Medal Index Cards Explained - What is a Medal Index Card

Blogger: GemSen

Medal Index Cards can be a good place to begin researching your World War One ancestors’ awards. But, do you know anything about them?

You may have hit a brick wall in your genealogy research and not know that Medal Index Cards can sometimes be an all important key to unlocking doors to your relative’s past.

So why were Medal Index Cards introduced?

As you can understand, the War Office were faced with a lot of medals to issue during the First World War so began using a card index system towards the end of the conflict to record what each man was entitled to. These were called Medal Index Cards (MICs).

These documents record the medals that men and women who served in the First World War were entitled to claim and include information like: a soldier’s name, regimental numbers, ranks and units — compiled with reference to the service and discharge papers. Most of these were destroyed by bombing in World War II making Medal Index Cards very important because they could be the only surviving record of your ancestor — revealing where and when a soldier served and what theatre of war he entered. 

If you want to research Medal Index Cards then a good place to start would be the National Archives who hold over five million cards in their collection under series 'WO372'. Most of these cards are for soldiers in the British Army.

According to their website the collection also includes: most British Army officers, Indian Army personnel, British Army nurses, Royal Flying Corps personnel, Royal Naval Division personnel, some civilians.

Most of the cards contain information about campaign medals, which were generally awarded to all those who served overseas. However, some of the cards record entitlement to gallantry and long service awards.

The reference numbers on these cards refer to medal rolls compiled by a different branch of the medal office and used for recording the correct details on each medal.

Source: National Archives

Celebrating the war heroes in your family 

Has anybody in your family been awarded a medal/medals for their honourable actions during times of military conflict? Tell us about their story.

Forces War Records offer a range of official military replacement medals from World War I and World War II, including the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, and the 1939-45 Star. Made to a very high standard, the medals are sourced from an MOD approved supplier.

Do you have any questions about the medals or medal index cards your ancestors received? Talk to us — we are here to answer your military genealogy queries.

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