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British Army in World War I

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British Army in World War I

At the start of World War I, the British Army comprised roughly 250,000 regular troops, about 120,000 of these were part of the British Expeditionary Force, which had been raised as part of the Haldane Refroms following the Second Boer War and the rest were stationed abroad. There were soldiers in all Britain's overseas possessions except the white dominions of Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The Army also had roughly 250,000 reservists and 270,000 Territorials.

By January of 1916 over 2.6 million men had enlisted and more were required. Conscription for single men was introduced in January 1916. Four months later, in May 1916, it was extended to all men aged 18 to 41. The Military Service Act of March 1916 forced the conscription of a further 2.3 million men although the Act was not enforced in Ireland due to the uprisings. At it's peak, in December of 1918, the Army comprised of 4 million men.

Women also volunteered and served in a non-combatant role; by the end of the war, 80,000 had enlisted. They mostly served as nurses in the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS), the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD); and from 1917, in the Army when the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), was founded. The WAAC was divided into four sections: cookery; mechanical; clerical and miscellaneous. Most stayed on the Home Front, but around 9,000 served in France.

The Family Search web site maintains United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920. These Service Records, even the summary, indicates the Birth Year, place, Corps/unit/ship and the date of enlistment. Attribution to a Category is voluntary, this page illustrates how to do this. If unsure please discuss requirements with a Project Lead in the Project: United Kingdom.

The site maintains various categories for attribution for Military Decorations awarded to members of the British Armed Forces or by the Government of the United Kingdom.

When the war ended in 1918, British Army casualties, as the result of enemy action and disease, were recorded as 673,375 dead and missing, presumed dead, with another 1,643,469 wounded. Wikitree maintains an Honour Roll for casualties of conflicts in honour of their memory. This honour roll is categorised into: Killed in Action (KIA), Wounded in Action (WIA), Missing in Action (MIA) and Prisoners of War (POW).

For those killed they will be registered with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This site has a comprehensive search engine which will provide the location of where your Profile members are buried, or remembered if they have no known grave.

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