Over half a million British military records covering 100 years of the British militia – the forerunner of the British Army – have been published online on FindMyPast.co.uk.

FindMyPast.co.uk has just launched Militia Service Records 1806-1915 in association with the National Archives. This collection, searchable and online for the first time, contains 580,281 soldiers’ records with 2,223,510 associated images.

These are fascinating and detailed records offering a slice of life about the men who joined the Militia (think of it as a precursor to the modern Territorial Army). Find out details of the regular jobs the men held, information about their British military career and personal details including physical appearance.

The records colourfully portray what the British militia looked like, detailing the height, weight, chest size, complexion, eye colour, hair colour and distinctive marks of each recruit. Arthur Wilson’s distinguishing marks included an acrobat and dots tattooed on his left forearm. Similarly, Albert Smith, born in India, was recorded as having teeth that were ‘defective but enough for mastication’.

Although not including this latest release, FindMyPast.co.uk have produced a video which guides you through their other British military records.