Thursday, 30 June 2016

Scottish Stories of the Somme

From the National Records of Scotland (

Stories of the Somme

To commemorate the start of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916, the National Records of Scotland (NRS) and ScotlandsPeople have been exploring the unique records that you can search when tracing your First World War ancestors.

scottish soldiers in the sommeYou can read about the lives of eight soldiers (seven Scottish and one French), who died on the first day, just a few of the 21,392 soldiers in the British, Commonwealth and Empire Army who lost their lives or were reported missing in action. On that first day another 35,493 soldiers were wounded and 585 taken prisoner. The battle was to last another 141 days.

In the first article, NRS has selected two from the special series of 26,000 Soldiers’ Wills on ScotlandsPeople, to tell the stories of two soldiers who served in the 15th Battalion, Royal Scots.

In the second article, ScotlandsPeople has researched documents from the larger series of Wills & Testaments (1513-1925), along with some census records, to create a picture of the short lives of six soldiers - both in peacetime and wartime. These soldiers served in the Highland Light Infantry, the Gordon Highlanders, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, the Royal Scots and the 78th Brigade of the French Army.

Both articles also feature men with an architectural connection, to mark Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government, said:

"These personal documents are powerful evidence of the sacrifice made by thousands of Scots soldiers during the Battle of the Somme. Their stories and the experiences of their families and loved ones deserve to be told."

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

"We are privileged to be able to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme by highlighting some of the countless stories of the service and sacrifice of Scottish soldiers during the First World War. National Records of Scotland holds a wealth of archives and records which help us understand the enormous impact the First World War had on the people of Scotland."

(With thanks to the NRS and ScotlandsPeople)


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

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