Shropshire Routes to Roots
|Routes | World Wars | A family at war|
3. The Higley family
How do we identify individual soldiers?
Private Frederick Higley, who was born in Shrewsbury, joined the 5th Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry as part of the "First Hundred Thousand", the first group of volunteers who answered Kitchener's call. His cousin, Private A.P. Higley (known as Percy) joined the 6th Battalion. The 6th Battalion was known as "the Pals", because many friends joined at the same time. He's probably in this photograph (opens in a new window) taken in the Quarry, Shrewsbury. We know even more from our documents about another cousin, Private Wilfred John Higley, who was born in Oswestry. Wilfred Higley joined the Army Service Corps, the part of the British Expeditionary Force which supplied the men in the front line.
The families and communities were generally proud of their men joining up, their names and pictures were often published in the local newspaper. Look at the images of the Shrewsbury Chronicle above and see if can answer the following questions. Bear in mind that we've found three cousins at war, all with the same surname;
The Service Number
We must be careful when researching individual soldiers, particularly if they had a common surname. The best way to distinguish between individual soldiers is to find out their unique identification number which were issued to them when they joined the services. If they were in the army, this was called their Regimental or Service Number.
The document above contains the service number for Private W. J. Higley, ASC.
The Service Number allows us to find individual soldiers using a large range of sources. We'll find out about some of these resources later on.
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Page created October 2003 and last updated 30 July 2007