- World Records
- Full list of United Kingdom records
- Armed Forces & Conflict
- Surrey Recruitment Records
Records in this collection
- 1st Sportsman's Battalion, Royal Fusiliers 1914-1918
- 1861 Worldwide Army Index
- Anglo-Boer War Records 1899-1902
- Army Deserters 1828-1840
- Army List August 1878
- Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945
- Birmingham City Battalions 1914-1918
- Birmingham Employers Roll of Honour 1914-1918
- Bradford Pals 1914-1918
- British Army Casualty Lists 1939-1945
- British Army Discharges, 60th Foot 1854-1880
- British Army Service Records - WO 363 & WO 364
- British Army Service Records WO 22 & WO 23
- British Army Service Records WO 96 & WO 97
- British Army, Bond Of Sacrifice: Officers Died In The Great War 1914-1916
- British Army, Honourable Artillery Company
- British Army, Indian Volunteer Force Medal Awards 1915-1939
- British Army, List Of Half-Pay Officers 1714
- British Army, Lloyds Of London Memorial Roll 1914-1919
- British Army, Northumberland Fusiliers 1881-1920
- British Army, Royal Artillery Officer Deaths 1850-2011
- British Army, Royal Artillery Officers 1716-1899
- British Army, Royal Artillery War Commemoration Book, 1914-1918
- British Army, Royal Artillery, 80th Field Regiment, WW2
- British Army, War of 1812 Casualties
- British Army, Women's Army Auxiliary Corps 1917-1920
- British Army, worldwide index 1851
- British Casualties, Aden 1955-1967
- British Casualties, Indian Mutiny 1857-1859
- British Casualties, Korean War 1950 – 1953
- British Casualties, Spanish Civil War 1936 - 1939
- British in Argentina 1914-1919
- British India Office Army & Navy pensions
- British Officers Taken Prisoner of War 1914-1918
- British Red Cross Register of Overseas Volunteers, 1914-1918
- British Royal Air Force, Airmen's Service Records 1912-1939
- British Royal Air Force, Gallantry Awards 1914-1919
- British Royal Air Force, Officers’ Service Records 1912 - 1920
- British Royal Naval Reserve 1899-1930 ADM240
- British Royal Naval Reserve 1899-1930 ADM337
- British Royal Navy & Royal Marines service and pension records, 1704-1919
- British Royal Navy & Royal Marines service and pension records, 1704-1919
- British Royal Navy & Royal Marines, Battle of Jutland 1916 servicemen
- British Royal Navy Allotment Declarations 1795-1852
- British Royal Navy personnel 1831
- British Royal Navy Seamen 1899-1924
- British Royal Navy, Foreign Awards To Officers Index 1914-1922
- British Royal Navy, Ships' Musters
- British Women's Royal Air Force Service Records 1918-1920
- Chelsea: documents of soldiers awarded deferred pensions 1838-1896 - WO 131
- Chelsea: pensioners' discharge documents 1760-1887 - WO 121
- Chelsea: pensioners' discharge documents, foreign regiments 1816-1817 - WO 122
- Cyprus Emergency Deaths 1955-1960
- De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour 1914-1918
- Edinburgh Pals 1914-1918
- Essex, Clacton Roll Of Honour 1914-1918
- Glasgow Pals 1914-1918
- Harold Gillles Plastic Surgery Archives from WWI
- Harts Army List 1840
- Harts Army List 1888
- Imperial Yeomanry, soldiers' documents, South African War 1899-1902 - WO 128
- Kempston Servicemen 1914-1920
- Kilmainham Pensioners British Army service records, 1771-1821
- Leicestershire and Rutland, Soldiers Died 1914-1920
- Liverpool Pals 1914-1918
- London County Council Record Of War Service 1914-1918
- London Stock Exchange Memorial Roll 1914-1918
- London volunteer soldiers, 1859-1955
- Manchester Employers' Roll Of Honour 1914-1916
- Manchester Regiment city battalions 1914-1916
- Middlesex War Memorials
- Middlesex, Poplar, Military Tribunals 1916-1918
- Military Nurses (Royal Red Cross)
- Military Nurses 1856-1994
- Napoleonic War Records
- Napoleonic War Records
- Napoleonic War Records 1775 - 1817
- National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918
- Northamptonshire Military Tribunals 1916-1918
- Northamptonshire militia lists 1771
- Officers' services, First World War - WO 339 & WO 374
- Oldham Pals 1914-1920
- Oldham Pals Roll of Honour
