RESEARCHING SOLDIERS’ 1702-1914
A. What records does the Museum have?
1. Database of names – the Museum maintains a growing database of soldiers and officers who served, but there is not a complete list of all those who served from 1702 to 1914 and very few names pre-1830. These include the 34th (Cumberland) Regiment 1702-1881, 55th (Westmoreland) Regiment 1755-1881, Border Regiment 1881-1914. There a few rolls for the Cumberland and Westmoreland Militias c. 1850-81, Cumberland and Westmoreland Rifle Volunteers 1859-1883, Volunteer and Territorial Battalions 1883-1914, Cumberland Artillery 1859-1914.
2. Service & other Records – the Museum does not hold copies of individual Officers’ and Soldiers’ Service records, apart from a small number of documents donated to our archives by individual or their descendants. Most officers can be traced in the Army Lists and Officers’ names are often mentioned in other documents. Any surviving personal documents will be held by the National Archives at Kew, most of which have been digitized and we have online access.
3. Casualty records – the Museum has casualty records for many of the campaigns involving the 34th, 55th and Border Regiment from the 1830’s onwards, but only limited information on those who died of natural causes/illness.
4. Medals – the Museum holds copies of, or has online access to most of the Army Medal Rolls – for members of the 34th, 55th and Border Regiment these include the Military General Service Medal, China 1841-42, Crimean War, Indian Mutiny, India General Service Medal 1854 (for Bhootan, Waziristan 1894-5 & other minor campaigns), Queen’s & King’s South Africa Medal; Long Service & Good Conduct, Meritorious Service and Coronation Medals; Volunteer Long Service, Territorial Force and Territorial Efficiency Medals, Volunteer & Territorial Decoration (including Volunteer & Territorial awards to the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry and The Cumberland Artillery).
5. Gallantry awards – a fairly complete list of VC, DSO, DCM, MiDs (Mentions-in-Despatches), foreign and other awards – details including some citations (not MiD) and date of publication in the London Gazette.
6. Photographs – the Museum has several thousand pre-1914 photographs, many of which are un-named.
7. Any records relating to the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment (4th Regiment of Foot) 1680-1959 should be directed to the King’s Own Royal regiment Museum, Lancaster City Museum, Market Square, Lancaster LA1 1HT tel. 01524 64637 fax 01524 841692 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
B. What do you have to tell the Museum when making an enquiry?
A soldier’s full name, regimental number, Regiment/unit number, and any other personal details where known.
PLEASE NOTE – It is virtually impossible to search through any of our records or those in other museums, the National Archives, or other organisations for information without knowing a soldier’s regimental number, as initials and Christian names are not always given in the documents we hold and common surnames are regularly repeated in our lists. It is also useful to know with which Regiment (34th or 55th) and/or with which Battalion a man served with, so that we can indicate where he served.
C. What can the Museum provide for someone making an enquiry?
The Museum will provide as much information about an individual as can be traced in our records and any reply will include, where relevant, photocopies from published histories and other documents.
D. Where can you find more information other than in the local regimental museum?
1. Family – for documents and paperwork, photographs, medals and memorabilia – medals and paperwork will give details of a man’s name, number, regiment and possibly the battalion in which he served.
2. Local Libraries and Record Offices – copies of regimental histories, local studies information, local company, local authority and parish records.
3. Local newspapers – original or on microfilm – an excellent source of information and may be available from the nearest local library with a reference/local studies section, or County Record Office.
4. Local War Memorials and Rolls of Honour – check these for details.
5. Soldiers’ and Officers’ Service Papers – and surviving service records pre-1914 are held by the National Archives at Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU; tel. 020-8876-3444; fax 020-8878-8905; e-mail email@example.com.
6. Pay-lists and Muster Rolls, Medal Rolls, Enlistment Books and Depot Books, Pension and other records held at the National Archives.