Biographical research into the King's Regiment
Sheet number 40
This information will help you to research a past member of the King's Regiment. At the end is a list of records available at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.
Was he in the King's Regiment?
The 8th King's Regiment of Foot became known as the King's (Liverpool Regiment) in 1881 and began to recruit soldiers from Liverpool. In 1921 the title was altered to the King's Regiment (Liverpool). It has never been called ‘The King’s Own’. In 1958 it was amalgamated with the Manchester Regiment (63rd and 96th Regiments) to become The King's Regiment. In July 2006 the King’s Regiment merged with the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment and the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, along with their respective companies of the Lancastrian and Cumbrian Volunteers and the King’s and Cheshire Regiment. Together they formed the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.
Information about the Regiment today is available online at:
The King's Regiment Collection
Archive material belonging to this collection is available for public viewing, but by appointment only and on a limited basis. However, library and archive sources for biographical research are available at the nearby Merseyside Maritime Museum (see below). Please be aware no individual service records are available in the museum; the source for such material is listed in the following information.
Some useful addresses linked to the King’s Regiment:
The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment
The Museum of the Manchester’s
Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre
0161 342 4242
Liverpool Scottish enquiries (by post or email only):
c/o Major IL Riley TD FSA Scot, (Honorary Secretary)
51a Common Lane
The service records of soldiers serving between 1914 and 1920 and officers from 1914 up to and including 30 March 1922 are held by the National Archives, formerly the Public Record Office. Please be aware that approximately two thirds of First World War army records were destroyed during the Blitz in the Second World War.
The National Archives also holds some surviving 'Other Ranks' service records for the period 1760-1913. For information on both collections please contact:
The National Archives
Enquiries (not research questions) 0208 392 5200
The bulk of official records relating to the First World War are held at The National Archives (TNA) where either the originals or copies (microfiche, microfilm or digital) can be viewed free of charge to people visiting in person. TNA also makes records selectively available remotely, at a charge, on their website at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk, and/or through commercial arrangements with family history websites. The precise mix of what can be seen where varies regularly, as licences expire and new deals are forged, and new content becomes available. The biggest sites with First World War military content are:
Records of officers or soldiers whose regular or reserve service ended after 1921 can be applied for at:
Army Personnel Centre HQ
Mail Point 555
65 Brown Street
Telephone: 0845 600 9663
There is a fee and a waiting period for people requiring this service. Soldiers seeking their own service record will not have to pay for this service. They should apply to Disclosures rather than Historical Disclosures at the same address.
The Army Personnel Centre can also provide access to surviving Home Guard Records from the Second World War.
Soldiers are awarded medals for military campaigns, long service and meritorious or gallant conduct.
Rolls for awards before 1924 are held by the National Archives (contact details given previously).
The most comprehensive list of soldiers who served overseas during the First World War is the Medal Card Index. This gives a man's service number and the regiment in which he served, it may also provide information such as the first theatre of war he served in, and when and if he was discharged because of injuries.
The medal cards are now also available online from the National Archives at www.documentsonline.nationalarchives.gov.uk There is a fee to download each card.
For medal entitlement after 1924, apply to:
Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA)
MOD Medals Office
GL3 1 HW
Joint Personnel Administration Centre (JPAC) Enquiry Centre:
Telephone: 0141 224 3600
Veterans Freephone: 0800 085 3600
Proof of loss of medals is usually required for replacement medals.
Details of awards for gallantry can be found online at www.londongazette.co.uk
Soldiers killed during the First or Second World Wars
For grave location and information on unit, and date of death, contact:
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)
2 Marlow Road
Telephone: 01628 634221- Ask for Register Enquiries
A searchable database is available at www.cwgc.org
The publication 'Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919, Part 13. The King's (Liverpool Regiment)', (HMSO 1920) lists men by battalion with name; place of birth, enlistment and residence; number; rank; nature, date and theatre of death.
A roll of soldiers who died during the Second World War is available in 'The Story of the King's Regiment (Liverpool), 1914-1948' (Lt Col JJ Burke-Gaffney,1954).
Regiments are comprised of battalions. Each battalion consists of (in wartime) about a thousand men who would serve in different locations. If you want to find out what a soldier's unit did, you need to know with which battalion he served.
In which battalion did he serve?
First World War:
Forty-nine battalions of the King's (Liverpool Regiment) were in existence during the First World War, although the chances are that your soldier was in one of three basic types: Regular, Territorial or New Army.
1st, 2nd, 3rd (Reserve) and 4th (Extra Reserve). The Reserve Battalions were made up from recalled Reservists. The 1st Battalion served in France from 4 August 1914, and the 4th from 6 March 1915. The 2nd Battalion remained in India throughout the War, while the 3rd Battalion remained in the UK.
Six territorial battalions existed before the outbreak of the First World War: 5th, 6th Liverpool Rifles, 7th, 8th Liverpool Irish, 9th and 10th Liverpool Scottish. In 1914 these battalions accepted new recruits to expand to war strength. In September and October 1914 all of these battalions formed new second line battalions which were numbered 2/5th, 2/6th etc, and the original first line battalions became 1/5th etc. The first line battalions went to France in late 1914 and early 1915, while the second line battalions went to France in February 1917. Third line battalions, 3/5th etc, were formed in May 1915, but they remained in the UK.
The New Armies were the result of Lord Kitchener's appeals for mass voluntary recruiting in 1914-1915 and were known as 'Kitchener' or 'Service' battalions. The 11th - 14th (Service) Battalions were formed between August and October 1914 and went to France between May and September 1915, with the 15th and 16th as Reserve Battalions, which did not go to France. The four famous Liverpool Pals Battalions, numbered 17th - 20th Battalions, were recruited between August and October 1914 by Lord Derby and went to France in November 1915. Generally speaking, blue-collar workers joined the 11th - 16th Battalions and white-collar workers, especially the shipping, insurance and brokerage clerks, joined the Liverpool Pals 17th - 20th Battalions.
