19 August 2008

Essex Regt Territorial Force Army Service Numbers

Having given information yesterday on the 5th Essex Regiment, let me give some more break points for Territorial Force Essex Regiment numbers in the other battalions.

The Territorial Force came into being on 1st April 1908 and it is common, when looking at enlistments at this time to see swathes of men from the old Volunteer units, having been discharged from those units, re-enlisting with the TF. For this reason, I am going to start with my latest enlistment dates in 1908 and then list the earliest enlistment dates I have, for the ensuing years up until July 1914 and monthly thereafter.

Before I start, a word of warning!
It is wrong to assume that numbering sequences in battalions always followed a sequential pattern. They didn't. As the war progressed and casualties grew, large numbers of men were often transferred from one battalion to another and allocated numbers within blocks which did not fit the sequential patterning seen to date. This becomes particularly evident in most battalions from 1916 onwards. For an example of this, see my post on the 23rd London Regiment.


4th Battalion, The Essex Regiment

This battalion had its origins in the 1st Volunteer Battalion, The Essex Regiment. In 1914 it was headquartered at Brentwood. A Company drew men from Romford, B Company from Manor Park, C Company from Ilford, D Company from Barking, E Company from Loughton, F Company from Southminster, G Company from Ongar and H Company from Hornchurch.

298 joined on 1st June 1908
576 joined on 24th February 1909
948 joined on 23rd February 1910
1109 joined on 14th March 1911
1269 joined on 1st March 1912
1666 joined on 12th September 1913
1848 joined on 6th April 1914
1990 joined on 7th August 1914
2287 joined on 28th September 1914
2385 joined on 29th October 1914
2442 joined on 3rd November 1914
2833 joined on 1st December 1914
2934 joined on 4th January 1915
3058 joined on 22nd February 1915
3080 joined on 15th March 1915
3115 joined on 13th April 1915
3152 joined on 1st May 1915
3282 joined on 14th June 1915
3312 joined on 4th July 1915
3378 joined on 26th August 1915
3409 joined on 28th October 1915
3424 joined on 15th November 1915
3666 joined on 12th February 1916
3721 joined on 28th March 1916
3876 joined on 7th April 1916
4213 joined on 20th June 1916
4459 joined on 5th July 1916

When the Territorial Force re-numbered in 1917, the 4th Essex Regiment was allocated numbers in the range 200001 to 250000. I'll add some of these six digit numbers at a later date.

6th Battalion, The Essex Regiment

This battalion had its origins in the 3rd Volunteer Battalion, The Essex Regiment. In 1914 it was headquartered at West Ham and companies A to G drew men from West Ham. H Company drew men from Prittlewell.

98 joined on 19th May 1908
647 joined on 4th April 1909
1051 joined on 16th February 1910
1207 joined on 3rd April 1911
1330 joined on 1st May 1912
1545 joined on 7th May 1913
1673 joined on 22nd January 1914
1865 joined on 6th August 1914
2190 joined on 5th September 1914
2405 joined on 2nd October 1914
3438 joined on 7th November 1914
4171 joined on 1st December 1914
4568 joined on 1st January 1915
4844 joined on 1st February 1915
5010 joined on 3rd March 1915
5115 joined on 1st April 1915
5276 joined on 3rd May 1915
5445 joined on 4th June 1915
5602 joined on 21st July 1915
5638 joined on 5th August 1915
5680 joined on 17th September 1915
5706 joined on 28th October 1915
5717 joined on 8th November 1915
5836 joined on 20th January 1916
6240 joined on 31st March 1916
6768 joined on 27th April 1916
7276 joined on 9th June 1916
7709 joined on 26th September 1916
7866 joined on 6th October 1916

Certainly from September 1914, and possibly earlier than that, men were recruited for local guard duty and attached to the 2/6th Essex Regiment. These were generally older men in their forties and fifties, many of these with previous military experience, and they attested on form E.514 for one year's service in the United Kingdom. These men, who would later be posted to Supernumerary Companies, were issued numbers from the same series in use for 6th Battalion recruits generally. Later though, in June or July 1915, these local guard / supernumerary numbers were made into five digit numbers with the addition of the number 2 in front of the old four digit number.

