Leading family history website, Findmypast, has announced that they are making their entire collection of military records free for eight days to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

For those in Australia, from 6:00pm AEST, 27th June until 8:59pm AEST, 4th July 2016, all 65 million records within Findmypast’s “Military, Armed Forces and Conflict” category will be completely free to search and explore, providing family historians from around the globe the opportunity to uncover the stories of the military heroes within their own family.

And as an added bonus, all 265 million UK and Irish census records will also be free to search, allowing researchers to uncover details of their military ancestor’s civilian lives.

This will include free access to Findmypast’s vast collection of more than 32 million World War 1 records, including:
– Over 12.5 million British World War 1 records
– The most comprehensive collection of British Army service records both for WW1 and pre WW1 – these multiple page documents were released in partnership with The National Archives and are packed with fascinating biographical details such as the names and addresses of next of kin, physical descriptions and character references from commanding officers
– Exclusive Pals battalion records covering major cities including London, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
– Soldiers Died In The Great War 1914-1919 records
– Comprehensive, illustrated Victoria Cross records
– Over 1.5 million medal index cards, memorial rolls and roll of honour records
– Military tribunal records – the records of thousands of men who attempted to avoid conscription
– Military Nurses 1856-1994 records
– Over 25,000 British Red Cross records
– The most comprehensive British Naval collection available online
– The most comprehensive Royal Air Force collection online

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire between 1st July and 18th November 1916 on both sides of upper reaches of the River Somme in France. It was the largest battle fought on the Western Front with more than one million men wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

The first day of the action alone resulted in more than 58,000 British casualties, one third of whom were killed in action. This was followed by 140 days of horror in which hundreds of thousands of British troops fought and died in some of the worst conditions of the entire war.

If you’re not already a subscriber to Findmypast, use this opportunity to see what you can find using Findmypast’s extensive (and many exclusive) military records.