Why choose Unknown Soldier?
The chief researcher has served with the British Army and has first-hand knowledge of its structure, traditions, history and how it operates. His many years of police service also mean he has a lot of professional experience in investigative matters and he brings this professionalism and experience to his research. He uses the same methodical and meticulous approach he practised as a police officer to unearth clues and find facts in every enquiry he researches. He knows how to assimilate information and present it comprehensively in report form to provide a lasting record of the subject he is researching. His passion for military history and his understanding of soldiering is evident in his work and the stories he uncovers are told with empathy and great attention to detail.
How and when do I pay for the research?
There are two forms of payment we accept for our services. Payment can either be made by bank transfer (BACS) or by cheques sent through the post. We are unable to accept cash through the post or process credit or debit card payments over the phone. All cheques have to be cleared before we can proceed with the enquiry and this normally takes 3 to 4 working days. All payments must be made before any work is undertaken on the enquiry.
Which sources do you search?
A comprehensive search protocol will be applied to every soldier research enquiry. This involves searching census records, army service records, army pension records, medal indexes, muster rolls, operational records, honour rolls, casualty records, newspaper archives, gazette listings, death records and details of burial or commemoration where relevant. These sources are referenced throughout any subsequent report. In the event of a negative result, a full list of all sources searched will be made available to the enquirer upon request.
How long does the initial search take?
The initial search for the existence of records pertaining to the subject of the enquiry takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to complete. However, due to the fact that there may be a large number of enquiries being submitted at any one time, it may take 2 to 5 working days for the results of the initial search to be passed on to the enquirer.
How long will I have to wait to receive my finished report?
Each enquiry will be unique and therefore it is impossible to state exactly how long it will take to complete. Some enquiries are a lot more complex than others. Those which don’t involve soldier research may require a quick search of a particular source or archive and can be dealt with in a matter of a few hours. Other such enquiries may take longer.
Most research, particularly individual soldier research, can take several weeks before the final report is ready. An estimate of the time will be made known to the enquirer after the results of the initial search are known. This is based upon the amount of information available about the soldier concerned and the enquirer's specific requirements. Please note that some may take longer than stated but the enquirer will be contacted periodically and informed of the current status of their enquiry so they are kept up to speed on its progress.
Can you guarantee a positive search result?
Unfortunately there are no guarantees on a positive result to any search. In some cases there will be no trace of a soldier whatsoever. There are many reasons for this. It could be that his records have been misplaced, lost or destroyed. It could be that the soldier served under a different name or his records contain erroneous information. Sometimes the original information held by the enquirer will have been erroneous. Whatever the reason, there are always occasions when an enquiry turns up nothing.
Can you guarantee an extensive report every time?
Unfortunately there are no guarantees as to the amount of information available about a particular soldier or enquiry. Some records are far more extensive and informative than others. In some cases there is the bare minimum to work on and in others a whole picture can emerge about a soldier’s life and service. Our pricing policy is based upon the amount of time taken to research and complete the report and not on the product itself.
How much will it cost?
The cost of each enquiry will vary according to the length of time it takes to fully research and complete. The initial search is charged at £40 for all First World War soldiers and £60 for all soldiers who served prior to 1914. For more information see Our Prices page.