Welcome to Perth & Kinross Remembers First World War Resources pages. Are you looking to find out more about your relatives and the role they played in the Great War, or to learn about the impact of the war on your local community? If so, we can help!

We have drawn together some of the most useful resources to help you on your research journey. They all relate to the experiences of people from Perth & Kinross who served in the armed forces or auxiliary services, whether serving at home or overseas. They also contain information about the history of the First World War in general, including the contributions of local communities and the impact it had on them.

Local Resources

On this page, you will find information about the First World War resources we hold in Culture Perth and Kinross’ Archive, Museum and Local & Family History Services. To help widen your research we have also included links to other local organisations which hold First World War research collections.

The Perth & Kinross Archive First World War Resource Guide lists a wide range of archival material such as council minutes, correspondence, photograph albums and postcards, which give an insight into the impact of the war on Perth & Kinross. You can download the Perth & Kinross Archive First World War Resource Guide here. (link opens a Pdf)

The Perth & Kinross Local and Family History First World War Resources Guide lists printed material such as rolls of honour, local newspapers published during the 1914-1918 period, the histories of local regiments, including the Black Watch, and information on other local organisations to help widen your research. You can download the Local and Family History First World War Resources Guide here. (link opens a Pdf)

The Perth Museum and Art Gallery First World War Resources Guide describes a variety of First World War-related collections, including physical objects, photograph albums and letters.

Other Local Organisations with First World War Collections

Located in Balhousie Castle, the ancestral home of the Black Watch, the Black Watch Castle and Museum is home to the history of the regiment from its formation in 1739 to its amalgamation in 2006 with the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The Black Watch Museum Archive is also housed in Balhousie Castle, further details are available on the website.

The Dunkeld Community Archive is home to the regimental and photographic records of the Scottish Horse Regiment, who were based in the local area.

Dundee City Archives house the records of Dundee City Council and its predecessors as well as records of local businesses, societies and families.

The Dundee Local History Centre has a wide-ranging collection relating to the City of Dundee and surrounding areas. The collections include prints, photographs, postcards, maps and plans.

Home to 500 years of Fife’s history, Fife Archives house Electoral Rolls, School Records, Valuation Rolls and much more.

ON Fife Local and Family History has extensive collections in several libraries across Fife. Collections include historical newspapers, gazettes, and indexed maps.

If you would like to know more about the project, have any questions about the Perth & Kinross First World War Legacy Collection or would like to deposit some material with us, please get in touch with Perth & Kinross Archive. You can contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or telephone 01738 477 022.

National Resources

Below, you will find information about the most useful Resources for Researching your First World War Ancestry, including statutory, military and other records that will help you build a biography of your ancestors. The records are briefly described, with suggestions for how you might wish to use them in your research and details about how to access them.

First World War Research Resources – National Resources


The centenary of the First World War has inspired people to begin searching for ancestors who were involved in the war effort. This resources page is designed to outline some of the main resources which can help you find out more about your family in the Great War.

Try talking to family members or searching at home for any personal history items – documents, photographs, medals or objects. These might provide some clues but even if you only have a name it’s possible to try searching! Place of birth, next of kin, any census details or regiment details will be most helpful and can narrow your search.

A large amount of information is available online but there are still some resources which will require a personal visit or enquiry.

Scottish National War Memorial (SNWM)

The Scottish National War Memorial was opened after the Great War in Edinburgh Castle as the National War Memorial for all of Scotland. Within the building, it contains Rolls of Honour of the war dead who were either from Scotland or who served in Scottish units. A typical entry will give a full name, battalion and regiment or ship, service number and date and theatre of death. In addition, the entry might include the place of birth, place of enlistment of the name of the town where they lived. These Rolls of Honour are now available to search online using the name, army number, date or month of death.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)

The Commission is responsible for recording and maintaining the war graves and memorials to the missing of the British and Commonwealth forces who died during the World Wars. As well as providing details of the date of death and place of commemoration. Some records do also include biographical details submitted by the next of kin. The Commission in recent years has included images of the original documents relating to the burial of individuals. This additional detail can be important as after the war many of the deceased were moved from temporary graves to the permanent ones we see today. Often these men were removed from a grave on the battlefield and so would be buried close to the spot where they were killed. The records can be searched in a free database online. Search by name, year of death or country; regiment or army number.

International Red Cross Prisoner of War records

Recently the Red Cross created a searchable database online of the records it holds for First World War Prisoners of War, this title is a bit misleading as the records relate to inquiries about people who had been listed as missing not all of which turned out to be prisoners but had been killed. This is a particularly important collection and it is always worth searching their holdings to see if the person you are looking for is listed. Their records often included details such as Next of Kin and home address; the company and Battalion they served with; the date they went missing.  If they were a prisoner you can find a location of their capture and the nature of any wounds sustained. Sometimes an individual will appear on several lists as they move from one camp or hospital to another. It is always worth checking these records if you are researching someone who was killed in action as enquiries were lodged with the Red Cross if it had not been established that a person had been killed.

Medal Index Cards

The medal records are often a good starting point as they are one of the most complete collections of records for the Great War Period. For the Army, there are the Medal Index Cards which show medal entitlement and regiments served with and there are Medal Rolls. These rolls usually show which Battalions of a regiment the individual served in, and in some cases the period they served with the battalions. Both these resources give a wealth of information and can be used as a starting point for building up a picture of someone’s service.

Campaign Medal Rolls

These are held at the National Archives (Kew) with the reference WO329. You can also access these online via  (£) Ancestry (Free in Perth and Kinross Libraries)

Army Service Records

All soldiers would have had a Service Record. These are employment records and would record all aspects of a soldier’s life from the time they were enlisted to the point when they were discharged – name, age, place of birth, occupation and a brief personal description. Only about 40% of Service Records survived the Blitz of World War II.

  • Available online via (£) Ancestry (free in Perth and Kinross Libraries)
  • Available on microfilm at the National Archives in Kew
  • Records for people who remained within the army beyond 1922 are still held by the Ministry of Defence, information on their services
  • service records for the Guards regiments (Scots, Coldstream, Grenadier, Irish or Welsh) are held at Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk London SW1E 6HQ. The application must be written, and fees may be applied.
  • Service records for soldiers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are held by their own countries national archives.

Pension records

A soldier would only have a Pension record if he were discharged from the Army and had been awarded a pension for his service. However, if you find one then this gives you all the information you need to work out where they served and which campaigns and battles they took part in. The battles are not listed within these files, but the file does tell you the exact date someone joined a unit and the date they left. This then means you can study the movements of that unit and see what they were doing. These files can also indicate wounds sustained in action and this sort of information can be used to identify an action or battle.

  • Available online via (£) Ancestry (free in Perth and Kinross Libraries)
  • Available on microfilm at the National Archives in Kew

Army Officers’ Service Records

These mainly give information on pay and pensions but if an officer was missing in action it will include statements from those who saw him last on the battlefield.

Women’s Service Records

Women could join the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) between 1917 and 1920. The WAAC then became Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC) in April 1918 and was disbanded in September 1921.

British Army Nurses

Records are held at the National Archives and cover those who served in Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service (Reserve) and the Territorial Force Nursing Service. These records cover the Great War and there are no records after 1939.

Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Nurses

VAD nurses volunteered and trained in first aid and nursing to work in auxiliary hospitals at home and abroad. The British Red Cross holds these records and has begun digitising these for searching online.

War Diaries

Each army unit had to keep a daily diary of its activities; these are known as War Diaries. The diaries give a day by day account of what the unit is doing and where they are. They sometimes include details of the weather and give map references or the names of trenches that the unit is manning. Many of the diaries also include things like extracts from maps or copies of orders for attacks or post-action reports. The diary can be used to build up a full picture of where a person served and what sort of actions they were involved in. If a man was wounded or killed and the date is known, then a look through the appropriate diary will reveal exactly there his unit was at that time.

  • War diaries are held at the National Archives ref WO 95
  • Available online via (£) Ancestry (free in Perth and Kinross Libraries)
  • Some can be found on the (£) Discovery section on the National Archives website –
  • Regimental museums will have copies and can offer transcripts see for a list of regimental museums

Soldier’s Wills

Each soldier was asked to complete the page within their Pay Book which was a pre-printed Will form. These wills were only removed from the book after the soldier’s death and this probably explains why some are missing because many of the soldiers remains could not be found. The Wills themselves usually only consist of a couple of lines stating who they are leaving their effects to, but they are written by the soldiers themselves and signed by them, so are poignant documents written by the deceased. Some soldiers had more items to leave loved ones, so on odd occasions you will find a Will in the form of a letter, but these are much rarer.

Military Tribunals

Scotland’s People also have a partial collection of Military Tribunal records. These are the tribunal records of people who were important to the war effort at home and therefore could not be conscripted into the Armed Forces. Many of the people who were exempt would later be called up as the parameters of exemption were changed during the course of the war.