George Brooker was a typical Supernumerary Company recruit. He attested with the 6th Essex Regiment at West Ham on the 18th February 1915. He was 49 years old and had previously served in the Royal Navy, holding the Egypt medal and two clasps (dating from 1882). He was given the army service number 4939 and this was later changed to 24939. George was discharged from No. 13 Supernumerary Company (attached to the 2/6th Essex Regiment) as medically unfit on 17th July 1915. His service record survives in the WO 364 series held at the National Archives.

Read George Brooker's service record HERE

The following Supernumerary Companies were certainly attached to the 2/6th Essex Regt: No. 3, No. 6, No. 7, No. 11, No. 13 and No. 14.

When the Territorial Force was renumbered in 1917, the 6th Essex Regiment was allocated numbers within the block 275001 to 300000.

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates from the six digit range.

275008 originally joined on 16th June 1908
275087 originally joined on 17th April 1912
275189 originally joined on 8th September 1913
275276 originally joined on 7th August 1914
275391 originally joined on 2nd October 1914
275541 originally joined on 7th November 1914
275714 originally joined on 1st December 1914
275823 originally joined on 26th January 1915
275838 originally joined on 8th April 1915
275919 originally joined on 1st June 1915
276003 originally joined on 8th November 1915
276733 originally joined on 6th October 1916

7th Battalion, The Essex Regiment

This battalion had its origins in the 4th Volunteer Battalion, The Essex Regiment. In 1914 it was headquartered at Walthamstow and all companies (A-H) drew men from Walthamstow.

373 joined on 11th June 1908
623 joined on 16th February 1909
1248 joined on 6th January 1910
1437 joined on 5th January 1911
1601 joined on 9th January 1912
1915 joined on 24th February 1913
2158 joined on 29th January 1914
2356 joined on 5th August 1914
2689 joined on 7th September 1914
2870 joined on 19th October 1914
2969 joined on 5th November 1914
3225 joined on 23rd December 1914
3282 joined on 7th January 1915
3405 joined on 2nd February 1915
3455 joined on 19th March 1915
3473 joined on 19th April 1915
3506 joined on 3rd May 1915
3671 joined on 1st June 1915
3782 joined on 3rd July 1915
3892 joined on 3rd August 1915
3977 joined on 6th September 1915
3982 joined on 4th October 1915
4097 joined on 18th November 1915
4155 joined on 10th December 1915
4314 joined on 22nd January 1916
4388 joined on 14th February 1916
4569 joined on 11th April 1916
6041 joined on 4th May 1916
6128 joined on 10th October 1916
7042 joined on 19th December 1916
7182 joined on 12th February 1917

On the face of it, there appears to have been a large influx of men in April and May 1916; this from my data for April:

4569 joined on 11th April 1916
4617 joined on 14th April 1916
4654 joined on 15th April 1916
4758 joined on 20th April 1916
5248 joined on 26th April 1916
5308 joined on 26th Apr 1916

However, as I have mentioned before, treat large apparent leaps in numbering (or rather, large unexplained gaps in numbering sequences) with caution. It's possible that some blocks within the sequence above were used at another time. Further research here required.

When the Territorial Force was renumbered in 1917, the 7th Essex Regiment was allocated numbers within the block 300001 to 325000. Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates from the six digit range:

300003 originally joined on 1st April 1908
300035 originally joined on 24th January 1912
300164 originally joined on 5th May 1913
300335 originally joined on 4th August 1914 (the day Britain declared war on Germany)
300414 originally joined on 4th September 1914
300494 originally joined on 5th October 1914
300550 originally joined on 5th November 1914
300654 originally joined on 16th December 1914
300675 originally joined on 7th January 1915
300725 originally joined on 9th February 1915
300803 originally joined on 20th May 1915
300893 originally joined on 28th June 1915
301280 originally joined on 29th November 1915

Find your 7th Essex Regiment ancestor on Ancestry. Click here.

