Researching KOSB Ancestors – Some Tips

The following page delivers some tips about conducting your own research into your relatives. The more information you currently have, the easier tracking down additional information will be.

The King’s Own Scottish Borderers team at the museum are able to conduct some research on your behalf and to carry that out we do ask for a donation to the costs involved of £20. We cannot guarantee the amount of information that we hold, however there is a cost in the time and effort looking through our sources and then presenting that information. Therefore the is fee is not refundable.

What can we find out? We are restricted in terms of what we can find, and are not a comprehensive source. Our archives and libraries do contain much detail on our former comrades but it should be noted that we do not hold service records.

When will I hear from you? We will aim to get back to you within 30 working days of receiving payment, and if we are likely to miss that 30 day period, we will inform you.

How do I request information? If you do wish us to undertake some research for you, please follow the link here. You will be asked to give information about the subject of your request and to send £20 via PayPal (for which you do not need a PayPal account). We will then look through our sources and provide you with an electronic or hard copy (only within the UK) of the results.

Alternatively, download a hard copy of our information request form and post it with a cheque for £20 made out to “The King’s Own Scottish Borderers Association” to:

Research Request:
The King’s Own Scottish Borderers Museum
The Barracks
Berwick-upon-Tweed
TD15 1DG

Remember, the more information you can give us, the more information we can find for you. It is very difficult to find information without at least a service number.

In any event, we wish you the best of luck and hope that if you decide to undertake your research personally, then the sources noted below will help you.

  • Most surviving records prior to 1920 are held at the National Archives.
  • Officers’ Records 1914-1921 are held at the National Archives.
  • Further information about Officers can be found in the Army Lists. The National Archives, National Army Museum and National War Museum of Scotland have virtually complete sets of these.
  • Most Service Records of Other Ranks 1914-1920 were destroyed in 1940. The surviving records are held at The National Archives (TNA), and are available online through www.ancestry.co.uk.
  • Records of Officers and ORs post-1920 are held at the Army Personnel Centre.
  • The Commonwealth War Graves Commissions has an on-line Debt of Honour Register.
  • A few Nominal Rolls are held in the KOSB Regimental Archives.
  • Digests of Services and some War Diaries are held in the KOSB Regimental Archives.
  • (World War I only). If you have your ancestor’s regimental number, it may be possible to ascertain in which Battalion(s) or other units he served through the Medal Roll for the British War Medal and Victory Medal. A copy is held in the KOSB Regimental Archives. There is also a Medal Index, copies of which are held in The National Archives and the National War Museum of Scotland, which is an alphabetical list of soldiers from all units who qualified for medals, and is more than 90% complete. TNA have now made this available on-line.

 

Useful Addresses

  • The National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office/Historical Manuscripts Commission) Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU (nationalarchives.gov.uk). There is an on-line catalogue, but if you wish to examine documents, it is usually necessary either to visit Kew in person, or to engage a professional researcher.
  • Army Personnel Centre Historical Disclosures, Mailpoint 400, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street, Glasgow, G2 8EX. Postal or online enquiries only (General Help Desk 0141 248 7890). For a fee (currently £30) the APC will undertake a search of the records (post 1920), and, if found, will provide a typed summary or photocopy of the Record Sheet. More details can be found on www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records/overview.
  • For information on medal entitlements, replacement medals etc. contact MoD at www.gov.uk/guidance/medals-campaigns-descriptions-and-elegibility
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission 2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 7DX (cwgc.org).
  • The Army Museums Ogilby Trust’s web site at armymuseums.org.uk provides a list of useful sources, addresses and bibliographies.
  • The London Gazette Archive is now accessible on-line at thegazette.co.uk. This provides the official record of awards and honours, promotions etc.
  • National Army Museum Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HT (nam.ac.uk).
  • National War Museum of Scotland Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh EH1 2NG. Tel. 0131 225 7534. The Museum’s Reference Library is available by appointment (tel. 0131 247 4409).
  • KOSB Regimental Archives The Barracks, Berwick-upon-Tweed (museum@kosb.co.uk). Access to the Archives is available by prior appointment. The catalogue to the Archives is available online through www.discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk .

Published Sources

  • ‘Records of the King’s Own Borderers…’ Ed. R.T. Higgins, London 1873. Covers the period 1689-1870.
  • ‘The History of the 3rd Battalion KOSB 1798-1908’ R.W.Weir, Dumfries 1918
  • ‘The KOSB in the Great War’ S. Gillon, London 1930. Regimental War History, 1914-1918.
  • ‘Borderers in Battle’ H. Gunning, Berwick 1948. Regimental War History, 1939-45.
  • ‘The Borderers in Korea’ J.F. MacDonald, Berwick ND.
  • ‘All the Blue Bonnets’ R. Woollcombe, London 1980. General Regimental history, 1689-1980. Contains a full bibliography to 1980.
  • ‘Always a Borderer’ I. Gale, Berwick-upon-Tweed, 2016. Pictorial history, taking the story up to 2006.
  • There are also Battalion war histories, 1914-18 and 1939-45.
  • ‘The Borderers’ Chronicle’ (1926 -), as well as providing an invaluable digest of Regimental activities, contains lists of new recruits, promotions, appointments, postings etc., and obituaries.