Did your ancestors lose their lives while serving in the Army or Air Force between 1850 and 1986? Discover the details of their last wishes with this index of wills, covering all of the major modern conflicts in British history.

Each record includes an indexed entry that can enable you to order a copy of the original will from the official government website. The index includes:

  • Surname
  • Forename(s)
  • Regimental number
  • Date of death

The original records, if ordered, can contain a wealth of additional detail in the soldier’s own handwriting, including next of kin, regiment, property owned by the individual and more.

These wills were written by privates and non-commissioned officers who served in the Army and Air Force, collated by the War Office.


Soldiers on active service were encouraged to make a short will, which must be in their own handwriting and signed. This would give names and addresses of beneficiaries and all sums and articles to be left. This was usually completed in their pay book, and if they were killed, it would be extracted and sent back to the War Office.


The majority of these wills were extracted from pay books, but a number have been written as formal wills, statements from next of kin to confirm last wishes, or letters that express similar sentiments. These can also be found in this collection.