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With the colours

The book 'With the colours; a list of Chartered and Incorporated Accountants and their Clerks who are serving with the British Forces on land and sea, 1914-1916' reproduced the lists of names previously published in The Accountant.

The list includes the names of 4,479 men who joined the colours prior to March 1916. Each entry states the name of the individual, their firm and the force they joined. The list is annotated where individuals were known to have been killed, had been wounded or were listed as missing.

A-Z of chartered accountants, incorporated accountants and their clerks

The main sequence of the book lists chartered accountants, incorporated accountants and their clerks by surname (excluding Scottish accountants, who were listed separately).

The book lists chartered accountants, incorporated accountants and their clerks by surname (excluding Scottish accountants, who were listed separately).

A-Z of Scottish chartered accountants and their apprentices and clerks

A separate listing of Scottish chartered accountants and their apprentices and clerks was published at the end of 'With the colours' which provides the name of each individual, their rank and the force they joined. It does not give the name of the firm they worked for.

Why is this source important?

Many of the service records that would have been used to establish the service history of individual soldiers were destroyed in a bombing raid on the War Office in 1940. To overcome this gap, researchers have turned to other sources such as campaign medal rolls and absent voter lists to establish the units that individuals served with. We hope that this online version of 'With the colours' will provide an additional source to help researchers.

To find out more about the resources available from the National Archives to trace individuals who served in the forces during the First World War, please see the guide to How to research military history on the National Archives website.


How was the information in the book compiled?

The book pulled together information from lists published in The Accountant on an irregular basis between September 1914 and February 1916. There were a few differences between the book and the original lists, which helps explain the differing degrees of information available in the book.

The original lists reflected the initial rank on joining the colours with some updates on promotions provided in subsequent lists. In November 1915, the editors of The Accountant asked readers to update the information previously supplied for the book they were preparing. The book was carefully revised and brought up to date, ready for its publication by Gee & Co. in 1916.

The book was reviewed and advertised for sale in The Accountant on 17 June 1916.

Articled clerks

The first sequence of lists to be published in The Accountant started on 26 September 1914 and covered ICAEW articled clerks.

The information for this sequence was supplied by the Secretary of the Institute and did not generally include a firm name.

Chartered accountants and non-articled clerks

The second sequence of 24 lists to be published in The Accountant started on 17 October 1914 and covered chartered accountants and non-articled clerks. The last list in the sequence was published in the issue of 19 February 1916.

The information for this sequence was provided by readers of The Accountant who were asked to supply “a complete list of the names of all those persons who have joined the colours from their respective offices” (The Accountant, 19 September 1914).

Subsequent issues of The Accountant acknowledged the likelihood that the list was incomplete, asking readers to help them reach the many young chartered accountants working in business who had enlisted or been called up with their territorial units.

Each edition of the list was broken down by category, separating out ICAEW chartered accountants, incorporated accountants and Irish chartered accountants – along with their clerks. For the book these were amalgamated into a single list. The lists of Chartered Accountants included those who had passed the final examination but had not yet been admitted (usually noted with a symbol).

This sequence also covered non-articled clerks from chartered accountants’ offices, stating which firms they worked for (including those with articles which had expired).

The original lists for this sequence appeared in the following editions of The Accountant: 17 October 1914, 24 October 1914, 7 November 1914, 14 November 1914, 5 December 1914, 12 December 1914, 9 January 1915, 23 January 1915, 13 February 1915, 20 March 1915, 17 April 1915, 22 May 1915, 26 June 1915, 7 August 1915, 9 October 1915, 30 October 1915, 6 November 1915, 27 November 1915, 4 December 1915, 11 December 1915, 18 December 1915, 25 December 1915, 15 January 1916 and 19 February 1916.

ICAEW staff

Although this was not included in the book, the 26 September 1914 edition of The Accountant also included a short list of ICAEW staff to have joined the colours, comprising:

  • Cosmo Gordon, M.A., Librarian;
  • W. G. Vincent, Clerk;
  • J. A. Brown, Clerk;
  • G. Spencer, Hall Porter.

Discrepancies and errors

The compilation of the original lists was not without error. It must have been challenging to keep all the information up to date.

Some erratas were published in The Accountant, correcting earlier lists, with these entries fixed for the print edition. However, in the course of transferring the data to a single file we spotted some discrepancies that suggest further errors occurred in the preparation of the printed edition in 1916.

It is sometimes possible to cross-check discrepancies with the original lists, although these can also reflect recognised changes (e.g. promotions or transfers from earlier postings).

Sydney J. Pybus

The entry for Sydney J. Pybus. ASAA who worked at the City Accountants’ Dept. Hull appears to have been mixed up by the compilers with the entry below it:

Pybus, S.J. A.S.A.A.
City Accountants’ Dept., Hull.
Queen’s Own Royal Regt., Stafford-

Pye, J. M.
Campbell & Jordan (Wolverhampton)
Queen’s Own Royal Regt., Stafford
shire Yeomanry

The original entry, in the first list of names published in The Accountant on 17 October 1914 (p436), shows:

Pybus, S.J. A.S.A.A.
City Accountants’ Dept., Hull.
Hull Batt. East Yorkshire Regiment.

The list has been corrected to reflect this (after verification with his medal card).

Steward J. A. / Stewart A. L.

The text of these lines appears to have been mixed up. The entry for these individuals in the book reads:

Steward, J. A.
Arthur J. Hill, Vellacott & Bailey
10th Royal Irish Rifles

Stewart, A. L. (Lieut.).
Viney, Price & Goodyear (London) (Belfast).
6th Batt., London Regt.

The original entry in the third list, published in The Accountant on 7 November 1914 (p539) reads:

Stewart, A. L. (2nd Lieut.).
Arthur J. Hill, Vellacott & Co. (Belfast)
10th Royal Irish Rifles

We are looking for further information on these entries before making corrections to the list

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