8th (Cyclist) Battalion, The Essex Regiment

This battalion was headquartered at Colchester and drew men from across Essex. A Company recruited in Leyton, B Company in West Ham, C Company in Colchester, D Company in Saffron Waldon, E Company in East Ham, F Company in Ilford, G Company in Brentwood and H Company in Coggeshall.

Recruiting in this battalion was considerably slower than in the other Essex Territorial Force battalions and almost ground to a halt in March and April 1915 (see below).

121 joined on 6th April 1908
253 joined on 18th February 1909
644 joined on 12th April 1911
740 joined on 17th April 1912
992 joined on 26th July 1913
1085 joined on 20th May 1914
1134 joined on 6th August 1914
1299 joined on 18th September 1914
1364 joined on 6th October 1914
1660 joined on 12th November 1914
1713 joined on 14th December 1914
1879 joined on 4th January 1915
1899 joined on 1st February 1915
1910 joined on 29th March 1915
1911 joined on 10th April 1915
2045 joined on 11th May 1915
2115 joined on 19th July 1915
2207 joined on 11th August 1915
2296 joined on 2nd September 1915
2356 joined on 15th October 1915
2398 joined on 26th November 1915
2433 joined on 12th December 1915
2495 joined on 3rd August 1916
2722 joined on 5th September 1916
3076 joined on 18th October 1916
3365 joined on 29th January 1917

When the Territorial Force was renumbered in 1917, the 8th Essex Regiment was allocated numbers within the block 325001 to 350000. Here, following a well worn road, are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates from the six digit range:

325003 originally joined on 5th May 1908
325028 originally joined on 19th March 1910
325047 originally joined on 21st February 1912
325086 originally joined on 5th May 1913
325111 originally joined on 26th May 1914
325124 originally joined on 19th September 1914
325198 originally joined on 8th October 1914
325256 originally joined on 30th November 1914
325367 originally joined on 1st September 1915
325394 originally joined on 12th December 1915
325414 originally joined on 3rd August 1916
325655 originally joined on 9th September 1916
325973 originally joined on 18th October 1916
326255 originally joined on 29th January 1917

Although I'm currently concentrating on the release of infantry numbers and joining dates between the years 1881 and 1918, I'll conclude my tour through Essex tomorrow, with some Essex Yeomanry dates.

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This clearly a labour of love which was able to confirm a few dates and numbers for a family tree I am doing involving a formner member of 6th Battalion, The Essex Regt.
Thanks

Chailey said...

You're very welcome, and thanks for commenting. If you'd like to post another comment with the numbers you're looking at, I'll see if I can narrow it down further. The numbers I've publishd on the blog are just a small sample from a far larger database.

mjsjava said...

This has been so helpful. I could't understand how my great grandfather came to serve in the 6th battalion Essex when he was aged 50 at the outbreak of war -- now have a clearer understanding.
Thank you for all the work you have put into this.
Marilyn

Paul Nixon said...

You're welcome Marilyn, thanks for taking the time to comment.

nick.edderyjoel said...

NickEJ

Excellent work. My Great Uncle was in D Coy 6th Battalion and died in the First Battle of Gaza on 27th March 1917. I've been looking onto this action recently and have read the offical war diaries at the IWM and visited the regimental museum in Chelmsford. It seems as though the Essex boys performed heroically during the battle but were somewhat let down by the staff officers, which was not uncommon. The John Burrows book (published in 1927) gives supurb detail on the Essex Regiment during WW1 including Suvla Bay and Gaza. On a general front I had no idea, before I started, that the Essex Regiment had such a distinguished history having taken part in many historic battles including the Peninsula Wars, 1812 war with USA, Waterloo, Crimea, Afganistan, South Africa and many others. They are certainly worthy of a book or a film depicting the long history.

For more details try the Regimental Museum in Chelmsford. It's hard to praise the team there too much - I hope they survive the impending cuts!

Well done.

Paul Nixon said...

Thank for your comments Nick. I was born in Chelmsford and lived there for most of my life, so I know the museum well. Some while back - twenty or thirty years ago - I went in search of surviving WW1 veterans and met a number of Essex Regiment men in and around the town. I'm now publishing these interviews on a separate blog which you can access here: http://worldwar1veterans.blogspot.com/