The British Army

The British Army retains a well deserved reputation for excellence. History continues to be made by the men and women that serve in its ranks and you can follow the news and their stories.

Blacker's Boys would not have been possible without the assistance of the team at the Royal Irish Fusiliers Regimental Museum. It is located on the historic Mall in Armagh and is well worth a visit.

Researching the Service Record of a Soldier of the First World War

  • Most of the service records of those who served during the First World War were destroyed during bombing raids in 1940. Those records that are available are held at The National Archives at Kew, which provides very good guides on researching officers and soldiers records.

  • One of the best on-line resources for researching the British Army of the First World War is The Long, Long Trail. This superb website contains authoritative information on many aspects of the war and its pages on researching soldiers' records are particularly useful.

  • The Western Front Association aims to "educate the public in the history of The Great War with particular reference to the Western Front".

  • Two web forums are worth visiting: The first is the Great War Forum whose members can answer almost any query on any subject from the axles of horse drawn wagons, to the hobnails used on boots, to the design and use of trench mortars and everything in between. The second is the British Medals Forum, which has a section dealing specifically with the First World War.

  • Those researching relatives from Northern Ireland, particularly from Belfast should look at these websites: Great War Belfast Clippings, which contains lists of articles and pictures gleaned from Belfast newspapers from the Great War period; Belfast War Graves, which lists photographs taken of British Servicemen gravestones in cemeteries in the Greater Belfast area; and Belfast Presbyterians in the Great War (although still under development, it is worth examining - it commemorates the contribution made by Belfast Presbyterians in the Great War). The War Dead of North Down and Ards lists the dead from both World Wars from that part of Northern Ireland; and Inst in the Great War commemorates the fallen who attended the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.

  • Two websites provide a wealth of information about Ireland's two Special Reserve Regiments of Cavalry: The North Irish Horse website includes information on the five North Irish Horse squadrons sent to France between 1914 and 1916; the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons (Service Squadron), which joined the North Irish Horse in 1916; V Corps (North Irish Horse) Cyclist Battalion and the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers). The South Irish Horse website provides an equally broad range of articles about that regiment and its predecessor, the South of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry.

  • Other Irish Regiments that have an online presence include The Royal Irish Regiment, The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), The Royal Munster Fusiliers, and The Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

  • For relatives of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has a new and vastly improved search facility.

  • Nick Metcalfe, the author of Blacker's Boys, is happy to assist if you need help researching the First World War service of a soldier of Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers): Contact Nick Metcalfe.

Regimental Motto
("Faugh-A-Ballagh" - "Clear The Way")

Army Form B104-82

Please click on image for a larger view.

Resources for Writers

  • The publication of Blacker's Boys has been made possible by WRITERSWORLD.
  • This website was designed by Christine Reed.
  • Both are highly recommended to anyone with a similar project in mind.

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