Research FAQs

Information about our research service

Our small but dedicated team of researchers will look through all relevant material in the archive to provide information about the Fusilier in your family. Research is charged at £35 per enquiry. Alternatively, make an appointment to visit the archive in person and carry out your own research. This is recommended to people who are familiar with an archive environment and incurs a facilities charge of £20.

Due to work on our ground floor refurbishment, we are currently unable to accommodate archive visits.  We apologise for any inconvenience.

How do I submit a request?

Please submit your request in writing, enclosing your payment (cheque or postal order made payable to “The Fusiliers Museum of Northumberland”), to: The Researcher, The Fusiliers Museum of Northumberland, Abbot’s Tower, Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1NG.

You need to provide the name, rank, service number, battalion number and service dates of your Fusilier. You can find this information on a [Record of Service].

The payment of £35 is per soldier, so if you have more than one soldier to research, please submit a payment for each. The researcher will need to spend time researching resources for each soldier.

What can I expect to receive from the Research Service?

Our archive can provide background information about your soldier. The background to a soldier’s military history will include details of actions in which he was involved plus any mentions of him which we might be able to trace. Photocopies of relevant documents such as maps, obituaries, photographs and diary extracts are included.

Results of research cannot be guaranteed. The charge covers the time spent by the researchers looking through relevant documentation and is therefore non-refundable.

When an enquiry and payment are received, the researchers will assess it and decide whether or not sufficient information has been provided in order to proceed. If they know that no relevant information can be found, the payment will be returned. This results in a good success rate for the research that has been given approval to proceed.

How long does it take?

It is difficult to predict how long your enquiry will take. This very much depends upon the quantity of individual enquiries which have been received. In busy periods research may take up to 6 months.

What sources of information does your archive hold?

Alongside the well-stocked library, the main resources available include war diaries, regimental magazines, battalion histories, personal diaries, personal documents and photographs.

What is a Record of Service and how do I get hold of one?

A Record of Service is an official document relating to an individual soldier which records:

  • Enlistment and next of kin details
  • Rank and service number (with details of any changes to these)
  • Service dates (including leave dates)
  • Battalion number (including transfer details between different battalions or regiments)
  • Some also include medical history

The information given by a Record of Service is used as a starting point for our researchers as it will tell them which battalion and era to explore.

Records of Service are kept at either The National Archives or the Army Personnel Centre depending on when your soldier was discharged.

If your soldier was discharged before 1920/21, his Record of Service will be held at The National Archives at Kew. Unfortunately approximately 60% of these were destroyed by bombing during the Second World War. Contact them directly by phone on 020 8876 344 or by post at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TD9 4DU.

The National Archives digitised records are available to view on www.ancestry.com. Ask your local library if they have a subscription to this service.

If your soldier was discharged after 1920/21, his Record of Service will be held by the Army Personnel Centre. Contact them by phone on 0845 6009 663, by email at disc4@apc.army.mod.uk or by post at Historic Disclosures, Mail Point 400, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street, Glasgow, G2 8EX.

If my relative’s Record of Service isn’t available, can you still help?

Yes, there is always a chance that our researchers can find the information they need from any evidence that you can provide. To avoid your request being rejected due to a lack of information, please state that you have already searched for a Record of Service and discovered that it is not available.

How do I go about carrying out my own research?

You can choose to come into the archive to research our resources yourself. The archive is available by appointment only throughout the year and a £20 facilities fee applies. This charge helps towards the costs associated with your visit including staff time and stewardship of the archives. You can also expect the occasional cup of coffee or tea to sustain you throughout the day! Further charges relating to the copying of documents, etc. may also apply.

Please telephone 01665 602152 for further information and to book an appointment.

If you are a student, you can make your appointment to visit the archive free of charge upon production of a letter from your college or university, giving details about your course.

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