PREVIOUSLY unseen records on the oldest ­regiment in the British Army are being released today, including intriguing tales from its involvement in the First World War.

The records from the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) date from 1848-1922 and include the service of actors, artists and Olympians in the Great War, as well as intriguing information about the company's mascots including a tortoise.

The records, selected from the HAC's archives, are being made available online today by family history website The HAC is the oldest regiment in the British Army, dating back to a charter granted by Henry VIII in 1537. It is now a reserve company, its soldiers trained as intelligence specialists.

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Records reveal some of the men who joined the HAC, including actor John Laurie, best known for his role as Private James Frazer in the TV sitcom Dad's Army.

The records also reveal a mascot tortoise was tied to a battery gun for safe keeping during the Battle of Gaza in April 1917 but died as a result of enemy shelling.