Using Army Officer Lists in research

The Officers of the Army were drawn from the great and the good of a society which respected military service.

Annual lists of Officers in the various British Regiments became popular from the 1700's as both a reference book and a form of self-aggrandisement.

They became so popular that in some years more than one army list was published with the Official Army list supplemented by lists from companies such as Harts.

At times, such as World War One, they were published twice or even four times a year to cope with the personal changes.

What information do they contain?


Current Regiments including Territorial Regiments are listed

Government approved Militia units are also included

Allied services of that time such as the Indian Army or Military Establishments i9 the Commonwealth/Empire.

Whitehall and Military Establishments in the UK


Lists of Officers of each Regiment

Lists of Officers on pension or half pay

Officers will range from the Honorary Colonel to Ensign including the Quartermaster and Surgeons.

Other Information

Various according to publication and date but can includes deaths, notable medals won, Officers recently passed out, pay and allowances and biographies.

What use is an army list?

If your ancestor was a serving Officer with a British Regiment then he will almost certainly appear in an Army List.

As they appear most years it is easy to track a career and to estimate dates for enlistment and retirement or death.

Once a Regiment and service dates are established it is much easier to trace service records or search in other documents such as newspapers for information.

Where can I find them?

Original Army Lists are available at some second hand book shops or online auction sites but they tend to be quite expensive although some reproductions can be cheaper.

There are many companies who produce Army lists on CD for sale.

Most of the lists are available free of charge for download via the National Archives site.

The History site has many of the records online to read or download.