The National Archives

The National Archives at Kew has expanded over recent years and now includes all material from the Public Record Office and the Family Records Centre. 

Census 1841 to 1911, England & Wales

The Census for England and Wales is taken every 10 years, starting in 1841.  Census data is available for 1841 to 1911.  Click here to see a list of all Parle recorded in each census up to 1901.


Information about WW1 Army Records is given below.


The National Archives Services

For full details of what is available see The National Archives website:


An online catalogue is on the NA website at: .

Please read the introductory notes carefully before using it.  This catalogue is a database of document references with descriptions of the documents and descriptions of the classes in which they are categorized and it does not contain images of documents themselves, only their reference numbers.





In order to carry out any research into individuals who served during the First World War it will help if you have any of the following information:

Name, Rank, Number and Regiment.

Most of the records of service for men who served in the ranks of the British Army during the period 1914-1920 were destroyed by enemy action in 1940. Commissioned officers records' however, were not amongst those destroyed.

Surviving records of service for those non-commissioned soldiers who saw service during the First World War are in two collections. One collection, known as the 'burnt documents' (WO 363), contains the records of service of 750,000 individuals and the other collection mainly comprises soldiers records who received an army pension (WO 364) which started during the1914 - 1920 period (See below).

To date we have received the initial set of the 'burnt documents' which comprised those surviving documents of soldiers whose surnames began with the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y & Z.

See The National Archives website to access the latest schedule of future releases of these records.

Until the filming is complete any enquiry concerning an individual soldier whose documents may have survived, but are not yet filmed, should be directed to the Ministry of Defence. The MoD will carry out a paid search of those burnt documents for which we have not received a copy. To obtain information regarding searches you should write to the address below:

CS(R)2b Army
Bourne Avenue


PENSION RECORDS (1914 TO 1920) WO 364

After the Second World War, in order that it could carry out its responsibilities, the MoD obtained records of NCOs and other ranks held by the Ministry of Pensions. there are approximately 750,000 records on 4,900 microfilm reels. the records concern men who claimed and were awarded an army pension between 1914 and 1920. The majority of these records are for those who survived until after Second World War. There are few for men who died earlier. The documents of soldiers who were granted an army pension after 1920 are retained by the MoD.


Records of Army Officers for the period 1914-1921/1922 are now available at the NA for public inspection. There are two sets of service records for Officers.

WO 374 an alphabetically organised series of 77,798 records of service,

WO 339 a numerically listed class of some 140,000 service records

WO 338 an index to WO 339 covering the period 1901 - 1922, (it also includes a list of old numbers for commissions between 1870 and 1901 and a list of medical officers who were commissioned between 1871 and 1921).

Some other details are available at the Public Record Office, in the form of the Army List, Regimental War Diaries and some records relating to Gallantry, in the London Gazette and Campaign Medal records.


The National Archives holds certain service medal and award rolls of the British Army in the First World War (record class WO 329), the information contained in the rolls and indexes to them is limited to what was required to record an individual's medal entitlement.

The rolls held here relate to the following medals and awards only:

1914 Star,
1914-1915 Star,
British War Medal,
Victory Medal,
Territorial Force War Medal
Silver War Badge.

They contain neither a full record of service nor personal details such as date of birth.


If an individual received a gallantry award or was Mentioned in Despatches, an announcement would have been made in the London Gazette, copies of which are available in the NA, and also in many main public libraries. However, apart from providing some information about the award, the London Gazette rarely contains any personal information about individual soldiers.

Please be aware that apart from some noted exceptions the citations for gallantry awards have not in general survived. Whilst we have copies of the London Gazette, and an entry will show the award, it does not generally give the reason for, or a description of the action, that resulted in the award.


The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has a web page where you can find out how to discover the burial ground of a soldier who died during the war, 


Records relating to operations during the First World War available at the National Archives include: Unit War Diaries (PRO class WO 95) and Trench Maps (PRO class WO 297).



Website by Michael A Parle

This page last changed on 11 November 2021