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Researching the RAMC

Frequently asked questions:

1. My relative served in the R.A.M.C. during the Great War, where can I find information about his war service?

The vital piece of information needed is the medical unit(s) he served with:

The personal records of the service men and women are held at the National Archive (formally the Public Records Office) at Kew, near Richmond. Unfortunately many of these documents were destroyed during the bombing of London in the Second World War and the service records of the Corps were amongst them.  Some of the 25-30% surviving Army records are now on microfilm but there is no guarantee that the papers will be found.

Some of the regular Officer's records are held at the AMS Museum and they are happy to help but naturally there is a small fee for photocopying to cover admin costs.  Temporary Officers were doctors who only served during the war and unfortunately their service records are missing, presumed to have been destroyed in the 1930s.

Information about the promotions and appointments of officers can be found in 1) The Monthly Army Lists - held in the library at the National Archive but other libraries maybe in a position to help, and 2) The London Gazette (click here to visit the website). The London Gazette also printed information about honours and awards.

Soldiers who served overseas qualified for a campaign medal. The Service Medal Rolls are also held at The National Archive (click here to visit the website), however the Medal Index Cards are on-line. The Medal Index Cards vary in style but can provide details of the date of entry and theatre of war first arrived at, and may provide the medical unit.  If you are successful in locating the correct Medal Index Card then you can download.

Most of the above can be found on Ancestry.com

You might also be able to trace details on an Absent Voters List if the person in question was at the age to vote at the time.  The Absent Voters Lists were created during the General Election in 1918 whereby all those away from their home were listed.  These recorded a man's regiment, number and rank and although it is possible that it may just state 'RAMC', there is a good possiblity that the medical unit is listed.  The lists can be held at County Records Offices or local history sections of main libraries in the area they lived, some are held at the British Library.  Not all the Absent Voters Lists survive however or are available to the public, but some places have them but do not know what they are so it could pay to be a little persistent.

If the person died on or before the 31st August 1921 then he should be commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website (click here to visit the website)

Many schools and colleges compiled Rolls of Honour and Rolls of Service.  The originals are now out of print but some can be found on the Open Library website.

Finally, local archived newspapers are a good place to look for information because local newspapers often printed stories of men enlisting, being wounded or killed, winning gallantry awards, and sometimes letters from the soldiers or their family to the Editor.

2. I know the medical unit(s) my relative served in, where was the unit(s) located?

The best information source is their war diary.  The war diaries are held at the National Archive, Kew under the reference WO 95/.

3.  What information do you have about my relative?

I am collecting from the information sources stated above, which means that most of what I have is already in the public domain.  The idea of the project is to gather the information together into one place, similar to a jigsaw puzzle, to form a clearer picture.

4. My relative was injured/sick/died of wounds. Is it possible to trace the medical unit(s) he was admitted into?

On entry into a medical unit each patient was entered into the 'Admission and Discharge Register [A&D Book so that his journery could be traced.  At the end of the war, these books were taken over by the, then, Ministry of Pensions in order to substantiate war claims, and were destroyed by them in the 1930's.  Some survived, but only a few, and these are held at the National Archive under the reference number MH106.

5. I have found a set of medals and would like to return them to the family, can you help?

No sorry I cannot help at all



I would like to offer thanks to the following people for their help and contributions:

John Duncan:
for all his help to the project by copying, recording and sending data from information sources in Scotland

Samuel Williamson:
for all his help to the project by copying, recording and sending data from information sources at the National Archive.

Dave Stow:
for all his help to the project by copying, recording and sending data sources in Leeds.


                                             Barbara Janman

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