- Palestine Conflict British Deaths 1945-1948
- Peninsular Medal Roll 1793-1814
- Plymouth Militia records 1625-1831
- Plymouth Rolls Of Honour 1914-1919
- Plymouth Second World War records 1939-1945
- Plymouth Subscribers For Redemption Of Captives In Turkey and Algiers 1680
- Prisoners of War - Second World War (1939-1945) - Europe
- Prisoners of War - Second World War (1939-1945) - Far East
- Prisoners Of War 1715-1945 - Napoleonic
- Prisoners of war 1745-1945: Crimean War to Boer Wars
- Prisoners Of War 1914-1920
- Regimental records of officers' services 1775-1914 - WO 76
- Royal Air Force Muster Roll 1918
- Royal Artillery Attestations 1883-1942
- Royal Artillery Honors & Awards
- Royal Artillery Military Medal Awards
- Royal Artillery Other Ranks: casualty cards 1939-1947
- Royal Fusiliers Collection 1863-1905
- Royal Fusiliers, Stockbrokers' Battalion 1914-1918
- Royal Marine Medal Roll
- Royal Marines 1899-1919
- Royal Naval Division Casualties, 1914-1919
- Royal Naval Division Service Records, 1914-1920
- Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve medal roll
- Royal Navy Officers 1899-1919
- Royal Navy Officers Medal Roll, 1914-1920
- Royal Sussex Regiment Southdown Battalions 1914-1918
- Royal Tank Corps enlistment records, 1919-1934
- Salford Pals 1914-1918
- Silver War Badge roll 1914-1920
- Soldiers died in the Great War 1914-1919
- South Africa Roll Of Honour 1914-1918
- Surrey Recruitment Records
- Surrey, Military Tribunals 1915-1918
- Swansea Pals (14th Welsh Regt)
- The Household Cavalry 1801-1919 - WO 400
- Waterloo Roll Call 1815
- Welsh Guards 1915-1918
- World War One British Army Medal Index Cards
- WW1 Ships Lost at Sea, 1914-1919
- WWI Distinguished Conduct Medal Citations
- WWII Escapers and Evaders
This record set contains details of around 85,000 men who attested (signed up) for service with a variety of regiments in Surrey between 1908 and 1933.
Surviving recruitment registers for the World War I period are extremely rare and the Surrey Recruitment Registers offer a fascinating snapshot of the men of Surrey who served for King and Country. The registers are published here with the kind permission of The Surrey History Trust which retains all copyrights in the database. The Surrey History Centre holds the original registers.
The 1909 enlistment and recruiting regulations stated that 'the officer commanding an infantry depot will direct the recruiting service for both the regular army and the special reserve within the limits of his regimental district, under the orders of the officer in charge of recruiting'. Surrey formed No.10 District in the Eastern Division, which was further divided into two regimental districts, numbered by the regiment's seniority; thus the Royal West Surreys formed No.2 Regimental District, based at Guildford and comprising the parliamentary divisions of Guildford (South West), Chertsey (North West), Reigate (South East), and parts of Epsom (Mid) and Wimbledon (North East). The East Surrey regimental district formed the 31st Regimental District based at Kingston-upon-Thames, comprising the remainder of the county's parliamentary constituencies. All but one of the registers published here relate to the 31st District.
With the mass influx of recruits in 1914, more recruiting officers were needed and in the East Surrey regimental area recruiting offices were also established at Richmond, Putney, Wandsworth, Streatham, East Dulwich, Peckham, Upper Norwood, Tooting, Mitcham, Wimbledon, Sutton, East Molesey, Walton on Thames, Epsom and Wallington. These recruitment registers cover these areas and those who were born in the area but attested in other regimental districts.
The majority of the records here relate to men who volunteered, or were conscripted, during the First World War. However, some registers also cover pre-war enlistments into the regular army and Special Reserve, whilst others enlistments into the regular army after hostilities had ceased. An explanation of the different types of enlistment are given below, followed by details on each individual register.
Regular Army enlistments
That is, men who wished to join the British Army as career soldiers. The general terms of enlistment for line infantry was seven years with the colours and five years on the reserve. The Guards regiments recruited men for three years with the colours and nine years on the reserve. When Britain went to war with Germany in 1914 the majority of men who volunteered, did so for the duration of the war only although it was still possible to join up as a regular career soldier on regular enlistment terms.
Special and Extra Reserve enlistments
The Special and Extra Reserve was a home defence force, the successor to the old Militia. Men joining the SR or ER did so for six years, the ranks generally filled by old soldiers who had previously seen service in the regular army, or by young men who were trying out military life. Many of the latter subsequently transferred to regular army battalions and a lot of Special and Extra Reserve men were called upon in 1914 and later to help make up drafts to replace casualties on the Western Front.
Men who volunteered to fight for King and Country, many of these heeding Lord Kitchener's call for 100,000 men to form New Army battalions. These men enlisted for the duration of the war.
Derby Scheme men
Lord Derby's Scheme was introduced on the 16th October 1915 by which time the rush of volunteers had long since dried up. It was opened to men between the ages of 18 and 40 who were told they could enlist voluntarily or attest with the obligation to join up later when called upon to do so. At the same time, the War Office notified the public that voluntary enlistment would soon end and that the last day to register would be the 15th December 1915. Men who registered under the Derby Scheme were classified according to their age and marital status. Group 1 was for single 18-year-olds, Group 2 for single 19-year-olds and so on up to Group 23 for single 40-year-olds. Group 24 was for married 18-year-olds, Group 25 for married 19-year-olds and so on up to Group 46 for married 40-year-olds. Men who had attested under the Derby Scheme were entitled to wear a grey armband with a red crown upon it.
Conscripted men The Military Service Act of 27th January 1916 brought an end to volunteering. Men were allocated to classes according to their year of birth and then called up by those classes. Class 1 was for men born in 1897, Class 2 for men born in 1896 and so on up until Class 23 for men born in 1875.
Voluntary and Direct enlistments Men joining the British Army after November 1918.
Full details of what is contained within each register are listed below.
31st Regimental District 1908-1917
1. Reference: 2496/35 Dates: 27th January 1908 to 29th March 1913 Regular Army enlistments
2. Reference 2496/38 Dates: 2nd April 1913 to 16th August 1916 'Regular Army' is written on the spine. From August 1915 recruitment numbers are given (numbers 1-386) together with the place of recruitment. Note that the numbers are recruitment numbers and not regimental numbers.
3. Reference 2496/39 Dates: 17th August 1916 to 29th November 1917 'Regular Army' is written on the inside cover. Recruitment nos.387-824. Indexed at back. Most of this volume is unused.
4. Reference 2496/37 Dates: 26th January 1909 to 29th March 1913 Recruitment register for '3rd [Special Reserve] Battalion East Surrey Regiment' This volume also includes recruits for the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion and the Special and Extra Reserve battalions of other regiments such as The Royal Sussex Regiment, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Royal Artillery and others.
5. Reference 2496/36 Dates: 1st April 1913 to 2nd August 1915 This recruitment register: has 'SR' for 'Special Reserve' written on the spine. Until the outbreak of the war, most recruits are for the 3rd or 4th Battalions of The East Surrey Regiment. From August 1914 the recruits (mainly older men) are sent to a greater variety of units. There are very few entries for 1915.
6. Reference 2496/40 Dates: 8th August 1914 to 7th September 1914 Volunteers. This recruitment register has 'General Service' written at the top of one page, and 'GS' written after the destination regiment for some entries on the first few pages.
7. Reference 2496/1 Dates: 31st August 1914 to 4th January 1915 Volunteers. This recruitment register has 'B' written on the spine.
8. Reference 2496/2 Dates: 5th January 1915 to 27th April 1915 Volunteers. This recruitment register has 'C' and 'D' of 'W' written on the spine, indicating that this was for men who were enlisting for General Service for the 'Duration of War' only.
9. Reference 2496/3 Dates: 27th April 1915 to 26th June 1915 Volunteers. This recruitment register has 'Register D' written on the inside cover.
