Hand Written Wills of Fallen Soldiers from the First World War


The wills, which laid out how soldiers’ estates should be administered if they were killed in battle, were kept in a pocket service book tucked into their uniform.

More than half the soldiers sent to the frontline were wounded and a quarter never returned home.

The WW1 wills form part of an archive of 41 million wills preserved by data storage company Iron Mountain on behalf of HMCTS. As part of a 25-year contract, Iron Mountain stores all English and Welsh wills dating to 1858.

Available digitally (for a price, and you have to know the exact name) from Gov.uk via History Extra.

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About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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