The National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918 Section XII Bedford & Northampton (14 Volumes) The Complete collection
The National Roll of the Great War is a unique series of 14 volumes of the First World War. The volumes were published by the National Publishing Company and are extremely rare. Each regional volume contains a brief biography of men and women who largely survived the Great War as well as the less fortunate and who did not. It is one of the few sources of information available to us about the War.
It is understood that the information came from those who fought and participated in the war, or their families and friends who paid for a listing. In these post war years it was unlikely that everyone would be able to participate in the National Roll or could afford to do so. "The National Roll makes no claim to being a complete book of reference - in fact no such record could be compiled - but it may safely claim to supply a wonderful memorial of splendid services, truly worthy of the thankful remembrance of a grateful Empire" stated the Editor.
The volumes are a valuable resource in finding out about individuals who served in the First World War and record the contribution and achievements of those involved and cover all sections of the armed forces. The records include nurses, drivers and civilian war workers, who worked in the munitions factories or in manufacturing of aeroplanes.
The National Roll is unusual in that many of the entries refer to combatants who survived the Great War although a small number of those remembered were killed or died of their wounds. The Roll contains over 100,000 people and is a useful resource when researching family military history as it records the contribution by the survivors, wounds inflicted, disease contracted or those discharged early.
A typical entry in the Manchester Roll is shown below and provides the individual's surname, initial, rank or position and regiment or unit: