The museum has several thousand documents relating to the forming Regiments and to individuals who served in them. Some documents contain many thousands of references to individuals. Most documents were not created with the intention of making life easy for researchers. Generally, they were a requirement and yet another job to be done, whether in the trenches of the Western Front, the jungle of Burma or the boredom of a garrison posting in 19th Century India.
Few documents are in alphabetic order. Most, understandably, are in chronological order. To search such documents for references to an individual would be both time consuming and, through frequent handling, damaging to the documents themselves over time. We have gradually been publishing documents to minimise the need for access to original material. Examples include:
- Regimental Timelines - Available on this web site, the timelines are extracts from the regimental Digests of Service for our Regiments up to 1914. They help enquirers establish where our Regiments were stationed at a particular time.
- Battalion War Diaries - We have published transcripts of all available Battalion war diaries for both world wars for the Royal Berkshire Regiment and the Wiltshire Regiment. They are available for purchase through our on-line shop. WW1 diary transcripts are also available for viewing on this web site.
- WW1 Medal Rolls - We have published the medal rolls for WW1, five volumes for each Regiment, available for purchase through our on-line shop.
- Illustrated accounts of our Regiments, written by Martin McIntyre and published by Tempus Publishing. The accounts span five volumes, all available through our on-line shop.
If the information you seek cannot be provided by one of our publications or from information within this web site, you are welcome to send us your enquiry. Our volunteer who deals with enquiries relating to the forming Regiments is usually able to pinpoint the source of information that will answer an enquiry, or will know that the information requested is not in the archives.
Depending on the complexity of the enquiry and the availability of volunteers, it may take several weeks to construct a response; your credit card will not be debited until your reply is mailed to you. The volunteer archivist normally works a maximum of two days per week which may further increase the time taken before he sends a reply - which will come by post. No interim acknowledgement is sent to enquirers to inform them that their enquiry is being dealt with. This is equally true whether the enquiry comes by post or by E-Mail.
What We Ask of You
1. Only enquire about the forming Regiments, which are:
- The Royal Berkshire Regiment (including the 49th and 66th Regiments, the Militia and Volunteers)
- The Wiltshire Regiment (including the 62nd and 99th Regiments, the Militia and Volunteers)
- The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment.
- The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment.
- The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry.
2. Tell us what you already know. It will be a waste of time for us and a disappointment for you if we supply information you knew but failed to tell us. Please err on the side of telling us too much rather than too little.
3. Be specific in your enquiry. Think about what might be required to answer it. When filling in the form, please, unless you really do not know it, fill in the box saying which REGIMENT the person you are enquiring about was in. This is frequently omitted and results in the waste of hours of the Archivist's time!!
2. Preserving the Past
Many items in the archives are unique. In order to reduce the risk of damage to them, the museum will not normally provide copies of original documents or photographs. Requests for copies will be dealt with on an individual basis and the full costs of any work in producing copies would have to be met by the enquirer.
Museum staff will seek, in dealing with the enquiry, to provide complete and accurate information. However, the information can only reflect what is held in the archives, which may be incomplete or non-existent. For instance, the archives do not necessarily contain an individual's records but may have personal information through more general documentation. Please remember that not all research produces information. Also, in many cases a negative result takes longer to establish than readily available information.
The Wardrobe and Museum Trust is a private charity holding the collections and archives of the forming Regiments. The Trust pays for the maintenance of the Wardrobe, a Grade 2 listed building dating from the 13th Century, the conservation of the collection and archives, the employment of staff and all administrative costs associated with it. The Trustees believe that those who seek information should make a minimum donation of £25 towards the costs of providing the service but, if the work proves to be particularly time-consuming, the enquirer may be asked to donate a further sum. When filling in the form, please, unless you really do not know it, fill in the box saying which REGIMENT the person you are enquiring about was in. This is frequently omitted and results in the waste of hours of the Archivist's time!!
FOR ONSITE VISITS TO VIEW ANY ORIGINAL MATERIAL, PLEASE NOTE THAT WE CHARGE £50 PER SESSION.
Fees for research are levied on a not-for-profit basis and are used to fund the conservation and maintenance of the museum and its archives. The charge for an initial enquiry is £25.00, payable in advance. This is based on one hour of research for relevant information and the preparation of a helpful and if possible informative response. If there is more information potentially available and therefore more time is needed, you will be told in advance. This may result in a quotation for additional work.
You may prefer to send us your enquiry via post. You can download our postal enquiry forms below:
Summary and Donation Form (Required for both general and individual enquiries)
Once completed, please send them to our address as displayed on the visitor information page