15 January 2009

Coldstream Guards 1881-1918

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding enlistment/joining dates for the Coldstream Guards between the years 1881 and 1918. The regiment is the oldest regiment in the British Army in continous active service. It was unaffected by Cardwell's 1881 reforms and did not start numbering from 1 in 1881 but continued with the series it had been using.
The regiment comprised two regular battalions up until 1897 when a third battalion was added. During the First World War, a 4th (Pioneer) Battalion was formed, and also a 5th (Reserve) Battalion. The regiment had no Territorial Force or service battalions.
5166 joined on 16th August 1881
5243 joined on 30th January 1882
5426 joined on 27th January 1883
6058 joined on 8th March 1884
6469 joined on 20th January 1885
6846 joined on 3rd March 1886
7113 joined on 7th March 1887
7391 joined on 6th March 1888
7628 joined on 31st January 1889
8039 joined on 28th March 1890
8438 joined on 14th April 1891
9095 joined on 1st June 1892
9498 joined on 24th June 1893
9727 joined on 12th February 1894
The Coldstream Guards reached number 9999 in 1895 and so, in accordance with Queen's Regulations, immediately commenced a new series from 1.
130 joined on 22nd June 1895
400 joined on 7th February 1896
773 joined on 22nd January 1897
1327 joined on 8th January 1898
2521 joined on 6th March 1899
3212 joined on 10th January 1900
4036 joined on 28th January 1901
4526 joined on 8th January 1902
5068 joined on 2nd April 1903
5314 joined on 1st January 1904
5969 joined on 3rd January 1905
6617 joined on 14th February 1906
7106 joined on 23rd January 1907
7617 joined on 13th January 1908
8251 joined on 9th January 1909
8577 joined on 10th January 1910
9086 joined on 25th April 1911
9438 joined on 22nd January 1912
9934 joined on 6th January 1913
10549 joined on 14th January 1914
The First World War

11147 joined on 25th August 1914
11366 joined on 1st September 1914
13101 joined on 5th October 1914
13547 joined on 9th November 1914
14067 joined on 5th December 1914
14531 joined on 5th January 1915
15220 joined on 1st February 1915
15619 joined on 2nd March 1915
15944 joined on 3rd April 1915
16068 joined on 13th May 1915
16269 joined on 2nd June 1915
16508 joined on 31st July 1915
16584 joined on 3rd August 1915
16844 joined on 9th September 1915
17066 joined on 3rd November 1915
17592 joined on 9th December 1915
17778 joined on 17th January 1916
18296 joined on 7th April 1916
18393 joined on 24th May 1916
18410 joined on 1st June 1916
18554 joined on 19th July 1916
18737 joined on 14th August 1916
19091 joined on 7th October 1916
19959 joined on 3rd November 1916
20546 joined on 7th December 1916
21276 joined on 9th January 1917
21553 joined on 10th February 1917
21775 joined on 2nd March 1917
22174 joined on 14th April 1917
22261 joined on 6th June 1917
22443 joined on 16th July 1917
22495 joined on 5th November 1917
22524 joined on 10th December 1917
22532 joined on 8th January 1918
23117 joined on 16th March 1918
23563 joined on 10th April 1918
28053 joined on 13th May 1918
My data currently ends in May 1918.
18445 Lance-Corporal Arthur James Boldero of the Coldstream Guards, a distant relative of mine, was killed in action on 28th March 1918. He was 34 years old and married, and his number indicates that he joined the regiment in June 1916. Arthur is buried in Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

Further research:
Coldstream Guards service and pension records on Ancestry.co.uk

From the Naval & Military Press

Coldstream Guards 1914-1918
Appendices include the war service record of all officers who served in the Regiment with any awards; awards to Other Ranks; VC citations; list of those commissioned from the ranks (410 of them) and the regiments or corps to which they went and finally the Roll of Honour of officers. Recommended.

Read my other posts on numbering in the Foot Guards regiments:

Grenadier Guards
Scots Guards
Irish Guards
Welsh Guards

Identify a Foot Guards soldier by his uniform: Identifying the Guards - Army Ancestry


Sue Light said...

Paul - I've got a few Coldstream Guards locally, and two of them enlisted within a few days of each other, and fill a small gap in your list:
10243 Reginald Lisher 19/7/13
10253 Victor Grover 24/7/13

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks Sue

Looking at my database I see I had those two men, the source acknowledged as Unchanged by Time... and so it comes full circle.

The data I publish here is just a sample - one number and date per year - from a larger database. But I'm always pleased to hear of confirmed numbers and joining dates for men who enlisted between 1881 and 1918. It's a never-ending job; a bit like painting the Forth Bridge - without the paint.

