North Wales Absent Voters Lists 1918 - 1921
The lists are the work of Dyfed James, compiled from original public domain documents held in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. Compiled and published in gratitude to and in memory of those men and women on this list, and to those who did not return, who have paid the ultimate price.
Absent Voters’ Lists
The lists contains the details of North Wales residents who were serving in the armed forces and away from home in mid 1918, who were eligible to vote in the General Election of that year. The list is almost all men, but there are some women who were employed in nursing in the military, or in civilian hospitals.
The person’s name, address, service number, unit of the armed forces and parish is given e.g.
2112, Jones, John, Ty'rhos, &9880 Bomdr., 55th AA Co., R.G.A.
The two lists are ordered by Surname or by Parish, but either spreadsheet can be ordered by surname, by parish, or filtered by regiment and so on.
Importance of the lists
Service records for Great War veterans were stored by the War Office in Arnside, London, and the storage premises were severely damaged by fire bombing during the Blitz in 1940. Consequently, 80% of those service records were lost, and there is therefore in general, no way of identifying where and in what role a particular soldier served during that war.
Medal Index cards have survived, which will list soldiers’ names along with their ranks, service number and regiment, but these hold no addresses or any other personal details, so it is impossible to use that database alone to conclusively corroborate the identity of a soldier. Additionally, a Medal Index Card only exists if a soldier is on a Medal Roll for a regiment, and then only if he served in a theatre of war- generally overseas, or at sea. So, there is often no record of soldiers who have served in the UK in Depots or Garrison battalions, or in Agricultural companies, or in the Labour Corps.
The Absent Voters’ List solves many of these problems. It was compiled in the Spring to early summer of 1918, so any soldier serving at that time will be listed. Soldiers who had already died, will be commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). Soldiers who had been discharged because of wounds or illness will be recorded as having a Silver War Badge, and lists exist of their awards (but not their addresses). Pension records (Available online at Fold 3, or via the Western Front Association) however might fill in that missing detail.
We can now solve the problem of a researcher looking for “ John Jones of Anglesey” (all 161 of them ) and give an address, rank, service number & regiment for almost all of them.
There are two types of Excel files available: A list sorted by Parish (grouped into Polling Districts), and a list sorted by Surname.