Every tragedy can be defined by numbers. Sadly, the numbers that tell the story of the Great War beggar belief; such was the scale of the tragedy. Of course, there is some controversy among the facts. Seemingly, no two authors can agree on how many died in combat or how many were wounded, for example. The Infographic presented here is an attempt to summarise some of the numbers.
In the archive of First War Wills held by Iron Mountain on behalf of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Services, several numbers stand out.
Iron Mountain stores around 41 million wills on behalf of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service. The archive represents all the wills made in England and Wales since 1858. The more than 250,000 boxes that contain the will occupy some 160,000 cubic feet of the secure Iron Mountain facility where they are stored. That’s the equivalent of the volume of water required to fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Preserved in a temperature-controlled environment, the historical archive includes approximately 300,000 soldiers’ wills held in 1300 boxes. For obvious yet tragic reasons, the vast majority, 278,000 wills, date from the First World War.
Iron Mountain and Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service are working together to digitise the nation’s entire archive of war wills. The wills cover every military conflict in which British soldiers lost their lives, from the Boer War to the Falklands. The public can use an online portal to search for and order digital copies of the wills of 278,000 rank and file English and Welsh soldiers who fought and died in the First World War. The significant change in the way the wills can be accessed and viewed has made it easier than ever for the public to research what for many will be an important chapter in their family history.
Search Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service’s collection of WW1 war wills.