Anonymous said...


Im trying to trace an ancestor's service record..... Francis O'Neill Coldstream Guards Number 5006... I think he was part of the 5th Reserve.... did he see any action?


Paul Nixon said...

Jonathan, he did serve. There is a medal index card for him which shows that he arrived overseas on 21st August 1914 and therefore qualified for the 1914 Star with Mons clasp (although he doesn't appear to have claimed this) as well as the British war and Victory medals.


Anonymous said...

Hello Paul
Any chance you could be more specific for James Hall 16359

Paul Nixon said...

16357 Bertie Kirby joined at Caterham on 22nd June 1915 as did 16360 Victor John Cook. Both these men have surviving service records in WO 364.

Anonymous said...

Hello Paul, could you shed any light on my great grand fathers service with the Coldstreams ? He was 4997 William Hill. He was discharged and re enlisted with the Clyde RGA at Gourock, Scotland. I have his MIC and Silver War Badge card, also copies of the Victory and Silver War Badge Rolls.
Really looking to find his service papers and which Battalion he served with.


Paul Nixon said...


Guards' records survive but you'll need to make personal application to the archive:

Regimental Archivist
Regimental Headquarters Coldstream Guards
Wellington Barracks
Birdcage Walk

Also see here: http://rhqcoldmgds.co.uk/shop/page/3?shop_param=

Your man's number indicates that he joined up in January 1903 and so he'd have been a reservist when war was declared.

Anonymous said...

Hello, could anyone shed some light on these medals which were my fathers friends father.

9683 GDSMN E.J.Mattews Coldstream Guards. The medals are suspended from a WW2 bar for defence so could he have been in home guard?

Any information would be great.


Paul Nixon said...

I suppose he could have been. I believe the National Archives has records for the Home Guard and so you could enquire there.

Anonymous said...

Hello Paul:

I'm trying to come up with credible information on my great-grandfather, a Liverpool native who died during WWI. His name is George Pearson. Through the CWGC website, I found 2 record entries that seem plausible, one of which is Coldstream Guards #14943. Any information you could share would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

Charlie (USA)

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Charlie

14943 for the Coldstream Guards dates to around 20th January 1915. This man was born in, and was living in Lye in Worcestershire when he enlisted. He joined up at Birmingham.

Good Luck.


Sue said...

Hello Paul, Not sure if you are interested in after 1918 but my Grandfather, William Henry Reynolds was attested to the Coldstream Guards on 25th February 1919 in Sheffield and was given the Regimental number 28890. I believe he stayed for about 2 years. Before that he served in the Machine Gun Corps but I have no information on which bit.

Paul Nixon said...

Thank you Sue; they all help.


Anonymous said...

hello i don't know if you can help have only just found out about my greatgrand father only information i have got is that his name was Private G. Wilkes 20850 1st bn Coldstream Guards he was killed on the 27/11/1917 and is burried at ANNEUX BRITISH CEMETERY any further information you could give me will be very greatfully received, also i have never seen a photo of him would there have been a regimental photo taken ?

thankyou A. Bartlett

Paul Nixon said...

His number dates to between the 8th and 15th December 1916. He could well have appeared in photos but if he did, his name would almost certainly NOT have been captured, and so you'd have difficulty picking him out. But you should definitely get in touch with the Coldtsream Guards archive as they still retain service papers for WW1 soldiers: http://rhqcoldmgds.co.uk/shop/page/3?shop_param=

David Leach said...

my great uncle.. Lance Corporal Greenwood Hartley Eastwood was in the 2nd battalion Coldstream Guards.. his army number 16186.. shows that he enlisted between 13th may and 2nd june 1915.. he was 16 years old at the time he enlisted. He was killed in action, aged 18 years, in the battle of the somme on the evening/early hours 15th/16th september 1916. The report from another guardsman suggested he was killed by enemy artillery whilst attacking the small village of Ginchy. His body was never recovered and his name is on the Thiepval Memorial. if anyone has any other information such as where the 2nd Battalion trained, when the battalion was deployed to France, where the battalion was stationed in France and any other action the battalion was involved in prior to attack on Ginchy in mid september 1916 i will be grateful.

Paul Nixon said...


If you've not already done so, you should consult the regimental history of the Coldstream Guards and also the battalion war diaries at Kew, albeit these should shortly be available on line via the TNA. You could also post this query on The Great War Forum.


Susan W. said...

Searching for my grandfather who served in Coldstream Guards, WWI, known to have survived through 1918.
Sdl. James Shaw, Swaythling, Southampton, England

Paul Nixon said...

