The National Archives is hosting a 45-minute online workshop, designed to assist individuals in exploring their family history, with a specific focus on the Second World War.

This workshop gains particular significance as it offers access to a plethora of service personnel files, newly transferred from the Ministry of Defence to The National Archives, a first-of-its-kind initiative.

Event Details

Date: Saturday, 3rd February 2024. Time: 10:30 AM GMT. Venue: Online

Overview of the Workshop

Duration: 45 minutes. Ticketing: Mobile eTicket.

Types of Second World War Army Records in Family History Research

The Second World War generated a diverse range of army records, each type offering different insights into the lives of service personnel and military operations. Here are some of the key types of records:

  1. Personnel Records: These include service records, enlistment papers, and discharge documents. They provide personal details such as name, rank, service number, regiment, and dates of service. These records often contain information on awards, medals, injuries, and transfers between units.
  2. Operational Records: Operational records, such as war diaries and action reports, provide a day-to-day account of military operations. They offer insights into the experiences of units and regiments, detailing their movements, engagements, and the broader context of the war’s events.
  3. Prisoner of War Records: These records document the experiences of soldiers captured by enemy forces. They can include capture reports, lists of prisoners, and records of internment camps. These documents often provide a unique perspective on the conditions and challenges faced by prisoners during the war.
  4. Casualty Records: Casualty records list those who were wounded, killed, or missing in action. These records are essential for understanding the personal sacrifices and impact of the war on individual soldiers and their families.
  5. Medal Rolls and Honours Lists: These records detail the awards and honours bestowed upon service personnel. They provide information about the criteria for receiving specific medals and can help in understanding the recognition given for bravery and service.

Workshop Content and Expertise

Will Butler, the Head of Military Records at The National Archives, will guide attendees through the intricacies of various army records, including personnel files and operational records such as war diaries.

A highlight of the workshop is the live Q&A session, allowing participants to interact with a military records expert. This segment is designed to answer specific queries about accessing records or general questions regarding military history.

Series Context

This event is a part of “What’s Online,” a series initiated by The National Archives. The series aims to bring historical records and research methodologies to a wider audience, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of history.

Technical Specifications for Participants

The workshop will be streamed on Vimeo, compatible with various devices. However, for an enhanced experience, the use of a laptop or desktop computer is recommended. No Vimeo account is required to participate. Attendees will receive a reminder email with the joining link before the event. For detailed information on attending a Vimeo event, participants can refer to this guide: Vimeo Event Guide.

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  • World War 2 Workshop: The National Archives