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Research (Finding Information)

Once you have chosen a name to research, you need to find out as much as you can about the person and their experiences in WW1. Write rough notes to begin with using the Scaffold Download to help arrange them in order. There is a huge amount of written material available on the web concerning WW1. One reliable suggestion for your research is to:

1. Find a name. Go to Mapping Our Anzacs and find your town. This will list all the soldiers that were born in your town. It is a reliable way to find a soldier's record.

Visit the local War Memorial to find a name. These are people associated with your district and may be different to the list on Mapping Our Anzacs. See NSW War Memorials and The Clock Tower Memorial

 

     
2. Find their service record Go to Mapping Our Anzacs and find your town. Look for your soldier's name, there will be a link to his records. Use the Abbreviations to interpret the record.   Go to World War 1 service records online and then to NameSearch. Enter the surname of the soldier and choose WW1 from the dropdown menu.
   
           
Search the ADFA AIF Database using your soldier's surname to find basic information on the soldier.  

Go to other ways to find service people or to RecordSearch and log in as a guest. Search by the surname and Reference Number B2455

 

3. Battalion and Division Details

Their Battalion or Unit was the group they stayed with throughout the War and can be found in their Service Record. Find which Brigade and Division they were in. If blocked use this link.

 

Find the individual Battalion and Division Details on Ross Mallet's site  
4.

Battles

 

Once the Division is known, and you know when the soldier was with his Unit, it is possible to work out which battles he fought on the Western Front. or Palestine. Also see the Timeline of WW1 to put these battles in perspective. If blocked try Dates or Campaigns

Each unit kept a daily diary. These have been digitised and it is possible to download these original documents to see what your soldier may have been doing on a particular day. See Infantry Diaries or WW1 Diaries
   

Find out more about the battles by going to Australians on the Western Front or Australian Battlefields of WW1 or do a Google search.

Virtually visit the present locations where Australians once fought through the immersive panoramic images at Anzac Battlefields of World War One
See if you soldier gets a newspaper mention through searching through the National Library of Australia Trove database
Find grave details from the Commonwealth War Graves site

Use the name and service number to find additional information from Biographical Databases in the AWM.

5. Additional Details
Try to find a photograph of the soldier or his Battalion within the Collections of the AWM. Look at Bean's First World War Official History available on the AWM site or his original digitised diaries.
Search the Red Cross Wounded and Missing. This may give eye witness reports of what happened to your soldier. Read through the Battalion Diaries of your soldier's unit

These sources will give you the basis of your story on the 'name'. You may find further interesting information from an internet search or the links on the Resources page. The story can be embellished with knowledgeable speculation based on the written experiences of similar soldiers at locations where your soldier was known to have been.

The story should be shared with others in an accessible form such as a newspaper article and/or website. It is timely to publish these in your local newspaper in the weeks leading up to 25th April (ANZAC Day). Some examples of webpages can be found at Joseph Michael Maguire and Donald F Kerr.

Other resources suggesting a method of researching a WW1 soldier can be found at Stuart Curry's excellent site, Graeme Hosken's great book 'Digging for Diggers' and the 'Connecting Spirits' website.

 


53rd Battalion drill practice in Egypt after Gallipoli evacuation

 
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P. Morrissey 2010 (updated Jan 2011)