Captain Blackadder, Lieutenant George and Private Baldrick, some of the most enduring comedy characters of all time, had real-life namesakes, it has emerged.

BlackadderThe Blackadder characters were...actually...real people.

The BBC comedy Blackadder, which covered four periods of history enduring with a series, set in the trenches, was invented by Richard Curtis, Rowan Atkinson and Ben Elton. However, it seems the trio's defining creations really did 'go forth' in World War I after a specialist military genealogy website traced real life counterparts of Captain Blackadder and his cohorts.  

Researches delved through six million military records to dig up the stories of Captain Robert John Blackadder, Private James Baldrick, Lieutenant Athelstan Key Durance George and Captain John Clive Darling. The characters were famously played on screen by Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Hugh Laurie and Tim McInnerny. 

BlackadderBlackadder spanned four time periods

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As well as having the same surnames and rank, all the men also served in the trenches. Captain Robert John Blackadder was born in Dundee, Scotland before graduating in Scots law from the city's University College.

The real Blackadder worked his way up before being promoted to the rank of Captain. He fought in the famous Battle of the Somme in 1916 and was awarded the Military Cross in 1918.

The real life Private Baldrick was killed just months after the outbreak of the war. He was brought up in Londonderry before working as a shop porter in Omagh. 

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BlackadderBlackadder is one of the best loved comedies of all time

Dominic Hayhoe, chief executive of Forces War Records, said: "We were uploading new information onto our database when we came across a Captain Blackadder.

"As fans of the television show, we wondered if we could find the military records of the other fictional characters' namesakes.

"So we challenged our team of professional researchers and military experts, who are all based in the UK so are familiar with the Blackadder series, to find them, which they did.

"The only person we haven't been able to track down so far from World War One is a General Melchett.

"But according to the military records we have, he makes an appearance in World War Two."

Blackadder ran from 1983 until 1989.