British WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards
Records: 4,961,045 · Complete: 100%
The index cards were created by the UK’s Army Medal Office toward the end of WWI to have a single record for every soldier that kept track of which medals he was eligible for. The information on the index cards was compiled from the original Medal Rolls. Because most soldiers were eligible for at least one medal, nearly all British soldiers appear in the index cards. This collection contains 90 percent of British WWI soldiers, making it the most complete accounting of the British men and women who served in that war.
The most common medals were the British War Medal (a campaign medal for serving abroad during the war) and the Victory Medal (for serving in a theater of war). These two medals appear pro forma on many of the index cards, as does the 1914 or 1914-15 Star (for those who served in a theater of war during those particular years). Other campaign medals to which the soldier was entitled, as well as any gallantry awards, were written in by hand on the cards.
The listing of a medal on the soldier’s index card doesn’t necessarily mean he ever received it—it just means he was eligible to claim it. Also, since officers needed to apply to receive a campaign medal, there will only be an index card for them if they did so.
A variety of different types of index cards were used to keep track of medal information, so the information included may vary. However, fields you can typically find include the name of the soldier, corps, rank(s), regimental (service) number, name of medal(s) received, roll and page numbers of the corresponding information in the original Medal Rolls, theater of war served in and date of entry, remarks, correspondence notes, and address. Some cards may also include the date of enlistment and the date and reason of discharge. Many of the fields on the index cards contain abbreviations; a helpful explanation of the abbreviations can be found on the UK National Archives website.
On Fold3, the index cards are arranged in alphabetical order by surname. Keep in mind that some names may have been misspelled or use initials.