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The Norfolk Regiment Casualty and Sickness Book

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The Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum archive holds a unique record of many soldiers who were on active service with the regiment during the First World War. The large hardback volume, originally intended and printed as a recruitment register, has 400 pages, each recording 39 soldiers. Entries in the ledger are all made by hand, using pen and ink, and record casualty and sickness details for more than fifteen thousand soldiers of the 1st and 2nd regular battalions, and the 7th, 8th and 9th service battalions of the Norfolk Regiment.

Each entry records the individual soldier’s number, rank, name, and battalion or battalions. It then records against their name details of the casualty, sickness or prisoner of war status, including details of hospitalisation. The years covered run from August 1914 through to the early months of 1919 and the return home of prisoners of war. Some entries include details of wider interest, such as the place of burial immediately after death in battle that would, presumably, have come from sources other than routine Army Records Office printouts.

RM12409 norfolk regiment ww1

No other regiments appear to have such a record. The Regimental Depot in Norwich must have decided to make the record, and from the differing handwriting, it is plain that a number of clerks in the Regimental Depot Orderly Room were involved in the keeping of the record.

Centenary Project

There is already considerable interest in the Casualty Book, both from local family historians and historians of the Regiment but also from the wider First World War research community. However, one of the aims of this project is to provide access to the unique body of information in a way that appeals to the wider community, by providing context in an engaging way