WWI soldiers’ wills
The National Archives holds over 9,000 wills of enlisted and non-commissioned soldiers from the thirty-two counties of Ireland who fought in the British Army in the First World War. The entire collection of wills has been digitised and is available free of charge on our Genealogy Website.
Soldiers serving in the army were encouraged to make wills so that in the event of their death, it simplified the settling of their affairs. If a soldier did not make a will, or the will was lost, the War Office sometimes accepted a letter written by the soldier where he had stated who he wished to inherit any money or property he had. Letters written after a soldier’s death by comrades, family or friends testifying that he had stated in their presence who he wished to inherit his effects, were also submitted to the War Office.
Many of the men who died can also be located in the 1901 and 1911 Census. The website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission includes the names of each of the deceased soldiers and records where they are buried, or commemorated on a memorial.