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I would urge anyone with even scant information to try and search for their ancestor and the medal cards are a good place to start. Firstly a tip – don’t always rely on official records to hold the accurate details of a person you are searching for.Charles is incorrectly referred to as ‘C H Hunt’ on his 1914 Star medal card and also in a book by Major HVS Charrington MC, which details the 12th Lancers in France between 19.Charles is one of only 12 Commonwealth servicemen buried in this local graveyard and he is buried beside another man from his regiment, Private WW Totman.

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The action of 28 August 1914 is captured in a fantastic annex to the unit war diary detailing events of the battle.

Now that I had found his regiment and read about their actions in France in August 1914, I went in search of Charles in the British Army medal index cards 1914-1920 and found two medal cards for his 1914 Star and Victory medals.

At The National Archives we are busy planning our programme of activities to commemorate the centenary of the First World War in 2014.

With our unique and extensive collection of First World War records, from the official unit war diaries to medal cards and records of the men and women who served, we hold an invaluable resource for genealogists, historians, scholars and anyone interested in researching the history of this conflict or the people involved.

But my excitement at finding these cards was short-lived.

On the card for the 1914 Star is written ‘DOW 29/8/14’.

With the approaching centenary, at no time has it been more fitting to discover the people behind those old photographs and medals.

As the person overseeing this series, I thought it only fair to be the first to post. I joined The National Archives in July this year and am a keen (but very amateur) family historian.

I am by no means a military historian so excuse me if I get any Army terminology wrong in what I reveal about my ancestor.

For many years I was frustrated as trying to find any ancestors involved in the First World War led me down a dead end.

In this blog series, we will follow a group of volunteers from our staff as they embark on a voyage of discovery to trace their First World War ancestors using records held by The National Archives.

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