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Tracing military records

In 2003 Surrey History Centre received the military records of the Queens Royal Surrey Regiment and predecessors from the Regimental Museum at Clandon Park, now held under references QRWSESR and QRS. The records hold a wealth of information about the regiments and there is a separate guide to assist navigating the catalogue. The regimental records do not include information on every soldier who served with the regiments.  However, they do include many sources which give names of individuals and also contain an enormous collection of photographs many of which are captioned with names.

We also hold Queen's Royal (West Surrey) and East Surrey Regiments Recruitment District registers, 1908 - 1933 (SHC ref 2496), nominal rolls for officers of the Queen's Royal (West Surrey) and East Surrey Regiments, 1914 - 1919 (SHC ref 8227) and registers of enlistments, discharges and transfers for the Queen's Royal (West Surrey) and East Surrey Regiments, 1920 - 1958 (SHC ref 7791).  The early enlistment registers also record any previous service, some dating back to 1894.

Surrey History Centre does not hold any soldiers' service papers. The surviving papers, prior to 1921, can be found at The National Archives or on the Findmypast (up to 1913) or Ancestry (1914-1918) websites.

Here, we also outline some of the resources you may find helpful if you are trying to track down your ancestor's service record.

Other military records at Surrey History Centre

Surrey History Centre holds a large number of records relating to the county's involvement in conflicts and other military activities, including the English Civil War, Crimean War, later nineteenth century defence measures, the Boer War and the First World War. A vast amount of material is also held relating to both civilian and military activities in Surrey during the Second World War, including the Civil Defence Services and Home Guard. It is always best in the first instance to use our online search facilities, the Collections Catalogue, Archives Index and the Exploring Surrey's Past website to search for records. However, if you cannot find what you are looking for you are welcome to contact us and we will tell you what sources we hold relating to your particular research interest.

It is worth noting that early records relating to military activity in the county may be hidden within the archives. For example, records relating to the raising of the local militia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries survive in the Loseley Manuscripts (SHC refs LM/- and 6729/-), as well as in some Surrey parish records.

A small collection of archive film footage of Surrey during the First and Second World Wars and the Surrey regiments is available for viewing in our public searchroom; see our list of film at Surrey History Centre.

Online resources

  • Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment enlistment registers 1920-1946 (7791/1/1/1-40); Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment transfers in registers 1939-1947 (7791/1/2/1-23); Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment World War II Honours Indexes [1939]-1946 (7791/1/4/1-3); Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment nominal rolls of officers 1914-1918 (8227/1/1-16); East Surrey Regiment enlistment registers 1920-1946 (7791/2/1/1-22); East Surrey Regiment transfers in registers 1924-1946 (7991/2/2/1-15); East Surrey Regiment World War II Honours Indexes [1939]-1946 (7791/2/5/1-2); East Surrey Regiment nominal rolls of officers 1914-1919 (8227/2/1-12); and 21st-24th Battalions the London Regiment nominal rolls of officers 1914-1918 (8227/3/1-4) are available to search and view online on Ancestry.co.uk.  Ancestry can be used free of charge in Surrey Libraries and at Surrey History Centre. 
  • The National Archives online records see the army, navy, marines, merchant navy and medals categories.
  • The family history website Ancestry can be used free of charge in Surrey Libraries and at Surrey History Centre, and includes The National Archives' indexes of the British Army World War One service records, medal rolls and pensions and Royal Naval Division Casualties.
  • The Forces War Records website is available to use free of charge at Surrey History Centre on a kiosk terminal.
  • The Battalion War Diaries for the Queen's Royal West Surrey and East Surrey Regiments, 1914 -1918, have been digitised and are now available online on the website of the Queen's Royal Surrey Regimental Museum.
  • The Exploring Surrey's Past website allows many of the collections at Surrey History Centre to be searched. The facility can also be used to find out more about the military history and archaeology of the county through the Historic Environment Record (HER) and records from a number of partner museums and local history organisations.
  • The Commonwealth War Graves Commission provides an online search facility for the Debt of Honour Register, the Commission's database listing the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations worldwide. The register can also be searched for details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action in the Second World War.

Files available to download

  • Guide to military records at Surrey History Centre (539.5 KB)
    A guide to sources at Surrey History Centre for tracing military ancestors in the Surrey regiments, with details of where else to look for information relating to people who served in all branches of the Armed Services.

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