Commonwealth War Graves Commission
It is estimated that just under 8,000 Sikh soldiers from Punjab fought and died in WW1.
Their details appear on the Soldier Map and have been sourced from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s casualty database.
This remarkable set of data lists the names and place of commemoration of the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars. It also provides details of their rank, regiment, next of kin and place of residence, which was in most cases also their place of birth.
Reports of the Censor of Indian Mail
Some of the most remarkable documents highlighting the thoughts and feelings of soldiers of the Indian Army serving in France during WW1 are to be found in 22 volumes of Reports of the Censor of Indian Mails in France, 1914-1918.
These reports contain extracts, translated into English, of several hundred letters by soldiers who came mainly from the north and north-west of the Indian sub-continent.
Important details such as the soldier’s name, religion or race, rank and regiment, the date of the letter and the script it was written in. The full list of reports are as follows:
- Dec 1914-Apr 1915
- Mar-Apr 1915
- Apr-May 1915
- Jun-Aug 1915
- Aug-Sep 1915
- Sep-Oct 1915
- Oct-Nov 1915
- Oct-Dec 1915
- Dec 1915-Jan 1916
- Jan-Mar 1916
- Feb-Apr 1916
- Mar-May 1916
- May-Jul 1916
- Jul-Aug 1916
- Aug-Oct 1916
- Sep-Nov 1916
- Nov-Dec 1916
- Dec 1916-Feb 1917
- Feb-May 1917
- Apr-Jul 1917
- May-Oct 1917
- Aug-Dec 1917
- Dec 1917-Mar 1918
- Jul 1915-May 1918
- Dec 1914-Jul 1918
- Jun 1915-May 1918
Indian Army List
Digital Library of India
The Indian Army List is a fantastically useful resource to use to research Indian officers who served in the Indian Army.
It lists details such as name, rank and enlistment dates for the following:
- Honorary Officers
- Subedar Majors
- Risaldar Majors
- Medical Officers
The Indian Army List was published nearly every quarter from October 1889 to January 1942, and then biannually.
A number of volumes are now available to download/view from the Digital Library of India. They are accessible via the Families in British India Society website, where they are arranged in tables by year.
The National Archives
War diaries were kept by Indian units and were written by a British officer, usually the adjutant, at the end of the day.
War diaries vary in their level of detail dramatically, not only between regiments, but depending on who is writing a unit’s war diary, and when. They often contain accounts of battles, maps and operational orders, recommendations for gallantry awards, lists of soldiers killed and wounded (including their service numbers) and accounts of the unit’s day-to-day activities.
For more, see our Guide to WW1 Indian War Diaries
The Gazette is the UK’s official public record, which means that the information published in it is verified and certified as fact.
It is comprised of the following three publications:
- London Gazette
- Belfast Gazette
- Edinburgh Gazette
A key resource for the researcher are its WW1 notices, which can be consulted for details of despatches, honours and awards for gallantry or meritorious service, officer commissions, appointments and promotions, and casualties.
Prisoner of War Archive
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross archives collect and preserve ICRC documents dating from the organisation's inception to the present day.
The ICRC's historical archives comprise 6,700 linear metres of textual records and a collection of photographs, films and other audio archives.
The ICRC established the International Prisoners of War Agency in Geneva on 21 August 1914. Its role was to restore contact between people separated by war – prisoners of war, civilian internees, and civilians in occupied territories – and it recruited hundreds of volunteers. Its records contain details of Sikh prisoners.