10. Reference 2496/4 Dates: 27th June 1915 to 11th October 1915 Volunteers. This recruitment register has 'E' and 'D of war' written on the spine. Recruits are numbered from 1st August 1915: numbers.1-1299. Note that the numbers are recruitment numbers and not regimental numbers.
11. Reference 2496/5 Dates: 12th October 1915 to 18th January 1916 Volunteers. This recruitment register has 'Register F' written on the inside cover and covers recruitment numbers 1300-3156.
12. Reference 2496/6 Dates: 20th January 1916 to 8th December 1917 This recruitment register has 'Register G' written on the inside cover and covers recruitment numbers 3157-3692. The volume is indexed and the recruits on the last pages tend to be older men or those under 18.
13. Reference 2496/41 Dates: 1st January 1916 to 2nd September 1916 Derby Scheme men. On the Inside cover of this recruitment register a pasted label reads 'Sub areas, Wandsworth, 1; Croydon, 2; Wimbledon, 3; Kingston, 4; Richmond, 5; Epsom, 6'. The volume is indexed and recruits are numbered 5001-6212.
14. Reference 2496/7 Dates: 20th January 1916 to 21st June 1916 Derby Scheme men. 'Group 1' is written on the cover and the spine. Group 1 of the Derby Scheme was the classification for single men aged 18; however, it is clear that recruits in this particular register fall into many different Derby Scheme categories. Dates and recruitment centres covered are: Kingston, 20th January 1916 to 21st June 1916, Wandsworth, 20th January 1916 to 13 April 1916; Croydon, 20th January 1916 to 14th April 1916. Recruitment numbers are not entered sequentially and range between 504 and 14710. This volume has been indexed.
15. Reference 2496/8 Dates: 13th April 1916 to 15th July 1916 Derby Scheme men. Dates and recruitment centres covered are: Wandsworth, 13th April 1916 to 15th June 1916, Croydon, 13th April 1916 to 15th July 1916. Recruitment numbers are not entered sequentially and range between 511 and 14694. The volume has been indexed.
16. Reference 2496/9 Dates: 15th June 1916 to 29th August 1916 Derby Scheme men. 'Groups 3, no.3' is written on the front cover and 'Reserve B Groups, Wandsworth' written on the back cover, 'Group 2' is written on the spine. Dates and recruitment centres covered are Wandsworth, 15th June 1916 to 16th August 1916, Kingston, 22nd June 1916 to 29th August 1916. Recruitment numbers are not entered sequentially and range between 1181 and 8773. The volume has been indexed.
17. Reference 2496/10 Dates: 16th August 1916 to 8th December 1916 Derby Scheme men. 'Groups' and 'C2' is written on the cover and 'Groups 6' written on the spine. Dates and recruitment centres covered are: Wandsworth, 16th August 1916 to 8th December 1916, Kingston, 30th August 1916 to 8th December 1916. Recruitment numbers are not entered sequentially and range between 6489 and 12469.
18. Reference 2496/11 Dates: 20th January 1916 to 1st December 1916 Derby Scheme men. 'Reserve Class B Groups' is written on the cover and 'Class [1 or 7]' on the spine. Dates and recruitment centres covered are: Epsom, 20th January 1916 to 30th June 1916, Richmond, 20th January 1916 to 3rd August 1916, Peckham, 20th January 1916 to 1st December 1916, Wimbledon 20th January 1916 to 8th June 1916. Recruitment numbers are not entered sequentially and range between 501 and 14697. This volume has been indexed.
19. Reference 2496/12 Dates: 8th June 1916 to 7th December 1916 Derby Scheme men. 'Groups' is written on the cover and 'Group 8' on the spine. Dates and recruitment centres covered are: Wimbledon, 8th June 1916 to 17th October 1916, Epsom, 1st July 1916 to 7th December 1916, Croydon, 17th July 1916 to 29th August 1916. Recruitment numbers are not entered sequentially and range between 502 and 14698. This volume has been indexed.
20. Reference 2496/14 Dates: 3rd August 1916 to 8th December 1916 Derby Scheme men. '2B Groups' is written on the cover and 'Groups 4' on the spine. Dates and recruitment centres covered are: Richmond, 3rd August 1916 to 8th December 1916, Croydon, 30th August 1916 to 8th December 1916. Recruitment numbers are not entered sequentially and range between 4295 and 12468. This volume has been indexed.
