26 March 2017

Regimental number research - Why all is not lost


At times, when it comes to British Army research, it can often seem as if Hermann Goering and the War Office were working hand in hand. 

Even before the Luftwaffe comprehensively destroyed millions of documents in an incendiary attack on the Army Records Store on Arnside Street in September 1940, the War Office had been systematically weeding and destroying soldiers' files for decades. The records that survive in the soldiers' pension files to 1913 in series WO 97 at the National Archives (and now on Findmypast) represent a tiny fraction of the paperwork that would originally have been generated. In the majority of cases a soldier's file may only contain his four-page attestation paper; that is, if a file survives at all.  Files only survive for those soldiers who claimed or might have claimed a pension. So if your ancestor died in service before 1913, forget about finding papers for him.


All of the riflemen listed above died whilst serving with the 3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade in India in 1898. None of these men has a surviving file because as deceased soldiers they were never going to be making a pension claim and therefore there was no need - so the War Office reasoned - for their files to be retained.  Furthermore, these men's names will not appear in the soldiers' effects registers held at the National Army Museum and published by Ancestry because these records only begin in (or survive from) 1901. In fact, the only evidence that these men ever served as soldiers at all will be found in regimental records if these survive or in medal rolls, if they were entitled to receive a medal. And these are big IFs. A full service record will not survive in regimental archives but names might appear in enlistment registers or Part II Orders if these have been retained by the regiments. The enlistment registers were disposed of by the Ministry of Defence many years ago but before they were all dumped into a skip, the MoD did at least give regiments the option to have them back. Many regiments took up this option and this is why, for instance, some have found their way on-line. Findmypast has now published enlistment registers held by The Royal Artillery, Royal Tank Corps and the Scots Guards, and others may follow.

In defence of the War Office and MoD, an un-weeded soldier's file could potentially contain hundreds of separate pages: a multitude of official army forms, correspondence and internal memoranda. If just one document had to be retained, the four-page attestation paper is the obvious candidate as it records the man's movements from attestation to discharge. It also contains details of where he served, medal entitlement, wounds, and next of kin. Finding the space to store hundreds of thousands of multiple-page files must have been a headache, and an expensive headache at that. 

Unidentified Rifle Brigade marksman

Returning to the Rifle Brigade deaths, above, burial records for at least some of these men have been digitised and appear within Findmypast's India Office collection. So we can see, for instance, that the first man on the list, J Ashworth, was 27-year-old Joseph Ashworth who died of "ague" on the 4th February 1898 and was buried the same day.

The sad reality is though, that there must be hundreds of thousands of soldiers for whom nothing tangible survives. All this, by way of a preamble to emphasise the importance of the humble regimental number.

Let's go back to Joseph Ashworth. His regimental number was 1572 which, looking at my database of regimental numbers, suggests that he joined the Rifle Brigade in Winchester on the 16th or 17th September 1891. He probably enlisted for a period of seven years with the colours and five years on the reserve and had probably been overseas since 1892 or 1893.  If a soldier was serving overseas when his period of colour service was due to expire, he served an additional year with the colours and reduced his reserve service by a year. This suggests that Joseph would, in the normal course of events, probably have transferred to the reserve in 1899 and would have been discharged from the army as a time-expired soldier in 1903. (Note, however, that Joseph would almost certainly have been recalled to the colours in October 1899 and sent to South Africa to fight the Boers).


The Rifle Brigade Chronicle will be useful here and I have just recently acquired a pretty comprehensive collection of these annual publications beginning in 1890 and running right up to 1965. These make nice companions to the King's Royal Rifle Corps Chronicle which begin in 1901 (and I also have a complete run of these from 1901 to 1914).

Just yesterday I completed a research project where all that survived for a First World War soldier was his medal index card and an entry in the British War and Victory medal roll.  By analysing his regimental number details (he had two numbers, one with the King's (Liverpool Regiment) and one with the RAMC), I was able to determine when he enlisted, when he would have been likely to arrive overseas, when he transferred to the RAMC and the RAMC unit he served with). This information is crucial because it then allows an individual to consult the relevant war diaries.

So, despite the best efforts of German airmen and Whitehall clerks, if a service record or pension record does not survive for your British Army ancestor, don't give up hope, there may still be a lot more to discover by digging deeper into his regimental number.

