The Soldiers’ Small Book (Army Form B 50) was issued to British soldiers in the pre- and early-war period.
Part of it had to be filled in by the individual soldier and contained personal information and an ongoing record of his Army service, the rest contained useful information which a civilian might need on finding themselves a soldier for the first time. It is an excellent resource for historians as it can be read as a “How-To” guide to being a WW1 ‘Tommy’.
Topics include army protocol and skills such as how to carry out sentry duty and clean a rifle and also domestic topics such as how to wash clothes, cook and make a will.
The Small Book would have been carried in the top right pocket of the soldiers’ Service Dress jacket.
Whittlesey Museum has a copy of the Soldiers’ Small Book which belonged to Thomas Rawlings of Coates.