Casualty Database

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

British Library

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:

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
  • Subedars
  • Risaldar Majors
  • Risaldars
  • Jemadars
  • 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.

War diaries

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

WW1 Notices

The Gazette

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.