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Soldiers wounded in France disembark in England from a hospital train

Wounded in WW1

From humble Pals to a future Prime Minister, a huge set of casualty records is online at TheGenealogist

In its latest release of World War One military records, data giant TheGenealogist.co.uk has brought online the most comprehensive collection relating to those wounded in the war - more than 1.3 million records of servicemen from the British and Commonwealth forces.

Covering servicemen of all ranks, from all walks of life, the comprehensive records of Casualty Lists now available at TheGenealogist cover all four years of the war. If your ancestor was one of the many casualties, they should feature in the records now online.

The records uncover many individuals' stories and illustrate the huge task of keeping accurate records in the chaos and confusion of war. The dates given on the Casualty List records give us an insight into when our ancestors would have received the news about a loved one serving at the front.

Many servicemen were wounded on more than one occasion, and if the wound was not too severe, the soldier could find themselves patched up and back in front line action.

Among them was future British Prime Minister and Conservative politician, Harold Macmillan, of the famous publishing house family, who fought with The Grenadier Guards.

In September 1915 at the battle of Loos, as a young Lieutenant, he was shot in the hand and received a glancing bullet wound to the head and ended up hospitalised back in Britain. After recuperating, he returned to the front lines in France in mid-1916 in preparation for the battle of the Somme. Leading an advance platoon in the battle, he was severely wounded and spent an entire day lying in a trench with a bullet in his pelvis. Macmillan spent the final to years of the war in hospital undergoing a long series of operations and he was left with a limp for the rest of his life.

Harold Macmillan's casualty records at TheGenealogist.co.uk

War Poet

Some of the famous war poets also feature on the new Casualty Records collection, too. Siegfried Sassoon joined the Sussex Yeomanry in 1914, but was transferred and commissioned in the 3rd Battalion (Special Reserve) of The Royal Welch Fusiliers as a second lieutenant in May 1915. In November, he was sent to join the 1st Battalion in France.

He was first wounded by a German sniper during a raid near Fontaine-les-Croisilles in April. His first casualty record appears on 27 April 1917. Recuperating back in England, Siegfried decided to make his anti-war stance known and his objections were read out in parliament.

On 13 July, not long after returning to the font line, Sassoon was wounded by 'friendly fire' near Arras. A British soldier shot him in the head mistaking him for a German soldier. It was another very lucky escape for a man who went on to become one of the major war poets of his generation.

Canadian heroes

The Casualty Records cover all British and Commonwealth troops who fought in World War One. For example, we find Private Shepherd of the Canadian Infantry, wounded in both 1916 and 1917.

The Canadians were involved in the major battle of Arras in 1917 and Private Shepherd is likely to have been wounded in the Battle of Vimy Ridge around this time, which was a major success for the Canadian Corps.

Casualty records for Private Sheperd of the Canadian Infantry, at TheGenealogist.co.uk

Using the records

The Casualty lists available at TheGenealogist.co.uk offer the family historian a full history of those servicemen who were wounded in the war. From famous war poets to the brave soldiers in the 'Pals' battalions, the shocking numbers of wounded servicemen are listed in complete, accurate detail. Information available in this collection includes:

  • the name of the injured serviceman
  • his regiment and rank
  • the date he was registered as a 'casualty'
  • and often his home town or place of enlistment.

These records also work with TheGenealogist's unique 'SmartSearch' feature, which allows you to link to the comprehensive range of other military records available on TheGenealogist. Many of the wounded servicemen received medals for their actions and with a few mouse clicks you can discover whether your ancestor received any commendations, such as in the Military Medals records recently added to the site.

The Casualty List records are now available to view for all Diamond Subscribers. To find out more about the 'First World War Wounded Collection' see the dedicated page at www.TheGenealogist.co.uk/ww1-wounded. There you will find photographs, stories, statistics and a free search facility.

The Piper of Loos

World War One affected people from all walks of life, many of whom were bravely wounded in the line of duty. Daniel Laidlaw, a career soldier from Little Swinton in Berwickshire, re-joined the army aged 40 as a Piper in the 7th Battalion, The King's Own Scottish Borderers, 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division.

At the Battle of Loos, troops of his Battalion were ordered by General Douglas Haig to attack the heavily fortified German positions in their sector. The Scottish troops faced by a thick cloud of chlorine gas were hesitating but Piper Laidlaw climbed out of the trench and under fire began playing his pipes to inspire the troops and they successfully resumed the attack. He was wounded in both legs but had carried on playing for as long as he could. His actions earned him the Victoria Cross and his casualty record can be found at TheGenealogist.co.uk.