This Day In History

1704 War of the Spanish Succession. Anglo-Dutch fleet under Admiral George Rooke, in which detachments of Saunderson’s Regiment (later 30th Foot and then 1st East Lancashires) are serving as Marines, completes the capture of Gibraltar from Spain. The Rock is then ceded to Britain when the Peace of Utrecht brings the war to an end in 1713.
During the morning, German troops invade neutral Belgium. At 2 pm Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey instructs the British Ambassador in Berlin to tell the German Government that unless an assurance to respect Belgian neutrality is received by midnight Central European Time (11 pm in Britain), a state of war would exist between the two countries. At 7 pm the 1st East, 2nd South, and 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiments are ordered to mobilise and prepare to deploy to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force - the Old Contemptibles. At 10.45 pm the King convenes the Privy Council in Buckingham Palace for the purpose of authorising the declaration of war. They wait until 11 pm, and when Big Ben strikes the hour, the country is at war. The vast crowd which has gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheers wildly. 
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Other Research Sources

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency

The Service Records section of the SPVA website is perhaps the best place to start researching the records of any British servicemen.

Go to:

 Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)

2 Marlow Rd

Tel: 01628 634221


Maintains records of burials and commemorations of Commonwealth war dead in over 170 countries. The CWGC’s website includes a magnificent search engine which lists all the 1.7 million men and women from the British Commonwealth who died in the two World Wars. If you are researching someone who died on active service, this is the best place to start.

National Archives (NA)

Ruskin Avenue

Tel: 0208-876-3444

Web Site:

The NA holds the personal service records of soldiers and officers who served until 1920. Only a small percentage of the WW1 service records survive, the majority having been destroyed during WW2.

The NA also holds the following:

Pay Lists.
Muster Rolls.
Records of pensioners of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.
Medal Rolls for campaigns between 1793 and 1904.

Medal Index Cards (WO 372) and Medal Rolls (WO 329) for WW1, which lists the medals awarded to individuals and may confirm name, Army number, rank or Regiment, and the medal roll books in Regimental or unit order (1914 Star, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal and Silver War Badge.

War Diaries for WW1 and WW2.

Army Personnel Centre (APC)

HQ Secretariat
Historical Disclosures
Mail Point 400
Kentigern House
65 Brown Street
Glasgow G2 8EX

Tel: 0845 600 9663, option 1, then option 3

Web Site:

The APC Historical Disclosures Section holds personal service records of soldiers and officers between 1921 and 1997. For ex-Army personnel, or their widows/widowers, it can supply statements of service or confirmation of particular aspects of service from the records it holds. This service is free. It can also provide the same service for members of the family or other members of the public, subject to the consent of the next of kin and the payment of a fee.


During  Corona Virus Lockdown, our staff are still offering a limited family history research service from home. For details just e-mail: 

The Museum welcomes research enquiries and requests for information, including family history requests concerning individual soldiers. The fee required for this research is the primary source of funding the Archives and the Archive Research Service. However, before requesting a search, it is very important to note the following:

We only have a limited ability to carry out research on individual officers or soldiers as we do not hold the personal records of those who served. These are the property of the State. Those wishing to research personal records are advised in the first place to contact either the National Archives or the appropriate Armed Forces Personnel Centre. Those looking for an individual who was killed in either the 1st or 2nd World Wars should also check the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), where details of every British and Commonwealth soldier killed in action can be easily accessed.


Nevertheless information on many individuals can be provided if they were mentioned in Regimental Journals, battalion war diaries (WWI only) or other regimental documentation now lodged in the Archive. In addition, if the battalion is known, information can be provided on the movements, locations and activities of an individual’s unit at a given time, or even on a specific date. However, these details are not indexed and a search may take some time.

We are really only able to answer questions on soldiers who have served with the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, Lancashire Regiment (PWV), East Lancashire, South Lancashire, or Loyal North Lancashire Regiments, and of course the former Regiments of Foot, 30th, 40th, 47th, 59th, 81st and 82nd. Some archives of local militia and volunteer regiments have also survived.

Enquirers may carry out personal research in the Archives, and will be assisted by one of our dedicated but small team of Volunteers (See details below). However most requests are received by post. These are then also researched by a Volunteer. In either case, a research inquiry can take several hours to complete. If the search is for details of an individual soldier, IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT NO INFORMATION WILL BE FOUND. Nevertheless, because of the time which has inevitably been taken, the research fee will still be required. Please bear in mind that the fee does go directly to help fund the Archive.


We are not always able to answer all questions asked of us. Although we do hold perhaps the most substantial Regimental Archives in the country, we have never received all material relating to our constituent Regiments or to the soldiers who have served in them – but we will do our very best.

We are dependent on our small team of Volunteers to carry out postal request searches. As indicated above, each can take several hours to complete. At times there can be a heavy backload of requests, which are dealt with in strict order of receipt. Please therefore allow at least 12 WEEKS for a request to be completed. Although we would normally hope to complete a request more quickly, there will be occasions when, due to particularly heavy demand, it will take longer.



The Regimental Archive and the Archive Research Service is funded through donations and research fees. Cheques should be made payable to Lancashire Infantry Museum Account. Fees required:

a. Postal Search: (up to 1 hour) £30 + £20 for each subsequent hour or part thereof
b. Assisted Personal Search: for 1 day – £30 to include 1 hour of assistance, + £20 for each subsequent hour of assistance or part thereof
c. Additional Charges: Photocopying – invoiced when search complete.

A5 – 10p per copy
A4 – 10p per copy
A3 – 50p per copy

Please complete the Gift Aid Declaration  (CLICK HERE) and return it with your donation.




The Archive is open for assisted personal researches on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only, from 1000 to 1600 hours.

The Museum regrets that space limitations and the availability of volunteer assistance limits the number of personal researchers who can be accommodated. Of necessity therefore, personal researches must be very strictly by appointment only.

Please note that the Archive may have to close for lunch between 1230 and 1400 hours, please enquire on arrival.