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Accountants in the First World War

A collection of articles and resources that can help with research into members of your family or firm who served during the First and Second World Wars.

ICAEW would like to take this opportunity to pay its respects to all those who have lost their lives in the service of their country and freedom in both world wars. On this page, we reflect on the contribution of accountants in past conflicts.

During the First World War 1625 members and 1803 articled clerks served, as well as the Institute's then Librarian Cosmo Gordon. 129 members and clerks were decorated for their gallantry, which included two Victoria Crosses. However, 510 members and articled clerks were killed in action, and in memory of the fallen a War Memorial was unveiled at Moorgate Place:

In 1922 a War Memorial in the entrance hall of the Institute was unveiled. It was in the form of two tablets inscribed with the names of those who gave their lives in the cause of freedom, and a brief ceremony of dedication was performed by the Dean of St Paul's, the Very Reverend W.R.Inge, C.V.O., D.D

Image of the WW1 memorial in Charted Accountants Hall
The World War One memorial in the entrance to Chartered Accountants Hall

Every year since 1922 a wreath has been laid in memory at the memorial.


Online resources

The ICAEW Library & Information Service has compiled a range of resources that can help with research into members of your family or firm who served during the First World War.

Further research resources

ICAEW List of Members

The Library & Information Service holds a copy of the ICAEW List of Members for 1919 which includes two lists of ICAEW Members and Articled Clerks (revised to 13th June 1919):

Other Lists

The Accountant

The Accountant published lists of accountants and clerks serving in the forces between 1914 and 1916, with updates listing promotions received by accountants serving in the forces. These lists were reproduced in the publication 'With the Colours' in 1916.

The Accountants' Magazine

The Accountants' Magazine published statistics of accountants serving in the war and regular listings of those serving. The first listing appeared in the November 1914 issue (pages 529-541) under the heading 'With His Majesty's Forces' and included members of the Scottish Societies of Chartered Accountants, their apprentices, and assistants who were serving in the forces. Subsequent lists added further names to those known to be serving from the Scottish Societies.

The Incorporated Accountants Journal

The Incorporated Accountants Journal published a series of lists recording the names of members, articled clerks and examination candidates who were serving with the Naval and Military Forces during the First World War. The lists record the individual's rank and unit as well as the firm they worked for (or the member that a clerk was articled to).

The Institute of Book-Keepers' Journal

The Institute of Book-Keepers' Roll of Honour 1914-1918 was published in the September 1920 issue of The Institute of Book-Keepers' Journal (pages 84-85).

Financial Circular

Financial Circular, the journal of the Institute of Municipal and County Treasurers and Accountants (IMTA), published a series of lists under the banner ‘Officers serving with the Colours’ which named members of staff from the finance departments of local authorities who were serving with the Colours. The lists were published from June 1915 until April 1916 and recorded the individual’s name, authority, position (in authority), rank and regiment.

A roll of honour was also published in Financial Circular from August 1915 until February 1916 to record those members of the finance departments of local authorities who had given their lives in the service of their country. The April 1920 edition also reproduces the text of the Midland Students' Society Roll of Honour.

Staff bulletins

Some firms also published their own private circulation newsletters, e.g. The Forty One's Bulletin (Turquand, Youngs & Co.) and Staff War Bulletin (Price, Waterhouse & Co.) which were occasionally mentioned in the The Accountant (these two bulletins were named in the issues for 12th June 1915 and 17th July 1915 respectively). The ICAEW Library & Information Service does not hold any bulletins of this type.

An article about the centenary published in the November 2014 edition of Economia included extracts from the staff bulletin 'Budget' which was published by Cooper Brothers between February 1915 and the end of the war.

Further information

The details for this article were taken from The history of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, 1880-1965, and of its founder accountancy bodies, 1870-1880 by Sir H.G.Howitt (Heinemann, 1966) which tells the full story of the ICAEW up to 1966 in 269 pages, with further details of the role Chartered Accountants played in both wars.

To find out more about the resources mentioned in this article contact the Library & Information Service.

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