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    London & World War One - how to research your ancestors

    Germany invaded Belgium on the 5th August 1914.  A few days later, the British government declared war on Germany. This was the start of a long, and devastating war between the countries; and around the world.

    By the end of the 1914, one million British citizens have signed up to fight. By 1918, a similar number had lost their lives in this treacherous warfare.

    This year (2018) will be the start of that closure process for may families. One hundred years since the end of the Great World War, when so many young soldiers died, often as young as fifteen. There will be many tributes and services to commemorate this time (100 years); but this site is about how you can research your ancestors who died, and where to find some record of their life.

    The London18 site will build on this, and also provide details on how to research long lost relatives who were involved in these conflicts.

    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.

    After a read through, there is an entire list of service personnel who were killed, and also a massive listing of medal honours. You can search on the basic detail of some of these people at the CWGC to verify these 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. This is one of a listing of Gutenberg books which have been digitised, and can hold good records of a regiments movements in a war, and often details of any heroics. This is always difficult to find elsewhere for non-commissioned officers and lower grades.

    Another major site which has massed amazing data is here - Geoffs hut-six ; this is another inroad into many records already online by the many enthusiasts of research.

    What would be really useful would be a calendar of what is happening, and where,  during the four year war. I know this exists to some extent, but this is crucial to understanding what is being referred to in a mentioned in despatches, for example.

    I was searching for Despatches, and cam across these Lynsted with Kingsdown society pages, which are rather excellent

    Sources :

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