Second World War:
Accounts of the activities of the battalions during the Second World War are found in 'The Story of the King's Regiment (Liverpool), 1914-1948' (Lt Col JJ Burke-Gaffney, 1954).
The 1st Battalion took part in the 2nd Chindit Operation in Burma, 1944.
The 2nd Battalion served in Italy from 1944.
The 5th Battalion landed in Normandy on D-Day in 1944. It was then reconstituted as part of Technical Force [later 2 Technical Force] and took part in the advance into Germany and Denmark.
The 8th Battalion landed in Normandy on D-Day and was disbanded in July 1944.
The 13th Battalion took part in the first Chindit Operation in Burma in 1943.
King's Regiment sources at the Maritime Archives and Library, Merseyside Maritime Museum
The following sources are available at the Maritime Archives & Library in the Merseyside Maritime Museum. The archives are open Mondays and Tuesdays, 10.30am to 4.30pm (closed 12.30–1.30pm and Bank Holidays) - Telephone 0151 478 4424. Admission is free. Material at the Maritime Archives & Library is available for reference only, not for loan purposes.
Remember that most published books will also be available via the inter-library loan service from your local public library.
General books and published histories:
Army Service Records of the First World War, 2nd Edition, S Fowler et al, the National Archive, London, 1998. Very useful guide to the records available at the National Archives, where the bulk of surviving service records is preserved.
Historical Records of the King's Liverpool Regiment (R Cannon, 1904). History of the Regiment from 1685 to 1903. History of the Regiment from 1685 to 1903. Contains biographies of officers with dates of commissions and promotions.
The History of the King's Regiment Liverpool, 1914-1919, E Wyrall (3 Vols, 1935, reprinted 2002). Covers all battalions in quite good detail for specific attacks. Contains maps of the principal operations.
The Story of the King's Regiment (Liverpool), 1914-1948 (Lt Col JJ Burke-Gaffney, 1954). Less useful for the First World War, but with more detailed accounts of the Second World War and with a roll of soldiers killed in the Second World War, with maps.
History of the 55th Division, 1916-1919 (JO Coop, 1919). A history of the West Lancashire Division, which included the first line King's Regiment Territorials, 1/5th - 1/10th Battalions.
History of the 2/6th (Rifle) Battalion "The King's" (Liverpool Regiment) (E Wurzburg,1920). Detailed history including roll of all ranks, with maps.
The Story of the "9th King's" in France (EHG Roberts, 1922). History of 1/9th and 2/9th Battalions.
The Liverpool Scottish, 1900-1919 (M McGilchrist, 1930). Detailed history of 1/10th and 2/10th Battalions, including roll of all ranks, with maps.
History of the 89th Brigade, 1914-1918 (FC Stanley, 1919). A history of the Liverpool Pals Brigade (17th - 20th Battalions) by the Brigade Commander.
The Liverpool Pals (G Maddocks, 1991). Detailed illustrated history of the 17th - 20th Battalions in the First World War. Also contains honour roll and places of burial for soldiers who died.
Difficulties Be Damned: The King's Regiment 8th 63rd 96th, A History of the City Regiment of Manchester and Liverpool (P Mileham, 2000). Well illustrated single volume history of the Regiments that amalgamated in 1958 and the King’s Regiment. Good for background information and currently the only source for post-1945 conflicts.
Bravest of Hearts, The Biography of a Battalion, The Liverpool Scottish in the Great War (H Giblin (with David Evans and Dennis Reeves) 2000). Successor to McGilchrist's history with a great deal of information on individual soldiers, including medal citations, biographies and hundreds of portraits of individual soldiers.
Battalion war diaries:
These typed copies contain a daily record of the activities of each battalion. Officers will be frequently mentioned, other ranks less so. The originals of all War Diaries are held at the National Archives.
First World War Battalion War Diaries. Copies of most of the diaries are available.
Second World War Battalion War Diaries. Copies of the following diaries are available:
2nd Battalion, April - December 1944
5th Battalion, January - December 1944
5th Battalion, January - December 1945
8th Battalion, Vol. 1, January – August 1944
8th Battalion, Vol. 2, Appendices for July 1944
13th Battalion, January - June 1943 [First Chindit Expedition]
Archive rolls available:
The South African War Casualty Roll, The "South African Field Force", 11th October 1899 - June 1902 (1982). Boer War casualties for all units, including wounded.
The Cross of Sacrifice, Officers who died in the service of British, Indian and East African Regiments and Corps, 1914-1919, (SD and DB Jarvis, 1993).
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919, part 13: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) (1920).
The Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1914-1920 Citations. Includes date published in the London Gazette.
The Monthly Army List (December 1914, July 1915, August 1916, April 1917, November 1918). Listing all officers in the Army by battalion.
1st Battalion The King's Regiment Register of Prisoners of War Lost since August 22nd 1914. First World War PoWs. Copy of roll with date of capture, camps, next of kin and details of parcels sent (photocopy of original).
1/6th Battalion (Liverpool Rifles) Casualty Books. Three volumes containing service details (not personal details) of all ranks, wounded between 1915 and 1918.
Next of Kin Rolls of the Liverpool Pals (17th - 20th Battalions), c1915, 4 Vols.
Cunard Clerical Staff by Land and Sea. Roll of staff serving with the Forces in1916.
Bootle Roll of Honour. Photographs of Bootle Men Killed in the Great European War. A list produced in August 1916. The complete list is at Bootle Town Hall.
Recipients of the Military Medal in the King's (Liverpool Regiment) during the First World War. Includes some details, but not citations, which have rarely survived.