Our archives and sources

Editions of the Journal of the Institute of Bankers covering the war years © RBS

Editions of the Journal of the Institute of Bankers covering the war years © RBS

Archives are where companies, like many other organisations, keep unique records relating to their past. The documents they hold tell the story of a company’s history, how it developed and how it became what it is today.

The RBS Archive preserves historical records from more than 200 past British banks, as well as the present-day banks RBS, NatWest, Ulster Bank, Coutts & Co and Isle of Man Bank. Laid end-to-end, the Archive’s shelves would stretch for more than 6km. Among the records they hold are items spanning four centuries and ranging from the oldest banking ledgers in Britain to documents created just last week.

Over 5,000 items in the Archive relate to the period 1914-1918. These include letters, circulars, staff magazines, meeting minutes, photographs and drawings. There are also a few more surprising items, such as glass salvaged from a window that was broken in a First World War air raid and a tiny war savings lapel badge.

This Archive forms the basis for all the information you’ll find on RBS Remembers 1914-1918. Archivists have hunted through the records to uncover the many stories of how RBS and its constituent banks coped and contributed during the First World War. Supporting information about the wider context, and about people whose stories are told here, has been drawn from numerous sources, both bibliographic and online.

What we have included has been dictated by the scope of our archive collections and the research we have been able to undertake elsewhere. We know that there is always more that could be said. We very much want users of the site to help us add to and improve both the content of RBS Remembers 1914-1918 and our knowledge and understanding. You can do that by contacting us or by using the comments boxes on particular pages.

Sources used on this site

RBS Remembers 1914-1918 is based largely on The Royal Bank of Scotland’s own extensive historical archive. You can learn more about the archive on RBS Heritage Hub.

The biographies of our Fallen were compiled from our own archives and a range of online sources including:

In addition, we have consulted many printed books and articles, as well as accessing a wide range of online material. We are grateful to the historians and other authors whose work has made it possible for us to compile this site.