Afghanistan veteran with medals and child
24 July 2014

SSAFA's 1914 records tell unique story about the Home Front

SSAFA have made many of our 1914 records available to search online. The digitised records are an important social history resource for anyone interested in the Home Front.


SSAFA's 1914 records tell unique story about the Home Front

As the only military charity working on the Homefront across the UK at the start of World War One and still operational today SSAFA has made some of its 1914 records available online.

Most UK towns are listed with details of committee members, the number of people helped, the types of cases, and the individual local benefactors. The SSAFA records are an important social history resource that offers an unseen perspective on the impact of WW1 and the hardships it imposed on the wives and children left behind.

The digitised records reveal SSAFA’s extraordinary achievement, mobilising some 50,000 volunteers across the UK and assisting more than 1 million people in 1914.

Established in 1885, SSAFA, then the Soldiers and Sailors Families Association, was called in by the British government during the first few days of WWI to care for the families of those who went to fight. The work of SSAFA was vital in encouraging men to volunteer for the front assured that their families would not become destitute whilst they were away.

The documents online also include reports from the charity’s national committee, which offer a fascinating insight into the issues faced when coordinating a ‘volunteer army’ and contending with such, then, controversial topics as unmarried mothers.

The records are held in an online searchable database and are free to access.

Visit 1914.ssafa.org.uk to look to find places and people from your local community.