What did you do in the war, Grandpa?

Tracing your army ancestors.

Many people are interested in tracing their family history, especially those connected to World War 1 as there are so many commemorative events at the moment.
We also get a lot of questions about where to start when trying to find what your family did in their military service. I thought it would be useful to put a quick guide on here in the hope it helps you; most of this is applicable to all regiments not just to the Royal Hampshire Regiment.

Points to remember:
• The Royal Hampshire Regiment was known as the Hampshire Regiment before 1946, and the 37th and 67th of Foot from 1702 to 1881.
• There is NO single list of soldiers that served with the Royal Hampshire Regiment.
• The museum does NOT hold the service records of soldiers – these are available elsewhere (details later in this post). At least 50,000 soldiers served in the Hampshire Regiment in World War 1 just to give you an idea of scale.
• We only hold information on the Royal Hampshire Regiment and their predecessors.

• At the very least, you will need the surname and initials or full name of the person you are looking for.
• If you have a date of birth and service number, even better.

1.   Are you looking for your own service record?
If so, you need to write to The Army Personnel Centre, MS Support Unit, P&D Branch,  Historical Disclosures, Mail Point 555, Kentigern House, 65 Brown House, Glasgow, G2 8EX

2.   Did the soldier serve after 1920?

A good starting point is to get their service record – we do not hold these in the museum. The service record should provide details of where and when they served.
Service Records are available from The Army Personnel Centre, MS Support Unit, P&D Branch, Historical Disclosures, Mail Point 555, Kentigern House, 65 Brown House, Glasgow, G2 8EX. or via this contact form . A fee is charged for this service, payable even if no records can be found. Full details are on their website.

From the service record, we can often provide details of exactly what their units were doing at the time. However most soldiers are not mentioned by name in the records unless they received gallantry awards or were injured.

3. Did the soldier serve in World War 1 or before?

All service records were transferred to the National Archives at Kew for soldiers serving between 1770-1920. However, about 80% of these were destroyed during the Blitz in World War 2, so there is no guarantee that your soldier’s records will have survived. The National Archives are open to the public and you can go there in person for research. The National Archives hold details on enlistment, movements, gallantry awards, and World War 1 Medal rolls. They also hold the census records from 1841-1911, birth, marriages and death registers and much more. Their website is here
The National Archives, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU


• Do you want more information now you have the service record?

If you are sure your family member served with the Royal Hampshire, or the Hampshire Regiment or the 37th or 67th of Foot, and you want some more details on exactly what they were up to, please contact the museum here. Unfortunately we do charge for research undertaken, due to time and staff involved. The charge is currently £40. PLEASE don’t phone us as we cannot carry out research while on the phone!