This guide provides research tips and suggested resources for tracing information about individual soldiers who served during World War 1. It is primarily concerned with Australian soldiers, but there is also British information, as the Australian forces were under British command during World War I. There is also some information on the military histories and periodicals of other countries.
If you know which unit or units a soldier served in, you can research the the battles or campaigns his unit served in. This guide will help you to find this information. Most of the official documents relating to individual soldiers are held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA) and the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and is available online. This guide provides links to these sources.
Use the tabs (headings) above to move to different pages of the guide. There are many links to both online resources and resources available within the Library. Where items are available in full text, links have been included.
You can refine your results using the headings which appear on the left of the screen or do an Advanced search using keywords in the second search box.
An Australian soldier's war
By using this guide, you should be able to research the following:
- a soldier's service record
- movements and activities of a soldier's unit
- battles and campaigns the soldier may have been involved in
- personal accounts of a soldier's war experience
- the broader context of a soldier's war
Daniel T. E. 'Ted' Lynch - a case study
- under the Soldiers tab, follow the link to the NAA and download Lynch's service record. This has enormous detail.
- Ted Lynch enlisted in Melbourne on 10 September, 1915. The Argus newspaper has a brief reference to recruiting that day.
- Lynch was with the 47th Battery, 12th Field Artillery Brigade (FAB). In May 1917 the unit diary (see 'Regiments' tab) indicates they were involved at Noreuil Valley in the battles of Bullecourt.
- you can find battle images and news reports. Volume 4 of the Official history devotes several chapters to the battles. There is also a general history.
- Ted Lynch's service record shows he was gassed 3 June 1917. This chapter of the Official history refers to the gas attack at Ploegsteert Wood (pp 586-7).
- you can find maps of the area at the time and today.
- Armentieres is west-north-west of Lille, Ploegsteert is just north of Armentieres.
- Lynch was invalided to Southwark Military Hospital. You can find broad detail of the evacuation of wounded men to England through the Australian Army Medical Services volumes of the Official history.
- in August 1917, Lynch was awarded the Military Medal. From the Unit diaries, you can follow what the 12th FAB was doing at the time.
- the London Gazette entry for the award
- citations of many awards are available at the Australian War Memoral, unfortunately further details for this award are not attached to the citation
- Ted Lynch arrived back in Australia on 2 July 1919 on SS Port Napier
- He returned to his home town of Tallangatta and attended a reception in October 1919
There is scope for much more detailed research to develop a very rich understanding of a soldier's war.
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