Thursday, August 29, 2013

British War Wills Digitized and Going Online

clip from Fleetwood will
Wills from more than 230,000 British soldiers who died during World War I are being digitized and made available online.  Soldiers kept the wills in their pocket service books; the wills and other documents in the books are being digitized.  Plans are to digitize all the World War I wills in time for the 2014 centenary of the war.  These wills are part of a larger project to digitize all 41 million British war wills, from the Boer War to the Falklands War, and make them publicly available.

The story is on BBC and Huffington Post, among other sites.  The news organizations were given access to the first wills to be placed online.  BBC has "clips" of five wills, among them that of Mick Fleetwood's grandfather, who died in 1915 of dysentery.  Huffington Post has images of three complete wills.

The link in the BBC story is incorrect (maybe they'll correct it at some point).  The correct URL for the database is, as shown in the Huffington Post story.  When you find a will you're interested in, you add it to your basket.  The cost for copies of the wills appears to be £6 each.

One disadvantage to the search is that you are required to enter a year.  If you don't know the year, I guess you can always search one year at a time.  On the other hand, it says very clearly at the top of the search page (both basic and advanced) that they want your feedback.  Guess what I'll be mentioning?

1 comment:

  1. Regarding the link in the BBC article, as of August 30, it has been corrected.


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