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19 March 2017

5th Dragoon Guards - PoW Other Ranks 1914


The following men were all serving with the 5th (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) Dragoon Guards when they became prisoners of war of the Germans on or before Christmas Day 1914. There are only 20 names on this list. Read more about this Prisoner of War data source on my 1914 PoWs page

This data has been transcribed from two separate lists (B.O.2 1/42  and B.O.2 1/50 inclusive) which are now housed at the Imperial War Museum. 

This is an edited list, giving number, rank and name only. The full transcription also includes date of capture and home address or next of kin address for most men. 


642 Private Morris Benbow 
4708 Sergeant William T Capps 
5368 Private Oscar E Carroll 
6353 Trumpeter Clifford C F Clifford 
Saddler Gibbs 
5228 Pte James Groves 
1310 Private A C Hamm Private Harrison 
7208 Lance-Corporal J J Maguire
3750 Lance-Corporal W Marlow 
7818 Private C E Mitchell Private Mitchell 
411 Private F Moors Private Moors 
7610 Lance-Corporal John Newson 
5475 Corporal Henry Paice 
3805 Corporal Jacob Peach 
633 Private George Pratt 
5369 Bandsman Alfred Wells 
5098 Corporal T W West 
6321 Private Thomas Wilberforce 
5342 Private Wilfred A Wilde  
7799 Private Walter H Yarney

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12 March 2017

Why would he have been given a new number?


It's time for another of those, 'this is how it worked' type of posts.  I was dealing with an enquiry in the week where the soldier in question had originally joined the 3rd Battalion of a county regiment in 1902 and, after a short while, had been given a new number, What was the reason for this?

The 3rd Battalion was a militia battalion. This particular regiment had only one militia battalion but many regiments had more than one. Each militia battalion had its own series of regimental numbers which had, at some point, started at 1 and which were issued sequentially. 

So hypothetical Recruit A could be standing in a queue at the regimental depot waiting to be issued with a regimental number for the 3rd Battalion, and Recruit B could be standing next to him in a separate queue waiting for a regimental number for the 4th Battalion. Both battalions drew numbers from their own regimental number sequences, there was no cross-over.

On the other hand, if a man wanted to join the army as a career soldier he would arrive at the same regimental depot and would be issued with a number from the series used by both of the regular battalions. Typically, his army career would begin with the issue of the regimental number and kit at the regimental depot followed by three months' intensive training followed by a posting to the home battalion. Learning his trade there for a further eighteen months or so he would then, in all likelihood be posted to the overseas battalion in one of the British Empire's far-flung outposts - and most likely, India. 

This switching between depot and regular battalions did not impact on a man's regimental number. He retained this number throughout his army career, and it was still retained for him when he joined the army reserve. If he extended his period of reserve service for a further four years as a Section D Reservist, the number would still be his as and when he was recalled to the colours. If he was discharged, deserted or died, his number was not to be re-issued. Queen's and King's Regulations were explicit on this point, this from Queen's Regulations 1895:



As can be seen from this extract, numbers were not finite and, in this instance, when an infantry regiment was close to issuing number 9999 it would have to apply "in sufficient time to obtain authority to start a new series". Read more about regimental numbering as dictated by Queen's and King's Regulations by clicking on the link. 

As regards my questioner, the reason her ancestor had two numbers was that he had first served with the militia and later enlisted with the regular army. In such cases, even though service records may not survive in either WO 96 or WO 97, it is entirely possible (and hugely satisfying) to pinpoint the enlistment dates.

Also see my post on duplicate regimental numbers.

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4 March 2017

Royal Berkshire Regiment - Other Rank PoWs 1914


What follows is a list of 30 Royal Berkshire Regiment men whose names appeared on regimentally compiled lists after the war. All of these men were captured by the enemy and became Prisoners of War on or before the 25th December 1914. Read more about this data source on my 1914 PoWs page. This data is taken from three separate lists sent to Sir Ernest Goodhart, as follows:

B.O.2 1/94: a single typed sheet from the Royal Berkshire Regiment Prisoners of war Care Committee giving the names and addresses of eight Berkshire Reginment men. Letter dated 18th December 1918 
B.O.2 1/95: a supplementary typed sheet from the Royal Berkshire Regiment Prisoners of War Care Committee giving the names and addresses of 11 Berkshire Regiment men. Letter dated 27th December 
1918 
B.O.2 1/97: a two-page typed nominal roll sent by Lt-col i/c Infantry Records, Warwick. Dated 20th February 1919. 

