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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

What Regiment was my grandfather in?


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Hi I'm trying to trace my grandfathers was records but I'm not sure what regiment he was in the WW1. His name was Frederick Varley and his number was 208719 Can anyone help me?



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I can't see a medal index card to a F Varley with that number. 

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Hi @i_malc,

Unfortunately the Great War pre-dated the use of unique service numbers and so most of the Corps, (Artillery \ Engineers \ Medical \ Service \ Labour \ Tank \ Ordnance & Machine Gun) as well as a number of Territorial Force Infantry Battalions would have used the service number 208719, sometimes several times over. Versions of that number with prefixes may have cropped up in the Royal Flying Corps, (later merged into the RAF) and in the Royal Navy, who contributed a whole Division to the fighting in France & Flanders.

The majority of other ranks army service records went up in flames in WW2 when German bombs hit the London warehouse where they were being stored, so it can be difficult to track down a man who didn't serve outside the UK, or for whom 208719 might be one in a series of number changes as a man was renumbered for various reasons. I'm not finding anything obvious on FindMyPast in the way of surviving service records for a Varley with that number.

Similarly no F. Varley with a Medal Index Card with a service number that is an obvious variation on the number you have quoted.

So probably time to go back to basics.

  • What is the source for the 208719 service number you have quoted.
  • Where and when was he born, (or where and when did he die if the birth details are not known).
  • Parents details.
  • Would he have been married at any time while he might have been serving.
  • Localities he might have been associated with during his lifetime.



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