Discover if your ancestors served with the Royal Artillery between 1883 and 1942. You can gain a great amount of information from these records, especially the earlier records. The attestation records tracks your relative’s life through the Royal Artillery, including marriage and children and the different campaigns he fought. The records include the men who fought in both World War 1 and World War 2.

The information contained in this collection is taken from enlistment books which were maintained by British Army regiments during the period under consideration. Each record includes an image of the enlistment book and a transcription. The information in each can vary.

Army Book 358 was intended to be a permanent record of a man’s enlistment and was, in due course, to be “deposited in the office of the Master of the Rolls” for reference purposes.

The instruction continued that the book “will be kept up to date and complied with care and accuracy. When a man is struck off the strength, the necessary entry will be made in the column “Transfer”. If for any reason he is allotted a new Regimental number, cross references will be made.” Four lines were allotted for each man’s entry and the entries recorded in numerical order.

The earlier entries in Army Book 358, up until 1929 at least, can give an extraordinary amount of detail. Information is recorded under the following headings:

  • Regimental number
  • Whether the enlistment was for the regular army (R), militia (M), special reserve (SR) or Territorial Force (T)
  • Full name
  • Date of attestation
  • Age on attestation
  • Place of attestation
  • Whether transferred to or from another corps and in such cases, the date of transfer
  • Trade on enlistment
  • Parish, town and county of birth
  • Next of kin (parents’ details to be written in pencil, wife’s details to be written in ink)
  • Place and date of marriage
  • Place and date of birth of each child
  • Campaigns, wounds, medals or rewards of any kind
  • Date, place and cause of discharge
  • Rank and character on discharge
  • Rate of pension awarded
  • Address on discharge
  • Remarks

The last, “Remarks” column is important here as it often gives details of prior service, often including a regimental number and date of enlistment which would enable further research to be undertaken in other record series published elsewhere on findmypast.

Whilst the attestations in these large enrolment books date from the 1900s, the earliest attestation noted where former service is indicated, dates back to 1883. Searching these records could therefore help you uncover not just First World War soldiers, but men who served in the Boer War (1899-1902) and other late nineteenth century campaigns.

The smaller attestation books which were in general use from 1929 give a lot less information, namely:

  • Army number
  • Full name/s
  • Details of transfer to other Corps or cause of becoming non-effective (including date)

A typical entry in this final column might read 19.02.35 Para 370 (xvi) KR which means that the man was discharged on 19th February 1935 under Paragraph 370 (xvi) of King’s Regulations. To ascertain exactly what that particular paragraph means checking the most recently published King’s regulations before the date mentioned. King’s Regulations were published in 1914, 1923 and 1940 and copies can be obtained – and in some instances viewed for free – online.

The original enlistment books that from this collection are owned by The Royal Artillery Historical Trust and housed at The Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich.

Discover More about Royal Artillery attestations

When someone enlisted with The Royal Regiment of Artillery the first thing they did was fill out an “attestation record”. This became the basis of his record of service.

There are approximately one million soldiers on the list. But please note that these records do not catalogue ALL soldiers enlisted. The earlier records, before 1930, are very detailed and a great source of detail. After 1930, the records have less detail, but can still give you dates of attestation and discharge.

The records include those who fought in World War One and World War Two, but also those who fought in the Crimean War and the Boer Wars.

Copyright Statement

The originally Attestation Ledgers are held at the Royal Artillery Museum in London’s Woolwich.

© Images reproduced by courtesy of the Trustees of The Royal Artillery Historical Trust, London, England. The Royal Artillery Historical Trust give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of the information provided. Images may be used only for the purposes of research, private study or education. Applications for any other use should be made to The Trustees, The Royal Artillery Historical Trust, The Royal Artillery Museum, Royal Arsenal West, Warren Lane, Woolwich, SE18 6ST. Breach of the above condition may result in legal action.”