World War One hospital registers collection tops 250,000 records

Forces War Records is delighted to announce that 250,000 records have now been transcribed from our “Military Hospitals Admissions and Discharge Registers WW1” collection, coded MH106 by the National Archives. That’s a long way from the 30,000 records available at the time of the collection’s October 9th 2014 launch, as is being evidenced by a number of reports of families now finding their relatives in the collection. Customer Pete Bailey was intrigued to find out that his grandfather had been shot in the face in WW1 in 1918, and said the medical data was the only record on Harry Mullard that he’d been able to find on websites, and that he’d be interested to find out where Harry had fought.

Luckily for Pete the hospital record notes not only that H F Mullard received a shrapnel wound to the lip on 20/1/1918, and was discharged back to duty of 01/02/1918, but gives his index number of admission, age, rank, Service Number, years’ service, months with Field Force, religion, regiment, battalion and unit, and mentions that he was treated by the 62nd Field Ambulance. From this information, one of our researchers was able to find Harry Mullard’s Medal Index Card from the National Archives, along with the War Diary of the regiment. It seems that Harry Mullard’s Division, the 20th Light Division, was involved in engagements in France and Flanders, including the Battle of Delville Wood, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, actions on the Hindenburg Line, the Battle of Menin Wood and the First Battle of Bapaume.

Another customer, Rosie Rowley, a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies, has been investigating the Spridgeon family for many years, that being her maiden name. She was delighted to find a hospital record for John Edward Spridgeon, killed in action on 25th April 1917. Although she had already uncovered a great deal of information about this relation, Rosie had not known that he had been injured some nine months prior to his death. The hospital record stated that John had been treated for a ‘shock wound’ on 2nd and 3rd July 1916 at the No. 2 General Hospital at Le Havre, and the movements of his regiment, outlined on the Forces War Records site, showed that the injury probably occurred during the attack at Gommecourt, which commenced on 1st July 1916. Rosie was also surprised to learn from the hospital record that John had already served with the regiment for 3 years, which meant that he must have enlisted before the start of WW1. So, these records can help people at all stages in their family research.

The original collection, which is stored at the National Archives in Kew, had not been transcribed or indexed before since the records are handwritten, many in faint pencil or with lots of abbreviations, and therefore very difficult to read and interpret. They are also organised by medical unit rather than name, making it extremely difficult to find any relative without doing a great deal of research first. Forces War Records is ultimately planning to release 1.5 million hospital records, and the collection in its entirety should be transcribed by the end of 2016.

Wondering if your own ancestor’s hospital record may be included? Find out here:

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