Other information not transcribed here includes, for most of the men, date of capture, home address, whether or not they had been repatriated, and additionally for some men, next of kin and next of kin address.

8189 Pte Ernest G Atkins
8650 Private T Buckland
9363 Private Henry J E Checkitts
7370 Private A Dance
7881 Private J Davies
6406 Sgt-Major A Denham
5457 Private E Dines
7586 Private C Doughty
7659 Private C Fordham
10193 Private J T Gilbert
5330 Sergeant C Graves
9089 Private W Hoar
8236 Sergeant A Hughes
7486 Private W T Kirby
6083 Private S Knight
5789 Private S Laing
7249 Private C J Lane
6220 Private W Mills
9662 Private W R Money
8534 Private A P Russ
7175 Private F Shaw
7333 Private T Short
8140 Private F L Simmonds
8988 Private W Simmonds
6674 Private J F Smith
6671 Private A Stone
6600 Private Edgar Vokins
9146 Corporal G Ward
10009 Private T Woolford

The photo on this post shows 8580 Drummer Joseph Dines who was not a PoW but who did arrive in France in November 1914. He would have known many of the men listed above and his number indicates that he must have joined the Royal Berkshire Regiment on about the 15th October 1907. He would therefore have been nearing the end of his period of colour service when Britain went to war and was almost certainly in India in August 1914. I have no note now, telling me the source of this photo, and so my apologies if I have infringed any copyright.

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25 February 2017

An Essex Regiment regular incarcerated


Here's another recent eBay win, a postcard sent from Doberitz prisoner of war camp by 7186 Corporal Tom Morris of the 2nd Essex Regiment. The card was sent by Tom to an address in Felbridge, West Sussex; not his home address as my information notes that he was married and living at 29 Murchison Road, Leyton. The house still survives today, and in the Google image below, is the property on the right.



Tom's regimental number indicates that he must have joined the Essex Regiment in early October 1902 and therefore at a time when typical terms of enlistment were three years with the colours and nine years on the reserve. Unless he extended his service therefore, Tom would have been on the reserve when Britain went to war in August 1914, and for that matter may well have been on the reserve since October 1905,  He arrived overseas on the 22nd August 1914 and was captured, according to International Committee of the Red Cross documents, at St Quentin on the 29th August. His war bearing arms for King and Country therefore lasted for precisely one week before he was captured.

Corporal Morris was probably not repatriated until after the war. A document dating to 1918 when he was being held at Hameln indicates that he had pulmonary tuberculosis and this might explain why he had been interned previously at Leysin in Switzerland; a destination for British PoWs suffering from the disease.

Tom Morris appears to have survived the war as I could find no Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry for him.  He was entitled to the 1914 Star (with clasp and roses) and British War and Victory Medals.

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19 February 2017

Using regimental numbers in photographic research


I picked this photo up last week. The reverse shows it to have been taken by Henry Bown, "photographic artist" who had studios at 43 New Kent Road, south east London, 298 Clapham Road, south west London, and 31 & 33 Jamaica Road, south east London. At the top of the photo is some script which reads. "Nov 30 13. Len 16 yrs".

The photo clearly shows a boy bandsman wearing the collar badges of the Middlesex Regiment and so I thought I'd try and find out who Len was.

A boy could join the army from the age of 14 and so if Len was 16 years old in 1913 he could have joined from 1910 or 1911. Looking at my regimental numbers database, that would suggest that his number must have been within the approximate range L/13300 to L/14700. Assuming that Len went on to serve in the First World War I ran a search on the National Archives' medal index card database where "Leonard" was the first name, "Middlesex" was the regiment. I then ran different number search options to narrow the number range. This National Archives' search screen is far more efficient, and far quicker than the search screens on both Ancestry and Findmypast and what's more you can type in the search criteria in a single field, in any order and throw in wildcards to assist the search.


Running this search on L/13* and L/14* (and with searches for 13* and 14* as well, just to pick up examples where the L/ prefix had not been recorded) gave me a short-list of a dozen or so candidates and leads me to believe that Len is potentially L/13649 Leonard Alexander Watts from Poplar who attested for 12 years on the 6th July 1911 aged 14 years and 6 days. His parents were William and Ellen Watts and he had two older brothers and three younger brothers. It could be one of the older brothers who is in the photo with him.

