Saturday, February 24, 2007

British Army WWI Pension Records surnames A and B - British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920 Release One: "War Office: Soldiers’ Documents from Pension Claims, First World War (Microfilm Copies); (The National Archives Microfilm Publication WO364); Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies; The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England.

From the western front to the world wide web for Britain's old soldiers | Technology | Guardian Unlimited Technology: "Although pensions were authorised to men who could prove they were disabled on active service they were hard won and closely scrutinised as a surviving award sheet relating to Joseph Allcock of the Manchester Regiment shows.

Allcock was discharged in July 1918 because he was classified as no longer physically fit, having injured his left knee. The paper carefully notes that a temporary allowance was made, before noting brusquely that the disability was not attributable to his service and so his appeal should be disallowed.

For relatives the records may be able to flesh out details about ancestors they never knew, or remember only as old men. One such was John William Ballinger, who stares out pensively as a young soldier in the creased photographs he left his relatives when he died in his 90s in 1981.
Ballinger, who joined up in 1908 at the age of 19, also left a detailed diary that recorded incidents such as his attempt to crawl out of no man's land back to British lines at the Battle of Givenchy in December 1914: 'It was raining hard as I slipped into this trench, about midnight, I found something like a cushion under my feet and to my horror I was standing in a trench full of dead German soldiers."


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