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Jamie and Sue's Website

Guide to Terms Used

GWGC. – Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

A non-profit organisation started by Royal Charter in 1917 to commemorate the fallen in the great war. The CWGC currently look after the graves and memorials of 1,700,000 soldiers killed in the first and second world wars.

SDGW – Soldiers Died in the Great War.

In 1921 His Majesty’s Stationery Office published, on behalf of and by authority of the War Office, two lists of those who died during the Great War. The first list contained 42,000 officers and the second 700,000 other ranks that died.

Burnt Records

By the end of the war in 1918, more than seven million men and women had seen service in the British army. Unfortunately, more than half of their service records were destroyed in September 1940, when a German bombing raid struck the War Office repository in Arnside Street, London. However, an estimated 2.8 million service records survived the bombing or were reconstructed from the records of the Ministry of Pensions. These are known as the burnt and unburnt records collections.
This means that there is a roughly 40% chance of finding the service record of a soldier who was discharged at some time between 1914 and 1920.

Medal Rolls

A card index compiled by the Army Medal Office towards the end of the Great War. This index contains over 4,800,000 records of soldiers who were eligible for campaign medals from this war.

Victory Medal

The Victory Medal 1914-1919 was authorised in 1919 and was awarded to all eligible personnel who served on the establishment of a unit in an operational theatre.

Victory Medal

British Medal

The British War Medal 1914-1920, authorised in 1919, was awarded to eligible service personnel and civilians. Qualification for the award varied slightly according to service. The basic requirement for army personnel and civilians was that they either entered a theatre of war, or rendered approved service overseas between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. Service in Russia in 1919 and 1920 also qualified for the award.

British War Medal

1915 Star

Called the 1915 star in the enclosed biographies this was the name on the medal rolls used to describe two medals.

1914 Star

Instituted in 1917 for service ashore in France and Flanders between 5 August and 22 November 1914. In 1919 a clasp bearing the above dates was authorised and given to those individuals who had actually been under fire between the prescribed dates.

1914 Star

1914/1915 Star

Authorised in 1918, the 1914/15 Star was awarded to those individuals who saw service in France and Flanders from 23 November 1914 to 31 December 1915, and to those individuals who saw service in any other operational theatre from 5 August 1914 to 31 December 1915.

1914 - 1915 Star

For information about the composition of a typical infantry battalion please click here