On this page I am going to run through a few research pointers for those people not familiar with the
material mentioned in my site. I research mainly at the National Archives in London, and the
photographic material used on this site is copyright to them and used here in an educational means. At
some point I will hope to move onto the material held in other archives.
Victorian Soldiers Papers
The main source of quality information on the regular army Victorian enlisted soldier is the WO 97 series
at the National Archives. These were papers kept by the Chelsea Hospital on soldiers discharged from
service who had a call for pension (discharges prior to around 1883) or had survived service and may
have a future claim on pension (discharges 1883-1913). I have put together a few pages detailing the
extent and information contained in these papers in the following time periods...
Circa 1850 - mid 1870's (4 pages) - Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
Circa 1870's - around 1883
Circa 1883 - 1913 (5 pages) - Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 3a Page 4
Sadly the only papers from this series available on-line from the National Archives is part of the
Supplementary series which only covers around 60 boxes of the 6500 boxes total. An index of the
complete Supplementary WO 97 men can be found here. The WO 97 series up to 1854 is indexed on-line
at the National Archives but is not available unless you visit the NA.
The WO 97 series is stored in boxes (around 200 files/box) in a rough alphabetical order in the following
way (discharge date quoted)..
Pre 1855 - Indexed by the NA, but normally by regiment/corps and then surname.
1855-72 - Indexed by regiment/corps (so this is required to be known), then in alphabetical order.
1873-82 - Indexed by 'arm of service' (i.e. Cavalry, Infantry etc.) and then alphabetical.
1883-1900 & 1900-13 - Surname order (roughly)
It can be seen from this that only in the discharge period of 1855-72 is it essential that the regimental
details are needed.
Imperial Yeomanry Papers
A group close to my heart, the Imperial Yeomanry were enlisted under short service engagements from
late 1899 to mid 1902. Their papers are similar to the later WO 97's but normally contain less details as
the men served from only a few months to a maximum of 2 years. A typical set of papers are here..
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
These papers are stored in 165 boxes at the National Archives in order by regimental number.. so this is
required to be known. An index of the IY can be found here. Some Yeomen who were invalided ended up
with pensions, and as such they appear in the WO 97 series instead. These papers are not available
Campaign Medal Rolls.
The War Office issued medals regularly throughout the Victorian period for campaigns large and small,
and these rolls are in the WO 100 series at the National Archives. If a man is suspected to have taken
part in a campaign, this is often a good place to identify his unit from. A typical medal roll can be seen
WO 100 medal roll
These rolls are sorted by campaign, then by unit, then normally by rank/surname, so for large
campaigns such as the Boer War they are impracticable to begin with. These are not avaliable on-line
and are at the NA on rolls of film and not as original documents.