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The database is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet: it is a large file and may take a little time to load, depending on your connection.

The database

In general there is one entry for each known serviceman, showing the first and last regiments in which he served during the war. However, a few men had two (or more) separate periods of service during the war (ie. they were discharged from the army due to age, ill-health, etc, but later re-enlisted) - these are shown as multiple entries for the sake of clarity.


Most of the database is self-explanatory, but here are some brief details for those unfamiliar with First World War service records. 


Frequently occuring abbreviations include:

A. E. Coy.

H.S.E. Coy.

Agr. Coy. 

R.C. Coy.








Area Employment Company (Labour Corps)

Home Service Employment Company (Labour Corps)

Agricultural Company (Labour Corps)

Road Construction Company (Royal Engineers)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission


Gunshot wound - this term included shrapnel as well as bullet wounds. (The abbreviation S.W. is also used for shrapnel wounds.)

Officer Training Corps

Medal card

Silver War Badge, awarded to those discharged from the Army due to wounds or illness. It was worn with civilian clothes to show that a man was no longer able to serve.

Attestation and mobilisation

War was declared on 4 August 1914 and the part-time Territorials as well as reservists and members of the Special Reserve were called up immediately. Voluntary recruitment began on 7 August and almost half a million men enlisted in two months, but over time the number of volunteers decreased and the Group Scheme (also known as the Derby Scheme) was introduced on 16 October 1915 in an attempt to avoid conscription. This called on men aged 18-41 either to volunteer for imediate service as before or to attest their willingness to serve when called upon: those who attested for deferred service were placed in one of 46 age groups and issued with an armband to wear on their civilian clothes until mobilisation. The scheme ran until 15 December 1915, but less than half those eligible joined the scheme and conscription was finally introduced for single men on 2 March 1916 and for married men in May 1916. Those who had enlisted under the Group Scheme were mobilised from March 1916 onwards. In the later part of the war young men were called up to attest shortly before their 18th birthday and usually mobilised shortly afterwards.

Apart from service and pension records, few documents include a man's date of attestation or mobilisation. The main exception is the Silver War Badge list, while military hospital records usually state the length of a man's service. Newspaper obituaries and other articles may give this information, and in some cases a man's initial service number can be used to infer at least an approximate date of attestation due to the use of sequential numbering in many regiments. (For original members of the Manchester “Pals” battalions, which were recruited in a very short space of time, this can be accurate to the day.) Inferred dates are shown in italics in the database.


At the outbreak of war, the minimum age for enlisting was 18 (or 17 for Territorial units) and no recruits were supposed to go overseas until they were 19. The maximum age for recruits was 38, although former servicemen were accepted up to the age of 45. However, no proof of age was needed, and there are numerous examples of underage and overage enlistment.


The age shown on the database at attestation is based as far as possible on baptismal records and civil birth registration. Underage enlistments and other significant differences between a man's true age and that stated on his service record are asterisked and/or indicated in the "Notes" column.

Initial/final regiments

Until the introduction of conscription, volunteers could generally choose the regiment in which they enlisted: this was not the case after February 1916. If a man completed his training with one regiment but was transferred to another before being drafted overseas, the first regiment is not shown on his medal card and may not therefore be reflected in the database if no other source has survived. 


After absence from the front lines for a period of time due to injury or illness, it was not uncommon for a man to be transferred to a regiment in need of reinforcements instead of returning to his previous unit. Those whose health or fitness had declined (but who were still apt for service) were frequently transferred to the Labour Corps, which mainly operated away from the front lines. 


Where full service records have not survived, the main sources for a date of discharge or demobilisation are pension and Silver War Badge records. Consequently a disproportionate number of entries under this heading refer to men who were either discharged early from the army (usually on medical grounds, but occasionally for other reasons) or received some kind of disablity pension on demobilisation. This ranged from a short-term award until a man recovered from wounds or illness to a lifetime pension for the permanently disabled.


After the end of the war, volunteers and conscripts with scarce or urgently-needed industrial skills (such as miners) were the first to be demobilised, followed progressively by the others from the longest-serving to the most recent. Most had returned to civilian life by the end of 1919. 


Medal card

Medal card

In theory, a medal card (or medal roll index card) exists for each man who served overseas: it shows his service number(s) and the regiment(s) with which he served. For those who went overseas before the end of 1915 the date of entry into a theatre of war is also shown. It gives little or no other identifying details except occasionally an annotation with date of death, a cross-reference to the Silver War Badge list, or - very rarely - an address. If no medal card has been found for a man known to have served during World War I, barring error on my part (always possible!) there are three likely reasons:

  • The original card has been lost, is illegible or badly misspelled and/or there is an error in the indexing.

  • The man served under an alias.

  • The man was engaged throughout the war on home service and did not go overseas.

Home service

Home service

Throughout the war a part of the army was stationed in the UK: this affected not just men in training but also those engaged in home defence, instruction, administration and certain other duties. While most men went overseas after training, a minority spent all their wartime service in Britain or Ireland, with certain regiments affected more than others. These included:

  • Royal Garrison Artillery 

  • Royal Engineers

  • Territorial cyclist battalions (later reorganised as the Army Cyclist Corps)

  • Royal Army Medical Corps (eg. personnel serving in military hospitals in the UK)

  • Agricultural and some other companies of the Labour Corps

  • Military Police

  • Army Pay Corps

The Royal Defence Corps, made up of men too old or unfit for overseas service, only operated with the UK.

Who is missing?

The database certainly does not include every World War I serviceman from the district. Some names are included because they appear on a roll of honour or other list, but nothing more is known about them. Other local men with common names may well have served, but without corroboratory information it is impossible  to prove it. If you know of someone who ought to be included, or can supply missing details/corrections for anyone in the database, please contact me so I can add them to this tribute.


Details for Heaton Norris/Norris Bank and Reddish are less complete than for Heaton Chapel, Heaton Moor and Heaton Mersey. The current pandemic means that I am unable to use the invaluable resources of Stockport Local Heritage Library, so for the time being I am limited to online sources and notes I took on previous visits.

I have a little additional information about some of the men in the database which I will happily share free of charge. If you are interested in more extensive family research, please consider my professional genealogy research service.

Pile Of Books

Our family genealogy website

angloswiss genealogy


My professional research service

Relatively Speaking

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