Monday, 14 December 2015

Forces War Records WW2 casualty lists reaches half a million

From Forces War Records (

Forces War Records WO417 War Office casualty lists reaches half a million!

On 11th December 2015 specialist military genealogy website Forces War Records’ WO417 collection reached a milestone half a million records released. ‘War Office: Army Casualty Lists, 1939-45 War’ from the National Archives (reference WO417) is a list of every casualty sustained by the British Army, day by day during the Second World War.

Forces War Records released the first set of these ‘never-before-seen’ Second World War records on 8th May 2015. Within this collection there are volumes for Army Officers and nurses and separate volumes for other ranks, including details not available in previously released Second World War data sets. It will give Forces War Records’ users information about what happened to their ancestors at very specific times during the war. Almost any military record will give the name, rank and Service Number of the subject, but the Service Number is often missing from Officer records, which is why this collection is such a valuable resource to anyone searching for an ancestor who served as an Officer. In addition, information on deaths, wounds and prisoners of war is given along with specific duty locations. The British Army alone lost over 200,000 men over the course of the Second World War, over 180,000 were made Prisoners of War, and nearly the same number again wounded. Importantly, the collection also gives corrections for previously released lists where soldiers have been incorrectly recorded as killed or missing, for example.

For these reasons this collection is extensive and a very important resource for anyone researching their military ancestors from the Second World War, as there is currently so little information on that conflict available to the general public.

(With thanks to Jennifer Holmes)


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