20 February 2014
This blog was started with the aim of helping researchers to identify likely enlistment dates for army ancestors who joined the British Army between 1881 and 1918. However, it is worth pointing out that there are many online resources where original documents, or transcripts from original documents can be accessed for a few pounds. Finding your army ancestor online seems to become easier by the day. Here are links to some of the best online resources:
PRE FIRST WORLD WAR
1861 Worldwide Army Index
Can't find him on the 1861 census? Was he in the army? This index contains the names of over 245,000 British soldiers at home and abroad.
Anglo-Boer War Roll 1899-1902
Over 300,000 men and a casualty list of over 60,000. The most comprehensive Boer War register on the web.
Army Deserters 1828-1840
An index of over 34,000 men. Details include name, age, regiment, date of desertion and trade.
Army Pensioners 1760-1913
Includes records from the following National Archives' series: WO 97 (service records), WO 121 (discharge documents), WO 122 (discharge documents, foreign regiments), WO 131 (deferred pensions)
British India Office Army & Navy Pensions 1749-1947
Released on findmypast as part of its India Office Collection
Imperial Yeomanry 1899-1902
Soldiers' documents from WO 128 at The National Archives
Militia Attestations 1806-1915
From the WO 96 militia series at The National Archives.
WORLD WAR 1 - WW1
De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour 1914-1924
Biographies, many with photos, of over 26,000 WW1 casualties.
findmypast has published lists for the following Pals' Battalions: Birmingham Pals, Bradford Pals, Edinburgh Pals, Glasgow Pals, Liverpool Pals, Manchester Pals, Oldham Pals, Salford Pals, Swansea Pals
Silver War Badge rolls 1914-1920 Over 800,000 records giving date of enlistment, date of discharge, and often, the man's age.
Soldiers Died in The Great War 1914-1919
Incomplete but useful record of WW1 British Army deaths.
WW1 Medal Index Cards 1914-1920
The medal index cards of approximately 4.8m men.
WW1 Service Records 1914-1920
The so-called "Burnt Documents" from WO 363.
17 February 2014
Following hot on the heels of the Liverpool Pals, here are some number blocks for the Glasgow Pals, more correctly: 15th (1st City) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow Tramways), 16th (2nd City) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow Boys' Brigade) and 17th (2nd City) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow Commercials).
Numbering in the Glasgow Pals battalions initially used the same number sequence that had been in use for the regular battalions and which, since August 1914, had also been used by the newly forming service battalions. At some point, however, a decision was obviously taken to commence a new number series, from 1, and this series starts appearing in August 1914 and is also shared across all service battalions.
I will list the number series - as far as I can ascertain these, in the order in which these were issued. The date range for the following numbers is mid August to mid September 1914
13000 - 14100: 15th Battalion
14101 - 15199: 16th Battalion
15200 - 16299: 17th Battalion
The new number range starts appearing, in my Glasgow Pals' database at least, in early November 1914, with numbers in the 35** range being issued as late as May 1915
0965 - 1163: 15th Battalion
1364 - 1460: 16th Battalion
2684 - 2999: 17th Battalion
3100 - 3296: mostly 15th Battalion
3355 - 3574: mostly 16th Battalion
Both Ancestry and findmypast have data collections covering the Glasgow Pals.
The image above is borrowed from the Glesga' Pals website and shows new recruits for the 16th Battalion parading in St George's Square, Glasgow in 1914.
16 February 2014
Here are some number blocks for the Liverpool Pals: more correctly, The 17th (1st City) King's (Liverpool Regiment), 18th (2nd City) King's (Liverpool Regiment), 19th (3rd City) King's (Liverpool Regiment) and 20th (4th City) King's (Liverpool Regiment).
15000 - 16151: 17th Battalion
16152 - 17259: 18th Battalion
17260 - 21899: 19th Battalion
21900 - 21999: a combination of 18th and 20th Battalion
22000 - 23149: 20th Battalion
These series may be considered to cover the initial intakes into the four City of Liverpool Pals' Battalions. I am less certain of the battalions whose numbers fall into the following series:
23150 - 23599: non City Battalions
23600 - 23699: mostly 17th Battalion (but also men from the 15th, 16th and 18th Battalions)
23700 - 23800: various, including at least three men who died whilst serving with regular battalions
23801 - 24004: mostly 20th Battalion
24005 - 24199: non City Battalions
24200 - 24399: mostly 19th Battalion
24400 - 24499: mostly 20th Battalion
24500 - 24799: mostly 18th Battalion
24800 - 24999: mostly 17th Battalion
25000 - 25299: non City Battalions
25300 - 24349: mostly 19th Battalion
24350 - 25499: non City Battalions
25500 - 25599: mostly 19th Battalion
25600 - 25699: non City Battalions
25700 - 25799: mostly 18th Battalion
25800 - 25999: non City Battalions
26000 - 26099: mostly 18th Battalion
26100 - 26199: mostly 17th Battalion
26200 - 26499: non City Battalions
26500 - 26599: mostly 20th Battalion
26600 - 26699: mostly 17th & 18th Battalions
The majority of the City Battalion men whose numbers fall between and 15000 and 26199 arrived overseas in France on 7th November 1915.
Both Ancestry and findmypast have data collections covering the King's (Liverpool Regiment) City Battalions, and here's a tip for finding men in Ancestry's poorly indexed WO 363 and WO 364 collections. After you've exhausted King's, Lpool and Liv* in the regiment field, just type in KLCB. This is, of course, the acronym for King's Liverpool City Battalion and was scrawled across many an attestation paper in 1914 (and keyed-as-seen by Ancestry's transcription house many years later).
Also see my request for assistance with Liverpool Pals battalions HERE.
10 February 2014
For the most part, the number blocks allocated to the initial contingents of the first four battalions of the Liverpool Pals are well defined. However, there is a series of 100 numbers between 21900 and 21999 (where the number series proper for the 20th Bn / 4th Liverpool Pals begins) which leaps about a little and includes men from the 17th (1st Pals), 18th (2nd Pals) and 20th (4th Pals) Battalions.
The list below shows number, rank (taken from medal index cards), forename and last name. I've copied this directly from my Liverpool Pals' database. Numbers with no entry against them indicate that I could find no MIC. Entries in bold indicate a surviving service record in WO 363 or WO 364 (all available on Ancestry). I would be grateful for assistance in filling in the gaps.
|18th Bn||21904||Cpl||John C||Routledge|
|18th Bn||21911||Pte||Andrew Campbell||Wood|
|18th Bn||21912||Pte||Thomas H||Rosbotham|
|18th Bn||21918||Pte||Benjamin Arthur||Jackson|
|18th Bn||21928||Pte||Robert Armour||Bell|
Bn||21932||Pte||Cyril Charles Holland||Ahier|
|20th Bn||21946||Pte||John R||Dawson|
|21950||Pte||Lawrence A V||Fish|
The image on this post comes from The Liverpool Organic Brewery which, in turn, draws attention to the fund to pay for a permanent memorial to the Liverpool Pals. Read more about this on the Liverpool Pals Memorial Fund website.
Also see my post on Liverpool Pals battalions and number series.