World War I Soldier Wills Revealed


Thousands of wills from World War soldiers have been made available to the public for the first time in almost a century.

Although unlikely to be of any value in a monetary sense, they will undoubtedly prove priceless to members of the soldiers’ families today.

During the First World War, the blank documents were often handed to soldiers facing embarkation, and in the years from 1914 to 1918 around 230,000 men and boys died during the terrible fighting.

The database of wills, dating back to the early part of the twentieth century, was established under instruction from Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and is held in the UK.

The handwritten wills have been carefully scanned, with a small number even accompanied by personal letters which never made it back to loved ones.

Until now, the documents were only able to be accessed through official requests and were not released to beneficiaries, being classed as war records. They have been stored in sealed archive boxes since the end of the war.

Since having been digitally recorded, the wills are now stored in pH neutral boxes in sealed climate-controlled and fire-proof rooms, hopefully preventing these touching and historically valuable documents from ever being destroyed.

If you have a relative who died in active service during World War I and think they may have written such a will, please contact our specialist team.

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