The King's Shropshire Light Infantry & Affiliated Regiments

 

Reasearching the KSLI in "the Great War"

In common with other regimental museums, we hold no official service or personal records relating to the officers and soldiers of the KSLI during the 1914-18 war. Such as now survivie are held in The National Archives in Kew.

The following series are most useful :

1.

WO.363 : surviving attestation and service papers relating to Other Ranks of 1914-18.

It should be noted that only about 20% of these now survive and their condition varies greatly. Many suffered  damage during the Blitz so that what remains of a soldier's record (if indeed anything remains) can vary enormously in condition and extent. 

Service papers rarely survive for deceased soldiers (killed or died) or for short-service soldiers.

These are available online via ancestry.co.uk.

2.

WO 364 : papers retained for pension purposes or reconstructed service details from pension offices. These generally relate to men who had some claim against the army for pension reasons - long service, injuries, wounds etc.

They can be very variable in what they contain and are not really a substitute for the full service record - though they are sometimes all that is left.

These are available online via ancestry.co.uk.

3.

Medal Index Cards (MIC) : cards prepared by the Army Medal Office (then in Droitwich) to record the entitlement and issue of the appropriate campaign medals for WW1 service.

Note that the vast majority of men who only served in the UK and Ireland did not receive medals for war service, so that these cards will not exist for such soldiers.

They vary in value : they give name (though not always in full and not always incorporating a middle or other forenames), regiments in which serving to qualify for awards, ranks held etc.

Some give first theatre of war entered and date (which is not the date of enlistment) and some have the odd additional detail like "killed in action", sometimes with date, "PoW", or "discharged...." with date etc.

The reverse of these cards is usually blank but those for officers may have the address the medals were sent to and other administrative details.

These are available online via ancestry.co.uk.

Note : references on these cards refer back to the actual medal rolls (now held in Kew and not yet online) which are sometimes useful - especially in indicating the battalion in which a man served where the actual MIC does not.

4.

Silver War Badge register : men who were "honourably discharged" during the war on the grounds of wounds, illness, infirmity etc, were awarded a silver lapel badge as a visible indication that they had served. They can be useful in giving dates of service (enlistment and discharge) and cause of discharge (wounds, sickness etc.).

These registers are available on online ancestry.co.uk.

5.

Casualties :

a. The War Office "Soldiers died in the Great War" is a regiment by regiment printed listing of those who lost their lives through any cause - killed in action, died of wounds, drowned, died of disease etc, with brief details (place of birth, place of enlistment, place of residence), date of death, battalion etc.

These are available online via a number of genealogical sites. 

b. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website : the CWGC is responsible for tending the hundreds of British military cemeteries around the world relating to the great conflicts of the 20C, especially the 1914-18, 1939-45 and Korean wars.

Its searchable website at  www.cwgc.org lists grave or memorial locations, name, date of death, rank, number and regiment; it sometimes has family information added where the next of kin submitted details.

6.

Battalion War Dairies : are held in The National Archives in Kew under series WO.95. They are the most important resource for the day to day actions and movements of any battalion.

Our archived versions of these diaries are now held in the Shropshire Record Office on Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, (where they may be examined) and a catalogue of their scope is available online at Access2archives.

7.

Printed Regimental histories: the main source for KSLI war service battalion by battalion is Major W. de B. Wood's The History of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry in the Great War 1914-18, published by the Medici Society in 1925. Reprints are now available (e.g. via Naval and Military Press) or along with other relevant regimental histories and booklets via the shop/books section our own website.

A range of other published aids is now available - like The National Roll of the Great War, specialised lists like de Ruvigny's List and others; the main genealogical websites like ancestry.co.uk. and findmypast.co.uk as well as numbers of others have further details.