does anyone have index for British Army War Establishment in The National Archives?

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by sgtmitchell, Jul 18, 2022.

  1. sgtmitchell

    sgtmitchell Member

    Hello, everyone!

    I have found that the wartime British Army War Establishment is in the WO24 of the National Archives.( ... s/r/C14233) But I do not have the page number to request a copy.

    Does anyone have or know where I can find an index for the British Army WE of this document?
    Is there somewhere else I can order copies/scaned files of the British Army WE of WWII?

  2. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron


    A wide field ...
    The volumes normally start with an index. First volume is - depending on which year you want to start - in the 930-ies (e.g.: WO 24/932).

    If you tell me what you are searching for, I may be able to help. I should say that in the period between 1932 (start of the WE 1931 system) until the end of 1945, about 15,400 war establishments had been released.
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  3. sgtmitchell

    sgtmitchell Member

    Thanks for your help, Aixman!
    I have a few questions about the volumes of WO24.

    1) How many pages are in a volume in general?

    2) Is there some information by which I could locate each WE in every volume?

    For example, I want to order a copy of the WE II/1931/12F/1, and I know that it should be in the volume WO 24/937, but what I don't know is the page numbers for the WE, without which I cannot request a copy order.

  4. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    There's typically an index at the front of the W/E volume giving the page number. And typically there are hundreds of war establishments in a volume.

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  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    It might be easier to work the other way round. If we knew the item you were interested in someone would be able to find the correct reference. Probably a forum member will already have the war establishment table in which you are interested.

    The more commonly sought unit war establishment tables have been published, notably by Philson for the BEF and Kennedy for NW Europe. Other members have collections of the tables in photographic form. I have a lot myself.

    You have already had replys from the experts. Aixman and Lee.

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  6. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Last edited: Jul 18, 2022
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  7. Temujin

    Temujin Member

  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Well Done Temujin. I have a copy of this as I suspect do many forum members. Finding it is the problem.

  9. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    Mike (Trux), modest as he always is, forgot to mention his own precious work on this site:

    Trux 21st Army Group | WW2Talk
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  10. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Mike (Trux), modest as he always is, forgot to mention his own precious work on this site:

    Only because he never mastered links.

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  11. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    Somewhere(!), I have a photo of a trolley at TNA with the discouraging load of volumes for WEs from 1932 to 1945. I've posted it here on ww2talk but cannot find both at the moment.

    Once Mike showed me the way, I soon discarded my interest in contents for the bigger picture (which, when, where) by comparing the mentioned WE-volumes with the weekly published Army Council Instructions to get a complete overview of what had been released.
    Complete? - Well, theoretically.:unsure:

    At least, it can give not only the superseded predecessor WEs (as in the WEs themselves), but also the effective period and successor WEs (if any).

    For the two issues of II/12 F/(1+2) I can say that the untypically existed side by side (with War Office caveat) until 15.09.1942 when they were superseded by II/232/1 and II/233/1 respectively.

    Locating a special WE in an already detected TNA WO 24-volume might be possible from the volume's index, but this is not always possible.

    Each WE has an increment number of which Gary (Kennedy) has told me that it is used as "page no.", actually meaning the WEs no. in the volume to specify single WEs.

    IMHO it's a kind of a "adventure" to get hands on single WEs that way.

    I would start on the Trux pages to find the most common WEs for the second half of the war. If it is about divisional units Gary Kennedy's site (bayonetstrength mentioned above) is your target.

    To answer your question for the total pages of a volume: This depends on the time (of war) and might exceed 1,000 pages by far for a three months' volume.
    Trux likes this.
  12. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Thank you Mike……I have the same issue

    A side note, in LAC (Library and Archives Canada) they hold the Canadian WE’s……..which were basically British WE’s (in fact the Canadian WE’s tell you which British WE it comes from…..and then list the “sometimes” minor Canadian alterations (Like a dedicated vehicle to haul the units HOCKEY equipment……just kidding).

    Here’s a link to all the files they hold for WE’s, again Heritage Canadiana has no search engine…….so it’s looking thru every file for something.

    The files are quite large with 5000 pages per file not unusual

    1946 Army Central Registry - Héritage
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2022
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  13. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Example of a Canadian WE from one of the files at LAC

    This is a Canadian Anti Tank Regiment (HQ’s and 3 Batteries)









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  14. sgtmitchell

    sgtmitchell Member

    I'm much obliged for all your splendid help, Aixman, Lee, Mike and Temujin!:D
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