I should stress that the photo could show the Watts family, but by the same token, there are still other candidates who need to be more fully investigated. Nevertheless, understanding how the regimental numbers were issued has, once again, narrowed the field considerably.

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11 February 2017

Casualty lists 1914


I'm mid-way through a project to transcribe non-fatal casualties of 1914; a somewhat depressing task which nevertheless is not without its rewards as I inch slowly forwards, one day at a time.

The names below are a small sample of wounded men whose names appeared in The Times newspaper on 2nd November 1914, all of these men reported to be recuperating at the 1st Eastern General Hospital in Cambridge.

Enlistment dates for all of these men could be approximated by using the information published elsewhere on this blog.  So, for instance, go to the Devonshire Regiment page to see that Private Gage must have enlisted in 1902 (and was therefore probably a reservist by 1914), and to the Royal Scots page to see that, coincidentally, Private Gemmell must also have enlisted in 1902.

Private Grace of the Northumberland Fusiliers has a low number because the regiment had reached 9999 by 2nd December 1903 and had then started a new number series from 1 from that date. Private Grace's number therefore dates to late December 1903 or early January 1904. He too was probably a reservist and probably originally enlisted for a period of three years with the colours and nine years on the reserve meaning that when he was recalled to the colours in August 1914 he probably hadn't worn khaki for seven years or more. 

7055 Pte J Gage, Devonshire Regiment 
8237 Pte G Gemmell, Royal Scots
195 Pte P Grace, Northumberland Fusiliers 
7619 Pte A Gray, Scots Guards
8524 Pte C Griffin, Middlesex Regiment 
4755 Pte H Hadfield, King's Royal Rifle Corps
14270 Cpl L Hale, Royal Fusiliers 
8913 Pte W Hancock, Middlesex Regiment 
13996 L-Sgt Alfred W Harper, Royal Fusiliers 
10512 Pte A Harrison, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
609 Pte W Harrison, Lancashire Fusiliers
7064 Pte W Harvey, Wiltshire Regiment
6713 Pte J Hayes, Connaught Rangers
7984 Pte A T Heart, Coldstream Guards
5130 Pte W Hindon, Wiltshire Regiment

The regimental numbers for The Royal Fusiliers and Loyal North Lancashire Regiment reflect the change in King's Regulations in 1904 which noted that number sequences would now extend to 19,999 rather than 9,999. You can read more about this on my 2009 post which dealt with the all important King's and Queen's Regulations and how these impacted on regimental numbering over the years.

I have borrowed the photo on this post from WW1Photos.org and specifically, the section which deals with wounded men. There are a number of photos published here from the 1st Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge and this is one of them.


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5 February 2017

1st (Royal) Dragoons - Other Rank PoWs 1914


There are only five men from the 1st (Royal) Dragoons who appear on a list of men from that regiment captured on or before the 25th December 1914. The Imperial War Museum reference is B.O.2 1/53 and the complete details are listed below. All of these men were captured on the 19th October 1914.

2824 Lance-Corporal J F Harris of Whittocks Lane, Frome 
5986 Private W J Luck of 10 Dapdune Crescent, Guildford 
5052 Lance-Corporal J W Murkin of 126 Waterloo Street, Burton-on-Trent 
3381 Private W Proctor of 34 Coxwell Avenue, off Queenseast Street, Toronto, Canada 
7885 Private W S Wide of 1 Victoria Parade, Church End, Finchley

Read more about this data source on my 1914 PoWs page.

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29 January 2017

7th (Princess Royal's) Dragoon Guards - PoW Other Ranks 1914


Some of the Imperial War Museum regimental rolls of other ranks captured by the Germans on or before 25th December 1914 are very thin indeed, and the 7th Dragoon Guards' roll falls into this category. There are just five men listed on two sources: B.O. 2 1/39 and B.O. 2 1/52. 

The information below records the men's names and regimental numbers, date of capture and home address.

6671 Corporal P F Cosgrave, captured 21st December 1914; 62 Pimlico, Dublin 
6857 Private C Lewis, captured 24th August 1914; 10 Dacre Street, Old Town, Eastbourne 
6924 Sergeant G W Naylor; captured 21st December 1914; 132 Russel Street, Hills Road, Cambridge 
6576 Private John Plain, 30th October 1914; 18 Cambridge Street, Brighton, Sussex 
6287 Private Herbert Wright, captured on 21st December 1914; 8 Grove Road, North Walsham, Norfolk 

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21 January 2017

4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers


The 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers came into being in 1908 with the demise of the militia. Rather than start a new regimental number series from 1, the newly formed 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion simply continued with the series which had been used by the 4th (Militia) Battalion.  The battalion was headquartered at Enniskillen.

2311 joined on 29th June 1908 albeit he had originally been given this number when he joined the 4th (Militia) Battalion on the 4th April 1902
2430 joined on 27th October 1909
2474 joined 10th January 1910
4/2583 joined on 6th March 1911
4/2706 joined on 10th January 1912
2840 joined 4th October 1912
2875 joined 28th November 1912
2896 joined 11th January 1913
2925 joined 20th February 1913
2941 joined 1st April 1913
3023 joined 30th July 1913
3097 joined 3rd October 1913
4/3121 joined 15th October 1913
3126 joined 17th October 1913
3148 joined 19th November 1913
3181 joined 30th December 1913
3231 joined 11th March 1914
4/3261 joined 17th April 1914
4/3338 joined 28th July 1914
4/3374 joined 7th August 1914

Note that men with numbers lower than 2311 will all have seen prior service with the militia. Note too that this particular regimental numbers series was distinct form the series used by the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, and the series used by the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions. Some attempt at distinguishing the series was made by prefixing the regimental number series with the battalion number, thus 4/2583 etc. However, this convention was inconsistently applied and still, over a hundred years later, leads to confusion when researching military ancestors in British infantry regiments.

My thanks to AJH, whose comment on my 1st & 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers post, together with many of the regimental numbers and enlistment dates posted above prompted today's addition to this regimental numbers' blog.

I've borrowed the image on this blog post from the very interesting British Army Medical Services and the Malta Garrison 1799-1979.


15 January 2017

Dorsetshire & Devonshire Regimental numbers



Today's naughty-step nomination goes to The Keep Military Museum - Home of the Regiments of Devon & Dorset - for lifting information from this blog and publishing it on its Army Numbers page without crediting the source. Not only bad manners, but also poor archival practice, I would have thought.

I am quite happy for the information that I publish here to be used  - after all, that's why I publish it in the first place. But I also expect that if information is re-published elsewhere it should be properly credited. A 'thank you' or better still, a link back to the site is not too much to ask, is it?

And whilst I am at it, I need to correct the information that The Keep has published for the Dorsetshire Regiment (which was obviously NOT lifted from this blog).

1. "By 1899 men in the 1st and 2nd Battalions The Dorsetshire Regiment were being allocated numbers in the 4000-5000 range." Oh no they weren't. The number 4000 had been issued back in August 1893 and 5000 had been issued in August 1896 (4999 was issued to George Smith on the 19th August). By January 1899 the regiment was issuing numbers in the 58** range. For example, George Frampton was given the number 5836 when he joined the regiment at Dorchester on the 9th January 1899.

2. "The 4th Battalion (Territorial Army) were reorganised in 1908 and their numbers started with 1 in that year. Those who served overseas were renumbered in 1917 to a 6 digit number. The 4th Dorsets were allocated a batch of numbers starting with 200,000." Not correct. Back in 1914 it was the Territorial Force (TF), rather than Territorial Army, and it wasn't reorganised in 1908, but rather came into being on the 1st April, replacing the old Volunteer Force. When the TF was re-numbered in 1917, ALL serving members were issued with new five or six-digit numbers. This included not only men who were serving overseas, but men serving at home and even men who had been killed in action weeks or months before but who had not been officially confirmed as having been killed. The number block for the 4th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment was 200001 to 225000.

3. "Men in the 5th and 6th Service Battalions of the Dorsetshire Regiment in World War I often had numbers in the 10,000-11,000 range."  Yes they did, but there are also men in the 5th Battalion who had numbers in the late 9,000 range as well. Note too, that many men in these battalions would have had numbers far higher than 11,000. 

It worked like this - and this pattern was replicated across very many line infantry regiments. When new service battalions started to be created in August 1914, the regimental numbers issued to new recruits followed on from the series that had previously been used for men in the regular battalions. The Dorset Regiment had reached 9816 by July 6th 1914, and my lowest August 1914 number is 9828 issued on the 5th August. From this point, men joining the newly formed 5th Battalion (formed in August 1914) would have been issued with numbers in continuation of the regular number series. The 6th Battalion was not formed until September 1914 and by this time the regiment was numbering in the 11000s.

4. "Soldiers with numbers in the 19,000 block were reinforcements sent to the 5th Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment to replace casualties. Many of these came from the 3rd Battalion The Somerset Light Infantry (special reservists) or North Somerset Yeomanry." I didn't know that, and if this is true it's useful information.

5. "The Dorset Yeomanry also had a new figure number system introduced in 1908. In 1916 they too were renumbered using numbers in a batch 230,0001 to 235,000." The Dorset Yeomanry (Queen's Own) started numbering from 1 in April 1908 but they were re-numbered in early 1917, not 1916, and the number block was 230001-235000.

The photo I have used on this post is of Super Nanny Jo Frost and is taken from the BBC News website. (Note to The Keep - that's how you credit someone else's work).

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14 January 2017

Shropshire Yeomanry enlistments 1908-1914


This post will look at numbering in the Shropshire Yeomanry between April 1908 and October 1914. The regiment can trace its history back to the French Wars with the raising of the Wellington Troop in 1795.

By August 1914 its disposition was as follows:

Headquarters: 

Shrewsbury
A Squadron: 

Shrewsbury, with drill stations at Baschurch, Pontesbury, Pulverbeach and Wem.
B Squadron: 

Oswestry, with drill stations at Whitchurch and Ellesmere.
C Squadron: 

Ludlow, with drill stations at Craven Arms, Ross, Hereford, Leominster, Tenbury and Kington.
D Squadron: 

Wellington, with drill stations at Much Wenlock, Shifnal, Market Drayton, Newport and Bridgnorth

The Shropshire Yeomanry formed part of the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade. 

923 Alfred Jones joined on 22nd April 1908
1256 Albert Beaton joined on 6th February 1909
1365 Wilfred Weaver joined on 1st January 1910
1485 John Frank Martin joined on 27th March 1911
1580 J H Thomas joined on 2nd April 1912
1639 George William Johnson joined on 5th March 1913
1721 Thomas Sydney Preston joined on 9th March 1914
1732 John Frederick Downes joined on 5th August 1914

1836 Thomas Beech joined on 14th September 1914
1987 Robert William Bach joined on 2nd October 1914 

A 2/1st regiment was formed in September 1914 as a second-line unit to train and supply men to the 1/1st Battalion, and a  3/1st unit would be formed in May 1915. Read more about the Shropshire Yeomanry on The Long, Long Trail website. The three formations all shared the same number sequence. 

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7 January 2017

Naval & Military Press - Winter Sale



It's that time of year again. Grab 20% off Naval & Military Press titles in the company's annual Winter Sale. Seeing the advertisement above reminds me that I must frame my own original copy of this recruitment poster which was the last one to be issued by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee in September 1915. The original version, by Lucy Kemp-Welch, is below:


Border Regiment - PoW Other Ranks 1914


The vast majority of the 107 Border Regiment men listed below were captured on the 26th October 1914. This list, which is almost certainly incomplete, was compiled as a six-page typed list and sent to Sir Ernest Goodhart in March 1919. It resides today at The Imperial War Museum under the catalogue reference B.O.2 1/93. My full transcription also includes the date of capture and the man's home address. All of these men were serving with the 2nd Battalion which had been in France since the 4th and 5th October.

By my reckoning, the longest serving man here was 5391 William Kimber whose number indicates that he joined the regiment in early June 1897. He served as a drummer with the 1st Battalion during the Boer War, and received the Queen's and King's South Africa Medals. So too did 5480 James Sherlock and 6017 Charles Harrison. To still be serving in 1914, all three of these men must have either re-engaged to complete 21 years with the colours or, more likely, were Section D Reservists when Britain went to war.

At the other end of the experience scale are men like 10675 George Lockerby and 10600 John Palmer whose regimental numbers indicate that they had joined the regiment in 1913. In peace time they could have expected further training in the UK before being posted to the overseas' battalion - the 1st Battalion - which was stationed in Burma. As it was, with around a year's experience under their belts, they found themselves sent out to France with the 2nd Battalion, shouldering their rifles along with other young soldiers and recalled men.

Here is the list of 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment men captured on or before the 25th December 1914.

6843 Private Daniel Airey
8647 Private Albert Aitkenhead
9224 Private Thomas A Allen
7375 Private Thomas William Ames
8896 Private Edward Andrew
7415 Pte Edward Ayers
8739 Lance-Corporal Horace Edwin Bellamy
10435 Private Reginald Bennett
8947 Lance-Corporal Sidney Bettis
8063 Private Charles William James Bewley
8653 Private Harry Bollam
6794 Private Charles Bowyer
7851 Private William Frederick Brackenborough
6823 Private Ishmael Braithwaite
9455 Sergeant Horace Charles Bray
7411 Private Bernard Briggall
6920 Private Thomas Brindle
8026 Private George Brooke
10558 Lance-Corporal Frank Brooker
6984 Lance-Sergeant Francis George Buchanan
9818 Private Harold Blanchard Bull
8295 Private Alfred Bunyan
8225 Private William Charles Burgess
9979 Private Robert Fredrick Burnes
8606 Private Charles Casey
7807 Private James Edward Chignell
7641 L/Cpl Walter Clark
10379 Private William Clarke
7796 Private Alfred Clay
7160 Private William Charles Clift
8620 Private Arthur Coates
8904 Private Robert Coatsworth
9454 Private Percy Percival John Cox
6886 Private Joseph Crossby
7309 Private Oswald Cunliffe
8215 Sergeant John Davidson
9345 Private Arthur Dawes
8249 Private Charles Henry Dayman
7163 Private Percy George Dewey
6831 Lance-Corporal John Watson Dickinson
7387 Private Harry Dodds
7456 Private John Douglas
8205 Private G H Dyer 
8657 Private Henry Edwards 
7731 Private William Edwards 
10353 Private Charles Alfred Ely 
7119 Private Peter Faughey 
10361 Private Edmund Fitton 
8648 Private Robert Fletcher 
10093 Corporal Richard Fotheringham 
7156 Pte Joseph Gray 
8908 Private James Gregory 
8591 Private Arthur Edgar Hahn 
8555 Private George Harris 
6017 Private Charles Harrison 
9566 Private Henry Hatcher 
6803 Private Joseph Ingham 
8238 Pte Robert Irving 
8458 Lance-Corporal Frank Jarvis 
6115 Private John Kemp 
6928 Private Thomas Kemp 
8611 Private James Kennedy 
5391 Lance-Corporal William David Kimber 
9411 Corporal William Kinghorn 
7126 Private William Kirkpatrick 
7110 Private William John Knox 
10519 Private Stanley Lee 
10675 Private George Frederick Lockerby 
10474 Private John Maloney 
10324 Private Thomas Matthews 
10500 Private Walter McKellar 
7991 Lance-Corporal James Meagan 
10322 Private Ernest Merrifield 
6774 Private James John Messer 
7504 Private John Neville 
9880 Private Cecil Charles Nicholls 
6919 Private Richard Norris 
7374 Private George Oakes 
7723 Private William Henry O'Key 
8672 Private William Stanton Orchard 
10600 Private John Edwin Palmer 
7099 Pte William Parkinson 
7561 Private Charles Lewis Pegram 
8977 Lance-Corporal Victor Price 
10468 Private Harold Pullan 
8346 Private Thomas William Purdon 
6873 Private Fred John Pye 
8996 Private T E Radley 
8686 Private George Read 
7152 Private John Frederick Richardson 
6923 Private Fred Rogers 
7784 Private David Rollason 
6851 Private Reginald Rudden 
9307 Private J Shepherd 
5480 Private James Sherlock 
7951 Private Edward Stalham 
8326 Private Herbert Stanley 
8927 Private Thomas Swaddle 
9889 Private Herbert Thompson 
8660 Private Edgar Reuben Tindall 
7601 Private Samuel Alfred Usher 
8708 Private James Edward Vincent 
8198 Private Alfred Whitehead 
9390 Private John Whitfield 
10491 Private Reuben Wilmot 
10495 Private James Wilson 
7939 Private Henry Wiltshire

I research soldiers!
Contact me if you need help with your own military research project.

