Tag Archives: The National Archives

First World War records of service

This is portal page aims to bring together websites which provides information about people from Anglo-Caribbean countries who served in the First World War in the British army, navy, air forces and merchant navy. Continue reading

First World War Soldiers’ Documents

Findmypast has recently launched indexed images for people who served in the British army during the First World War. Read their blog for more information.

These service and pension records are held by The National Archives (UK) in two collections:

  1. Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’ (reference: WO 363). This collection comprises the main set of service papers for soldiers who served in the British army and were discharged between 1914 and 1921; there are some earlier papers. Unfortunately, 60% of these records were destroyed in the Second World War and the surving records are known as the ‘burnt documents’. There are papers for about 300 soldiers of the West India Regiment (most relate to discharges before 1914) but it seems that the rest of the records for soldiers of the West India Regiment and for the British West Indies Regiment were destroyed.
  2. Soldiers’ Documents from Pension Claims, First World War (reference: WO 364). This collection is commonly known as the ‘unburnt documents’ and comprises service papers and other records for soldiers who discharged mostly between 1913 and 1921 through length of service or because of medical discharges. These include details for soldiers discharged from the West India Regiment, the British West Indies Regiment and of West Indians who served in the more familiar British regiments. You will find papers for many Jamaicans in the British West Indies Regiment who were discharged in 1916 suffering the effects of the cold (frostbite). They were travelling to Alexandria, Egypt aboard the SS Verdala and were equipped with tropical clothing. However, they needed to travel in convoy and were diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia during the winter!

The two collections have been available online on Ancestry in partnership with The National Archives for a few years but I did find some new information and records. Continue reading

Caribbean contribution in the First World War

This is an introduction to a number of short blogs on sources for researching Caribbean service personnel in the First World War.Bahamas enlistment poster from wikicommons

At the outbreak of the First World War there were Caribbean and people of Caribbean descent already serving in the British army in British regiments and the West India Regiment, the Royal Navy and the merchant navy.

In the Caribbean the war was seen by many as a ‘white-man’s war’ or a European war and not their problem. But many wanted to serve to protect the Motherland and to fight as equals. Caribbeans living in Britain enlisted locally; people living in the Caribbean at first needed to travel to Britain to enlist. In Barbados and Trinidad the public arranged for citizens’ contingents to travel to the UK – these were ‘white’ middle-class men – planters, merchants, public servants and clerks, though correspondence with the Colonial Office suggests many were not pure-European. Many black men also made their way to Britain but the War Office resisted recruiting black Caribbeans and even suggesting repatriating some back to the Caribbean. Continue reading

Reginald Clifton Grannum, Colonial Civil Servant, 1872-1946

[This article was originally posted on The National Archives wiki Your Archives (now archived)]

Reginald Clifton GrannumReginald Clifton Grannum, is my paternal great-grandfather.

Born: 17 April 1872, St Michael, Barbados, to Edward Thomas Grannum and Mary Elizabeth Armstrong, nee Jordan

Married:

  • Alice Edith Simpson (c.1876 – 13 March 1900), married 7 November 1896, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada – no children
  • Ada Laura Austin (18 Sept 1872 – 25 April 1966), married 16 March 1903, Glastonbury, Somerset – 4 children
    • Clifton Winnington Grannum (1906-1940)
    • Dorothy Edmee Grannum (1907-1991)
    • Reginald Anthony Grannum (1911-?)
    • Joyce Yvonne Grannum (1914-?)

Died: 7 January 1946, St Helier, Jersey

A case study using Colonial Office records held at the National Archives

Reginald Clifton Grannum was a career colonial civil servant serving in a number of colonies in the Caribbean and Africa between 1892 and 1930. Because he was in the colonial civil service during the 19th century it is possible to discover a wealth of information about his life and career and many clues leading to information about his family.

To find out more about his life I used five main sources:

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Don’t believe everything you read: story of Winston Churchill Millington, DCM

I am doing some research on Caribbeans who served in the First World War for a talk in October. I want to include some case studies for people who received gallantry awards. I ran an internet search and found a lot of websites mentioning a Winston Churchill Millington. The websites say he served in the British West Indies Regiment (BWIR) in Egypt and Palestine and received a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM). Many of the web sites include a photograph of him and one links to a photograph on Flickr with him receiving the medal from Major-General Chaytor.

I was immediately suspicious because most of the websites said more-or-less the same thing and none provided more detailed information such as battalion in the BWIR, regimental number and date of announcement of the award in the London Gazette.

There is a habit for websites to repeat information without first verifying it and I hoped to find out more.

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New dataset: tithe apportionments

Today I received TheGenealogist’s latest newsletter and they have just launched a new dataset: an index and images to the Tithe Apportionments for England and Wales held by the National Archives in the collection IR 29. This is a survey of all landowners and occupiers who held land and who were liable to pay tithe for the upkeep of the parish church. The apportionments and accompanying maps (in IR 30) were established under the Tithe Commutation Act 1836 aimed to change payments of tithe (a tax to support the church) from in-kind to money in the form of tithe rentcharge. These tithe apportionments were created to record liability to pay tithe rentcharge. The National Archives has produced a short guide to these and associated records.

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