WW1 British Military Pension Records Cards
The Western Front Association is the custodian of a major new archive for family historians of British military personnel comprising over 6 million Pension Records Cards. The collection of Pension Records Cards, formerly held by the Ministry of Defence, was taken on by The Western Front Association in November 2011 to ensure that it would be preserved as an important First World War archive.
About the Pension Records Cards
The dependents of every sailor, soldier, airman and nurse who served with the British military and who was killed during the war of 1914-1918 received a pension. Also, all the British military serving personnel who were wounded or incapacitated and unable to continue military service as a result of their wartime service were awarded a pension. A Pension Records Card was allocated to each Service or ex-Serviceman and woman.
The categories of the records cards are, therefore:
- Almost 1 million records for Other Ranks who died.
- Over 1 million records for widows and dependents of Other Ranks.
- Over 2.5 million records for Other Ranks who survived.
- 150,000 records for Officers who survived and Officers' widows.
- 5,000 records for Merchant Navy personnel.
Information on the Cards
The cards contain information not only for the serviceman or woman, but also on the widow, children or other dependents. Valuable information for family historians, which is especially helpful if the serviceman's Service Record has not survived, is the following:
- Serviceman/woman's date of birth
- Date of notification of death
- Name of widow (where applicable)
- Names and dates of birth of children (where applicable)
Wounded servicemen and women have ledgers of assessment regarding their wounds. Information contained in a ledger can be very helpful in the form of home addresses, level of wounds and recovery, Service numbers and regiments served in.
For fuller details, examples and illustrations of the Pension Records Cards see the following two articles by David G Henderson:
Website: www.westernfrontassociation.com The Western Front Association preserves a major Great War archive of 6.5 million records (November 2012)
Website: www.westernfrontassociation.com Great War Pension Record Cards and Ledgers: deeper understanding (March 2013)
Searching the Pension Records Cards
It is the aim of the Western Front Association to digitize the archive and make it available for people to search it online at some future date.
At present the cards are not online and a written request and a fee need to be submitted to The Western Front Association in order that a manual lookup request can be carried out on your behalf. The search is open to non-members.
Details of the form to download and complete and the fee for a search are provided on the following page of The Western Front Association website:
Website: www.westernfrontassociation.com Pension Records Manual Lookup Request
“The Western Front Association preserves a major Great War archive of 6.5 million records” by David G Henderson, The Western Front Association