Skip to content
  • Start free trial

Vintage photos from World War 2 and beyond online for the first time

3-4 minute read

By Liam Kelly

8 May 2020
VE Day photos

We're marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day with an exciting release of rare wartime photos and a bumper collection of World War 2 records.

75 years on from Victory in Europe Day, two major wartime record collections have joined the site. Here are the details on what's new this week.

Our unique photo collection brings together original snapshots capturing the events of the Second World War and VE Day, as well as local news of sports, schools and life events.

Dogs in World War 2

The collection has been created in partnership with Mirrorpix/Reach PLC and also features photographs from Library and Archives Canada.

VE Day troops in France, 1945

The photos were captured by photographers who worked for newspapers which are a part of the Mirror Group, including shots from the following newspapers:

  • Liverpool Echo
  • Coventry Evening Telegraph
  • Birmingham Evening Mail
  • Birmingham Post
  • Manchester Evening News
  • Daily Mirror
  • Scottish Daily Record
  • Sunday Pictorial
  • Sevenoaks Chronicle

The Daily Mirror pioneered the use of photography in news reporting, re-launching as a daily picture paper in 1904 to serve an untapped market interested in more accessible photo-illustrated news stories. The success of its innovation led to many other publishers quickly following suit and in no time national and local newspapers across the UK were covering events large and small in both words and pictures.

Schoolboy footballers, 1970s

Historical photographs not only provide rare windows into the world in which our ancestors lived, but they also give the past a human face, allowing for far deeper connections with those who came before and a greater appreciation of the stories they left behind.

Explore this unique collection of World War 2 records, handpicked by our in-house military experts. It brings together over 15 million records from the Allied Forces. The collection includes service records, draft registrations, enlistment records and prisoners of war, as well as casualty lists, cemetery indexes, and rolls of honour from those who served during the Second World War.

These military records can reveal fascinating details for your family tree including:

  • Your ancestors’ soldier number
  • Their rank and regiment
  • Their attestation year 
  • Their date of death and where they were laid to rest

From the British Armed Services, the following record sets are included in the collection:

  • Army Lists 1939-1945
  • Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945
  • British Army casualty lists 1939-1945
  • Civilian casualties in Britain 1940-1945
  • Coldstream Guards 1939-1945
  • CWGC 1939-1945
  • Durham Home Guard 1940-1945
  • Faces of the Fallen
  • Honourable Artillery Company 1939-1945
  • Prisoners of War 1939-1945
  • Royal Air Force combat reports
  • Royal Air Force operations record books 1939-1945
  • Royal Artillery enlistments from 1910
  • Royal Tank Corps enlistments 1919-1934
  • Royal Welch Fusiliers 1920-1946
  • Scots Guards 1939-1945 
  • Scotland, Forfarshire (Angus), Dundee, DC Thomson Staff War Album 1939-1945

While from the American Armed Forces, you'll find:

  • US Servicemen in North Devon
  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania World War II Casualty Cards
  • National Veterans Cemetery Index
  • Louisiana Draft Cards, 1940-1959
  • Maine, Second World War Enlistment Record Index
  • Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Veteran Graves Index, 1775 - 2010 (pull just the relevant years)
  • Veterans with Federal Service Buried in Utah, Territorial to 1966 (pull just the relevant years)
  • World War II Army Enlistment Records
  • US National Archives World War II Army Enlistment Records, Reserve Corps Records Index, 1838-1946
  • Kansas, World War II Selective Service Index
  • Georgia, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1940 - 1942
  • US National Archives World War II Prisoners of War Index, 1942-1947
  • Duty Locations, Naval Group China, World War II, 1942-1945
  • World War II Prisoners of War
  • Massachusetts Index of Casualties, World War II

There's also a special 'Faces of the Second World War' collection from Canada.

This all adds up to a must-search collection of family records if you've got relatives who served World War 2.

Findmypast Fridays live

Findmypast Fridays Live 8 May 2020

Join us LIVE for a VE Day special broadcast

Posted by Findmypast on Friday, May 8, 2020

We'd love to hear about your discoveries in this week's special VE Day releases. Reach out to us on social media using #WhereWillYourPastTakeYou?