21. Reference 2496/13 Dates: 17th October 1916 to 8th December 1916 Derby Scheme men. 'Groups 4' is written on the cover and 'Group 3' on the spine. Covers the Wimbledon recruitment centre. Recruitment numbers are not entered sequentially and range between 10770 and 12464. This volume has been indexed.
22. Reference 2496/15 Dates: 6th March 1916 to 31st October 1916 Conscripted men. 'Classes 1' is written on the cover and 'Classes 11' on the spine. Dates and recruitment centres covered are: Kingston, numbers 15001-19991, 6th Mar ch1916 to 31st October 1916, Wandsworth, numbers 15019-17011, 8th March 1916 to 3rd August 1916, Croydon, numbers 15017-19779, 7th March 1916 to 30th October 1916. This volume has been indexed.
23. Reference 2496/16 Dates: 31st October 1916 to 8th December 1916 Conscripted men. 'Military Classes 2' on cover and 'Classes 10' on spine. Covers: Kingston, numbers 19799-20891, 31 Oct 1916-8 Dec 1916; Croydon, nos.19784-20892, 31 Oct 1916-8 Dec 1916. Indexed.
24. Reference 2496/17 Dates: 29th September 1916 to 8th December 1916 Conscripted men. Recruitment register: 'Classes 3' and 'Classes no 12' on cover. Covers: Wandsworth, nos.18753-20904, 29 Sep 1916-8 Dec 1916; Peckham, nos.18190-20699, 2 Oct 1916-24 Nov 1916; Wimbledon, nos.19113-20887, 16 Oct 1916-8 Dec 1916.
In reference numbers 2496/18 to 2496/26 inclusive, the space below the 'eyes' column has been used for class of recruit (number between 1 and 47), the 'distinctive marks' column has been used for 'destination' (for training), the parish and county columns have been used for recruiting sub-area (Kingston, Wandsworth etc) and sub-area number (eg.C23085/37478), and the 'name of recruiter' column has been used for medical category of recruit.
25. Reference 2496/21 Dates: 9th December 1916 to 20th February 1917 Conscripted men. Recruitment register: 'No.1, Infantry' on cover. 'Name of recruiter' column used for medical classification. Recruitment numbers 25000-29350. Indexed.
26. Reference 2496/18 Dates: 9th December 1916 to 27th March 1917 Conscripted men. Recruitment register: 'No.2, Units' on cover. Recruits chiefly destined for artillery, engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, etc. 'Name of recruiter' column used for medical classification. Recruitment nos.25005-31593, 35001-35464 ('new numbers'). Indexed
27. Reference 2496/25 Dates: 13th February 1917 to 7th September 1917 Conscripted men. Recruitment register: 'No.3, RO', on cover and 'RO [Recruiting Office] Woolwich Recruiting Area' on pages inside. Recruitment nos.28527-32574. Indexed. Not filled
28. Reference 2496/22 Dates: 20th February 1917 to 20th March 1917 Conscripted men. Recruitment register: 'No.4 infantry' on cover. Recruitment nos.29351-31955, 45001-45925. Indexed
29. Reference 2496/26 Dates: 1st March 1917 to 5th September 1917 Conscripted men. Recruitment register: 'No.5, Territorial Forces, London Regiments, HAC [Honourable Artillery Company]'. Recruitment numbers 30473-31951, 40001-40531. This volume has been indexed.
30. Reference 2496/19 Dates: 26th March 1917 to 19th July 1917 Conscripted men. Recruitment register: 'No.6, Units' on cover. Recruits chiefly destined for artillery, engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, etc. 'Name of recruiter' column used for medical classification. Recruitment numbers35465-38055. This volume has been indexed.
31. Reference 2496/23 30th March 1917 to 23rd July 1917 Conscripted men. Recruitment register: 'No.7, Infantry' on cover. Recruitment numbers45926-48564. This volume has been indexed.
