ‘previously reported wounded now reported killed’ in the light of more information. The lists also indicate if someone has been reported to be a prisoner of war
  5. 5. The lists are further organised by regiment. The original HMSO publications are hard to search, but they have now been fully indexed at TheGenealogist

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