Soldiers Died In The Great War (S.D.G.W.): New Evidence for its War Office Origins via War Office Branch A.G.1 (R)

Note: The ‘Roll of Fallen Soldiers’ became Soldiers Died In The Great War (S.D.G.W.).

From National Archives (T.N.A.) WO 32/4821: General (Code 21(A)): Allotment of numbers to men; new scheme

Extracts from 7/1/1921

‘No. 1 Circular of 1921, issued to Officers in Charge of Records, containing Precis of Decisions, Notes and Information on Miscellaneous questions which concern Record Offices…

Sub No Reference number and date. Subject.
8 35/Gen.No./2207 (A.G.1.R.) Roll of Fallen Soldiers

Attention is directed to No. ? Circular Precis of Decisions etc. Sub. No. 224 of 28.6.20, No. 29 Circular Precis of Decisions etc.Sub.No 375 of 15.12.20 and War Office Circular Letter No. 35/Gen. No./2207/A.G.1.R. of 9.10.19.

2. Galley proof sheets have been received from Officer in Charge Records after revision, and are still found to contain many serious errors and omissions, and which show that the instructions contained in War Office memorandum referred to have not been fully complied with.

The following are some examples:-

(a) Rank and name omitted.

(b) Cause of death omitted.

(c) Place of death at home given instead of the word “home” only.

(d) Abbreviations used to describe Expeditionary Force with which serving at date of death other than as given in paragraph 9 of War Office Circular Memorandum referred to, this B.E.F. or M.E.F. etc. It is pointed out that M.E.F. might refer to either Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force or the former Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

(e) Decorations given other than those referred to in para.12 of the Circular Memorandum referred to.

(f) Men shewn under heading “missing” instead of being shewn as “K. in a”, vide para. 10 of the Circular Memorandum.

In some of the latter cases, on the matter being observed on, it came to light that the men so shewn should not have been included as they were no longer missing etc.

3. Officers in Charge Records, will therefore, take steps to ensure that before galley proofs are finally returned to them the particulars have been carefully checked. Otherwise as no machinery for further checking is available at the War Office, the result would be that proofs would be returned to the printers forthwith without the errors being amended. As the books are for sale for the public in the ordinary manner, it is obviously undesirable that any such error in a War Office official publications should be brought to notice by members of the public.

Sub No Reference number and date. Subject.
33 35/Gen. No./2207 (A.G.1.R.) Roll of Fallen Soldiers

Officers i/c Infantry Records will forward to the Secretary, War Office (A.G.1.R.) by the 12th instant a return according to the attached pro-forma showing the Counties and Towns which constitute the Territorial Areas of the Infantry Corps affiliated to their offices.

Corps. Counties and Towns which constitute the Territorial Area of each corps.

This information is required in order that the matter may be taken up by this office of inserting notices in the local press as the various parts of the “SOLDIERS DIED IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-18” are issued.


According to the Adjutant General of the Army in 1922 the only deliberate omissions were men shot at dawn and those who died after the lists were closed, in most cases in 1919 (there are far fewer entries in Soldiers Died In The Great War after 1918) (see C.W.G.C. Archive WG 219/4 Memorials to the Missing: Nominal Rolls & Battalion Ledgers: Lists of: Adjutant General to Henry Chettle Director of Records (5 April 1922)).