Naval Service Records and Royal Air Force

There are separate groups of records for people who served with the Royal Navy. They tend to be lists of what medals the individual qualified for, but do not give theatre of war or vessel for the most part. They do include the Service Number that Ratings were issued. There is not a separate group of medal records for the Royal Air Force. The R.A.F was formed on the 1st of April 1918 by combining the Royal Flying Corps (Army) and the Royal Naval Air Service (Navy). Therefore, if someone was serving with either of these units prior to April 1918 there should be some reference to them in the above groups of records. If they joined after this date, then it is a case of looking up their service file and working out where they served.

Like the Army Records, these records cover the whole period of service and include the exact dates of transfer from one establishment to the next. In the Navy this tends to be between shore bases and ships and with the wealth of information online about ships it is usually straightforward to find images of each ship and where they were operating during the period. With RAF records it is the squadron numbers which are important and by researching these you can build up a picture of where someone served. Both sets of records indicate the qualifications and jobs that the person did within each service. Medal entitlements are often recorded on the records.

Army Lists

The War Office published a list of all officers every month giving the date the officer was commissioned, name, rank and unit. A full set is held at the National Archives.

The London Gazette

All medal awards and officer’s promotion were published the official government journal, The London Gazette. You can search this online at

Statutory Records and Scotland’s People

The ScotlandsPeople website is the official Scottish Government site for searching government records and archives.  It is used by hundreds of thousands of people each year to apply for copies of official certificates and to research family history, biography, local history and social history.  In the site you have access to the statutory registers of births, marriages, deaths, and so on; census returns; church records; valuation rolls; and legal records from Scotland’s courts of law.

National Records of Scotland  The ScotlandsPeople site is maintained by the National Records of Scotland, a non-ministerial department of the Scottish Government. Their purpose is to collect, preserve and produce information about Scotland’s people and history and make it available to inform current and future generations. Scotland’s People were established on 1 April 2011, following the merger of the General Register Office for Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland. The National Records of Scotland is the official repository for historical records of the Church of Scotland and also keeps the Old Parish Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials before 1855. On Scotland’s People site, you have access to the Old Parish Registers and the registers of other Presbyterian congregations which united with the Church of Scotland at various times.

Statutory Records of Birth, Marriage and Death.

These documents often provide the information needed to identify which Unit or branch of the Armed Forces someone served with, particularly if they have a common name and no service records have survived.

It is useful to check Marriage records and Birth records. If someone was married at the time they were in uniform then their unit and often their civilian occupation was recorded on the certificate. For soldiers, often their battalion number was included and, in many cases, their regimental number as well. Likewise, if they had a child during the war, then the parent’s occupations are once again recorded with the same level of detail.

Death records are only of use if the service person was killed, as they will have a certificate listed under Minor Records, Service Returns. However, these certificates do not give any more details than that recorded by the Scottish National War Memorial or the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. However, the certificate will record their age, which is something only occasionally recorded with the CWGC.

  • This is a pay as you go style website which needs you to create a user profile and then allows you to purchase credits in order to release documents you wish to view. Once seen you do not have to pay again. It is possible to save searches and all the documents you pay for can be downloaded as well as stored in your online account.

1911 Census

You can find all the census returns from 1841 through to 1911 on Scotland’s People. The 1911 census is the only one that is not available on other family history websites. It can only be accessed through Scotland’s People. The census of 1911, being the census closest to the First World War, can help locate your ancestor prior to their service or death in the conflict.

  • This is a pay as you go style website which requires a user profile and then allows you to purchase credits in order to release documents you wish to view. Once seen you do not have to pay again. It is possible to save searches and all the documents you pay for can be downloaded as well as stored in your online account.

Rolls of Honour

The National Roll of Honour was published in 1919 in 14 volumes covering the entire country. There are short entries of biographical material included but, as a subscription charge was required, it is not a comprehensive work. Many Rolls of Honour were published in local newspapers and these can be accessed through local library services and family history or heritage sites.

Trench Maps

The National Library of Scotland presents scanned images of all the maps held by NLS within the main two series of trench maps: GSGS 2742 (1:20,000) and GSGS 3062 (1:10,000), as well as NLS holdings of all larger-scale trench maps of the Western Front too. It should be stressed that the NLS collection is very incomplete, and much more comprehensive collections can be found within The National Archives and the Imperial War Museum. One of the nice features of this collection is that part of the collection is georeferenced and therefore you can also view what exists in the same location today. This is an asset when undertaking a trip to the former battlefield. Using War Diaries in conjunction with these maps it is sometimes possible to stand within a few yards of where a relative’s unit was during an action

Other useful sites

Above are listed the main websites where we would tend to conduct an initial search for information, however, there are many other great sites which contain good resources:

The Long, Long Trail where you can find out more about individual units, the soldier’s experience and how to understand the information on Medal Index Cards etc.

