Scottish soldiers' wills from First and Second World Wars go online

Posted on on 27 May 2014
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The National Records of Scotland has made available the wills of 31,000 Scottish soldiers who fought in the First and Second World Wars.

Approximately 26,000 of the documents are written by soldiers who saw action during the First World War - with most being killed, declared missing or succumbing to wounds suffered on the Western Front. There are also wills in smaller numbers written by men who served at Gallipoli, Salonika or in Mesopotamia.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government described the wills as "small but powerful documents", which are "a testament to the sacrifice in wartime made by thousands of Scots, not only the soldiers themselves, but also their families and loved ones".

Almost all of the wills were written in soldiers' pay books, by men serving in the Scottish infantry and cavalry regiments, as well as in British regiments. There are also several written by men who served in the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force.

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

“We are privileged to be marking the Centenary of the start of the First World War by making these remarkable records available. They give us a unique insight into the service of Scottish soldiers during the First and Second World Wars, but also in other conflicts before and since”.

In addition to the wills of First World War soldiers which have been made available, there are about 4,750 from the Second World War. There are also several hundred from the Boer War and Korean War, as well as other conflicts between 1857 and 1965.

The soldiers’ wills are available online through ScotlandsPeople, at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, and at local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Hawick and Inverness.

Source: National Records of Scotland

Images courtesy of the National Records of Scotland

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News