New project from Larkhill museum means we can track WW2 soldiers

New project from Larkhill museum means we can track WW2 soldiers

Published by Jack Deery at 6:06am 7th May 2020.

3 minute read

The Royal Artillery Museum, along with Ancestry.com, has put over 300,000 Tracer Cards online.

Tracer Cards were used as a way of keeping track of the movements of serving Royal Artillery soldiers during World War Two, so it was much easier to find out where each soldier was. 

After a year of working with Ancestry.com, the museum in Larkhill is making easier for people to track old family members by making the cards digital. 

Unlike a soldier’s service record, they were not intended to be kept permanently and not all have survived, but they did manage to get their hands on over 300,000 of them, including well-known poet Spike Milligan's card:

Royal Artillery Museum tracer card project with ancestry.com
Spike Milligan's card is among the 300,000 they have made digital

The cards provide the name, date of enlistment and service number of an individual, but most usefully they state which regiment or battery they were posted to. 

As they were temporary records, they can be quite confusing to look at with lots of abbreviations, scribbles and bad handwriting!

People will be able to search on the Ancestry.com website by name or service number.

Royal Artillery Museum tracer card project with ancestry.com
The Royal Artillery Museum manages the collection on behalf of the of the Royal Artillery Historical Trust

Royal Artillery Museum Archivist, Sian Mogridge said: 

"When people first embark on family history or historical research, they are often surprised by how little archive material has been digitised and made available online. It can be quite time consuming and expensive to copy delicate records. 

We are delighted that through our partnership with Ancestry.com our Royal Artillery WWII Tracer Cards are now publically available online and very fitting to be able to announce this great news in the week leading up to the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. These rich historical documents will provide a wealth of information for people wanting to know more about individual Gunners and their roles during World War II."

The celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Ancestry.com is giving free access to UK records until Sunday 10th May 2020.

You can find out more by visiting www.ancestry.co.uk.

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