27 August 2017

Volunteer Service Gazette & Illustrated War News


There have been some significant military releases by the British Newspaper Archive and Findmypast in the last week and it's appropriate to publicise these here as so much of what most medal collectors do involves as much background research as possible about medal recipients.

Surviving service records for members of the Volunteer Force are few and far between. Some later records may survive as part of a man's Territorial Force record but for the most part these papers (1859-1908) simply do not survive. This leaves those of us with an interest in the VF turning to other sources, and The Volunteer Service Gazette is a fantastic source and resource.



The British Newspaper Archive has published digital copies of this weekly publication between October 1859 and December 1903 and these can be searched on the BNA website and also on Findmypast.

The second publication of note this week is the Illustrated War News. This was one of the better weekly publications during the First World War, and in particular those earlier issues, mostly from 1915, which feature (often) third-line Territorial Force photographs of officers and NCOs which name the individuals concerned.



Some issues also feature pages of potted biographies and portraits of (mostly) officer casualties similar to the one I have posted at the top of this particular blog post. 

Both of these collection have been run through an OCR process which means that it is possible to search by name, although one would hope that Findmypast might also consider making a separate indexed collection of The Illustrated War News available in due course. As for me, I shall now hopefully be making room on my bookshelves by selling off my two bound volumes of the IWN.



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