32. Reference 2496/20 Dates: 19th July 1917 to 7th September 1917 Conscripted men. Recruitment register: 'No.8, Units' on cover. Recruits chiefly destined for artillery, engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, etc. 'Name of recruiter' column used for medical classification. Recruitment numbers38056-38550. This volume has been indexed.
33. Reference 2496/24 Dates: 23rd July 1917 to 20th September 1917 Recruitment register: 'No.9, register, infantry'. Recruitment numbers48564-49365. This volume has been indexed.
In 2496/27 and 2496/29 the training destination is generally added after the regiment name in the first column; the complexion, eyes and hair columns are again completed; the distinctive marks column is used to record whether a recruit is married ('M') or single ('S'); the place of birth column is used to record recruiting sub-area; the 'name of recruiter' column is used to record medical category and the 'recruiting agent' column for place of medical examination. The class number (1-47) is no longer given. In 2496/29, after the first few entries the columns have been retitled in manuscript and give the following information: identity number (starting 60001), name, regional number, recruiting area, medical category, age, place of medical examination, name of medical officer, date of examination, address, 'allotment' (married or single and allowance), 'final disposal' (unit and training destination), date of final disposal, remarks.
South London Recruiting Area 1917-1918
34. Reference 2496/27 Dates: 2nd November 1917 to 20th February 1918 Conscripted men. Recruitment register: 'No.1 Book'. Recruitment numbers50001-52025.
35. Reference 2496/29 Dates: 5th November 1917 to 27th February 1918. Recruitment register: 'No.2 Book' on cover. Recruitment numbers55001-57055.
36. Reference 2496/28 Dates: 22nd February 1918 to 2nd May 1918 Recruitment register: 'No.3 Book' on cover. Recruitment numbers60001-62572.
2nd Regimental District 1917-1918
37. Reference 2496/44 Dates: 22nd May 1917 to 19th October 1918 Conscripted men. Recruitment register: 'Other corps, Guildford' on title page and '2nd Regimental District' on pages inside. The eyes, hair and distinctive marks columns are variously used to indicate marital status, medical category and 'sub area'. From 10 Jun 1918, the regimental number, address and any reference for 'authority for posting', are also given, but place of birth and attestation details disappear. Recruitment numbersR11457-R17441. Indexed. At the end of the volume a memorandum states 'Guildford Reception Depot closed 20.10.18. Amalgamated with Kingston. See Eastern Command orders Dated 19.10.18, Auth. W.O Letter No.27/Gen No./6577 (AG 13 4) Dated 2.10.18'.
31st Recruiting Area 1918-1933
38. Reference 2496/42 Dates: 18th November 1918 to 7th June 1920 Voluntary and Direct enlistments. Recruitment register: 'Voluntary and Direct enlistments under WO telegram 2105 A.G.13 AL' on cover and '31st Regt District Recruiting Area' on pages inside. Various number ranges are in use, including a sequence for 'short service' recruits and another sequence for 'enlistments for North Russia, authority 27/Gen.No/7299 (A.G.13)'. This volume has been indexed.
39. Reference 2496/30 Dates: 23rd August 1919 to 20th April 1922 Voluntary and Direct enlistments.
40. Reference 2496/31 Dates: 19th April 1922 to 21st February 1925 Voluntary and Direct enlistments.
41. Reference 2496/32 Dates: 28th February 1925 to 26th September 1925 Voluntary and Direct enlistments.
42. Reference 2496/33 Dates: 28th September 1925 to 1st October 1927 Voluntary and Direct enlistments.
43. Reference 2496/34 Dates: 3rd October 1927 to 29th June 1933 Voluntary and Direct enlistments. Recruitment register: 'East Surrey Regiment Recruiting Zone' on pages inside. With note 'see previous AB303 for 1st quarters return for final approval'.
44. Reference 2496/43 Dates: 3rd November 1924 to 20th December 1929 Voluntary and Direct enlistments. Recruitment register: 'Supplementary Reserve' on cover and '[31st] Regimental, Recruiting or Militia, Volunteer Artillery District' on pages inside. Not filled. Enclosures: blank short service attestation form and Army Form B 104-57 concerning Corporal Murley's enlistment into the Supplementary Reserve, 17 Nov 1925.
The image shows volunteers lining up outside the Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) depot at Kingston-upon-Thames in August or September 1914.