1 January 2017

2017, a look ahead... and a glance back


2017 will mark my tenth year of posting information on this army service numbers blog.  If I could go back ten years I'd probably have called this blog Regimental Numbers 1881-1918 because, actually, this is all about regimental numbers rather than army service numbers which were introduced in 1920.

If you are a regular visitor to this site, thank you for dropping by. If you are a new visitor to this blog, thank you too, and please use the search bar at the top left of this page, or click on the INDEX to find what you're looking for. On this blog you will find information on regimental number sequences for ALL British line infantry, ALL British Household Cavalry, ALL British Line Cavalry, and various sundry units besides. The majority of the regimental number sequences published here start in 1881 and end in 1914.  Use these as a rough guide to when your own ancestor might have joined up.

The information I have published here is a fraction of what I have on my databases. I am always happy to answer general questions, and indeed, some of these have prompted blog posts in their own right. However, with a full time career, as well as a family, multiple blogs and various military interests and research projects to run / support / undertake, I simply do not have the time to dig down into individual service histories. I do offer a research service and so if your enquiry is about a particular soldier you'll need to contact me directly: paulcanixon@yahoo.co.uk.

I see that last year I posted on this blog 39 times; a little down on 2016 but up on other years. Expect more of the same in 2017.

I should also take this opportunity to advise you of some of the other blogs I run concurrently:

Army Ancestry Research: research tips and case histories (38 posts last year)

Army Forms and Attestations: sample forms and brief explanations (8 posts last year)

British Army Medals: information on the medals plus medal auctions (13 posts last year)

Chailey 1914-1918: The story of a community response (37 posts last year)

World War 1 Veterans: Men I met or corresponded with in the 1980s and 90s (6 posts last year)

WW1 Remembrance (18 posts last year)

My best wishes to you all for 2017. The image on this post is by cartoonist Bert Thomas and was published in Punch in April 1917.


28 December 2016

11th Hussars - Other Rank PoWs 1914


The following fifty men, all serving with the 11th Hussars, became Prisoners of War of the Germans before 25th December 1914.

A number of the men appear on more than one list, catalogued today at The Imperial War Museum under B.O.2 1/157 and 
B.O.2 1/158. The full entries, not transcribed here, also include the men's home addresses. 

6039, later 46125 Private A Allcock 
5767, later 46096 Sergeant J W Allison 
6232 Private H Applegarth 
6040, later 46126 Private C Austin 
7527 Private D Austin 
29742 Private Walter Ayres 
6565 Private Frank G Bangay 
6174 Private B Clarke 
9198 Private F Cockram
1356 Corporal E Garner
6723 Private Phillip Garthwaite 
5704, later 46088 Private Samuel S Gash 
6601 Private C Goodwin 
5731 Private H Groom 
7564 Private C Hall 
5835 Lance-Corporal B Hart 
10016 Private T Hasprey 
9445 Private John Helme 
9597 Corporal Arthur Hinchliffe 
8251 Private P S Huggett 
8245 Lance-Corporal B Jackson 
6992 Private M Knowles 
5674 Private F Lake 
5585, later 46072 Private (Bandsman) T Lazenby 
5077, later 46032 Private Frank Ledger 
2921 Private T Lennon 
9376 Private L Mansell 
837 Lance-Corporal C Massey 
8541 Private R W Morgan 
5738, later 46145 Corporal Thomas F Noble 
8242 Lance-Corporal F Penrice 
8135 Lance-Corporal H Peplow 
5814, later 46100 Private A L Reeson 
1391 Private J Robins 
6391 Corporal R W Robinson 
9195 Private A T Saunders 
5775, later 46097 Private A Sessions 
9373 Private G Shaw 
10865 Private A E Sketes 
9571 Private T Spiers 
5555, later 46065 Private J Stott 
5318 Private J Surridge 
9208 Private W Talbot 
3937 Sergeant F C Taylor 
6015, later 46121 Private Harry Towner 
9576 Private J Ward 
5558, later 46055 Private James Welsh 
9577 Private B J White 
5561 Private E Woodley 
3784 Private C Wright 

I research soldiers! 
Contact me if you need help with your military ancestor.