The Great War Forum covers all aspects of the war and is free to join. Once you become a member you can post questions and also search the site.

The Red Cross Archive has a database of all those who worked for them during the war including nursing staff.

Scottish Military Research

The Scottish Military Research Group is a registered charity with the purpose of educating and informing the public about how to research their Scottish military ancestors.

The Imperial War Museum

Forces War Records

Forces War Records is a UK military genealogy specialist website With more than 25 Million Commonwealth military records and military history experts they are a starting point for UK military history research. They have not only transcribed millions of records but significantly enhanced the information they hold to help you understand military acronyms and expand on what you might learn alone.


Within the libraries in Perth and Kinross, all visitors can get free access to the worldwide subscription to Ancestry. This is a vast website with many useful records. For those interested in British Service Personnel there are a whole range of useful records, however, there are also a large number of records for people who served in the Armed Forces of other nations.

The UK, World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920 Find your heroes and veterans from the Great War in this collection of medal and award rolls.

The UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

This database contains information extracted from 81 volumes of soldiers that died in World War I. It includes over 703,000 individuals. The information listed may include the name of soldier, birthplace, enlistment place, residence, number, decoration, rank, regiment, battalion, type of casualty, death date, death place, and theatre of war served in.

The UK, British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920

This database contains the Medal Rolls Index or Medal Index Cards. The collection currently contains approximately 4.8 million people, which is nearly all of the total collection. The records can be searched by first and last name and Corps, Unit or Regiment. These cards were created by the Army Medal Office (AMO) of the United Kingdom in Droitwich near the close of World War I (WWI).

The UK, British Army World War I Pension Records 1914-1920

This database contains service records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who were discharged from the Army and claimed disability pensions for service in WWI. These were also men who did not re-enlist in the Army prior to World War II. The type of information contained in these records includes the name of solider, age, birthplace, occupation, marital status, and regiment number.

Online Resources

we have drawn together a variety of useful websites for researching the First World War worldwide. Some of the sites contain record indexes and transcriptions, others contain information about organisations which were involved with particular aspects of the war or support its history and heritage. There are also many websites which contain interesting information and research undertaken by personal researchers and historical groups – this is just a selection of some of our favourites!

Getting Started

BBC guide to Researching Military RecordsA guide for those at the beginning of their First World War family history research.

BBC history pages about the First World WarCollection of resources from across BBC including videos and articles on all aspects of the First World War.

The National Archives “Looking for a Person” research guidance: Webpage listing all National Archives First World war guides on navigating and researching the available military records.

The Long, Long Trail: For researching a soldier, battles, regiments, medals, and army life.

Online Records

The National Archives:  The National Archives Online Records including Army and Conscription, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Merchant Navy, Medals, Unit War Diaries.

Free BMD: For births, marriages and deaths of soldiers and their families.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission: For military and civilian war dead and cemeteries.

Scarletfinders: Resource for information about British military nurses and Voluntary Aid Detachments.

British Red Cross First World War: for researching the personnel records of those that worked home and broad with the Red Cross and Voluntary Aid Detachments during the First World War.

British Newspaper Archive: Subscription service with access to a wide range local and national newspapers, allowing for an insight into attitudes and opinions of people from the 1914-18 period.

The Gazette: Online access to information of public importance. Search for the appointments of officers, military medals, distinguished conduct medals and mentions in despatches.

The Genealogist: For Prisoners of War and casualty lists.

Great War Forum For information of the impact of the First World War on the home front (home units, drill halls, UKPOW camps), badges, women in the Great War.

War Memorials

War Memorials Archive:  This Imperial War Museum Resource contains historical details of war memorials.

War Memorials OnlineProject recording the condition of war memorials. You can upload photographs, check location and contribute the condition records of war memorials local to you.

Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Database with information on Scottish architects, some of whom built or designed war memorials across the country.

Overseas resources

National Archives of Australia:  For more information on the war service records and how to access them.

Australian War Memorial:  Information about researching a person, a regiment and names on the Roll of Honour.

Library and Archives Canada: Information and personnel files on the Canadian Expeditionary Force as well as guidance on how to read military records.

Canadian Virtual War Memorial: Registry to honour and remember the sacrifices of those who lost their lives in all conflicts, including the First World War.