This browse version of our Coldstream Guards collection allows you to virtually browse through registers held at the Coldstream Guards archive in Wellington Barracks, London. The archive covers the period 1800-1947 and there are many different types of registers with enlistment registers and discharge books being the most common.
Each record includes an image from original registers held by the Coldstream Guards. Those registers are:
• Casualties 1939-1947 • Courts Martials 1800-1815 • Decorations and Rewards 1914-1918 • Decorations and Rewards 1939-1948 • Discharges 1884-1947 • Enlistments 1884-1947 • Missing in Action 1939-1945 • Nominal Roll of 1st Battalion men serving in Sudan 1932-1933 • Officers’ Record of Services 1861-1915 • Shanghai Defence Force 1927-1928 • South African Campaign 1899-1902 • Succession Book of 2nd Battalion officers 1797-1926 • Succession Book of Officers 1826-1936 • Record of Campaigns 1854 to 1895
The amount of information listed varies, but the records may contain the following information about your ancestor:
Name Regimental and/or Army number Birth year Birth place Enlistment date Date of discharge and reason for it
There are close to 130,000 records contained within the registers in this Coldstream Guards collection. Some men will feature in multiple collections meaning that you may find an enlistment register record, casualty details, details of service in one or more campaigns, gallantry award details and details regarding the man’s discharge or death in service.
The collection begins in 1800 with a small collection of courts martial records and the punishments meted out. This was in the days long before flogging, as a punishment, was banned. We can only grimace now at the number of lashes awarded to men who had fallen foul of military and regimental law; and marvel at how the hapless individuals even survived their punishments.
The largest collections are those which give details of enlistments and discharges. Enlistment registers can be particularly rich sources of information giving details about where a man was born, his age on enlistment, next of kin details and campaigns served in. The British Army was always considered to be the home for the single man with marriage very much discouraged. Nevertheless, soldiers did marry, in particular those who decided to re-engage to complete 21 years, often ending their careers as senior non-commissioned officers (NCOs).
Enlistment registers were maintained by the regiment, into these books the details that had been entered on the man’s attestation paper. Next of kin details in these books – usually a parent – were entered in pencil and then erased overwritten in ink if the man decided to marry. If he wanted to marry ‘on the strength’ and have his wife and children also looked after by the regiment, there were certain criteria that needed to be fulfilled, and the regiment would also make enquiries to ensure the lady in question was reputable.
Here too, in this collection, you will find casualty details: men who were wounded, were recorded as missing, became prisoners of war or who lost their lives in the service of their country.
All of the records you see in this collection are published courtesy of the Trustees of the Coldstream Guards Charitable Fund and are housed in the Coldstream Guards archive at Wellington Barracks in London. Until recently, the regiment was also the custodian of Coldstream Guards service records, but these have latterly been deposited with the Ministry of Defence and can be requested from the MoD. Don’t forget, also, that Findmypast also published thousands of Coldstream Guards service records and is now home to the most complete collection of Coldstream Guards records from this prestigious regiment of Foot Guards.
The Foot Guards regiments all have different arrangements of buttons on their tunics which reflect their precedence. The Coldstream Guards buttons are grouped in pairs which reflects their precedence within the Foot Guards. The Grenadier Guards have single buttons evenly spaced, the Scots Guards have their buttons in threes, the Irish Guards in fours and the Welsh Guards in fives. Next time you watch 'The Trooping of the Colour' on TV (or in person). use this handy rule of thumb to identify the Foot Guards regiments.
Images are provided courtesy of the Trustees of the Coldstream Guards Charitable Fund
It sounds like an obvious thing to state but there may be information on an opening page that is not recorded on subsequent pages.