Susan, I couldn't find a medal index card for this man, although the number appears to date to June 1917. Try contacting the Guards archives but you'll be charged £35 for a search: c/o The Archivist, Regimental Headquarters Coldstream Guards, Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ. No enquiries accepted by email or telephone.

Jenny said...

My ggrandfather Joseph (Bennett) Barnes, born 1880 in Durham, is on 1901 census, at Kidbrooke Hospital as a patient, Private in 3rd Coldstream Guards. Can't find any further trace of him in records. Can you help please?

Paul Nixon said...


Try contacting the Guards archives but you'll be charged £35 for a search: c/o The Archivist, Regimental Headquarters Coldstream Guards, Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ. No enquiries accepted by email or telephone.

Nicola said...

I have found a photo in my late grandparents possesions of my Great Great Great Uncles Gravestone. His name was William Geddes, his number was 20669 and he died 11th April 1918. I looked up the cemetery details and have discovered he 'Died of Wounds' but can find no info more than that. I was wondering if you knew whereabouts he would of been fighting to be injured and die at this time?


Paul Nixon said...

Nicola, I'm afraid I don't but you have two options:

1. Check the war diary for the relevant battalion of the Coldstream Gaurds. This is housed at The National Archives and may also be online.

2. Contact the Guards archives who should hold his original papers. Note that you'll be charged £35 for a search. The address: c/o The Archivist, Regimental Headquarters Coldstream Guards, Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ. No enquiries accepted by email or telephone.


val said...

Hello there Paul,
My husbands Great Uncle George Powell service no. 7183 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards enlisted before the war on 19/03/07 and served for 7 years he then became a reservist. He was recalled at the beginning of WW1 in August having got married earlier that year but he sadly died aged 24 on 21st October,2014We got in touch with the Regimental Headquarters and paid to get his service records, it was well worth it. We also looked on the War Graves Commission site and found a photograph of the graves at Poelcapelle British Cemetery where we presume he is buried. We notice on his service records he states he is 19 years 4months in 1907 but as he was born in 1889 it looks as if he was younger than he stated and this tallies with his age when he died.
Regards, Val

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for posting, Val. The Guards normally joined for 3&9 - 3 years with the colours and nine on the reserve but men could enlist for different terms of service which your husband's great uncle clearly did. The Guards' archive is, I think, an under-used resource but well worth the investment in my opinion. I also have a Coldstream Guards ancestor - a fairly distant relative - who died in 1918 and I obtained his records some years back. Again, it was quite common for men to lie about their age and there was no verification process at the point of enlistment, as there would be today.

Val said...

Hello again Paul, thanks for your reply. Since the last post in August I have had a photograph and short obituary about my husbands Uncle (not Great Uncle as I first thought). I found it on a website www.ww1photos.com/ColdstreamGuards.html, it cost just £3.95 and they download the information to you by email. We were thrilled to receive it as we had no picture of him. They cover the 1st - 4th Battalion of the Coldstream Guards and have Photos/Obituaries and POW information on the Coldstream Guards listed. I thought your readers may be interested if they don't already know about it.
Regards, Val

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for highlighting this, Val. I may well mention this in a post on my Army Ancestry blog. Glad you had a success.


Anonymous said...

Hello Paul - if you don't have this record ,perhaps you would add it to your database.

No.16061 Guardsman Porteus C.A
4th Battalion(The Pioneers)Enlisted 3rd May 1915. Demobilised 9th January 1919 to Class Z reserve list.Stretcher bearer throughout the Somme Battles. Wounded in action. RTU and served until end of conflict.

Ray Gloster said...

My grandfather Edward John Gloster enlisted on 9th September 1914. His service number was 12088. His service records show he was wounded on 8th May 1916 and again on 31st July 1917, presumably at Passchendael, but I have no evidence that his unit was in that battle. Soon after that he was transferred to 5th Battalion in reserve until recalled to the unit for the 1918 spring offensive, when he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion until demob in 1919.

Fran├žoise Genty said...

I have searched men of Coalville Leicestershire, I had:
6227 Private Joseph Wardle, Coldstream Guards, 3rd Battalion
Joseph was born in 1887 in Coalville; he was the son of the late Abraham Wardle of Margaret St- Coalville, who died 20 years before.
He was the brother of James Wardle killed in action at Neuve Chapelle between the 10th and 14th March. 1915.
He was single and worked at the South Leicestershire Colliery before the war. He served three years in the Army in peace time, one of these being spent in Egypt and he would have completed nine years on the reserve about six months after his death.

Military Service

Joseph was called up as a reservist when war broke out and he had taken part in several battles, having been twice wounded. He went out with the first British Expeditionary Force , being in the great retreat from Mons. He recovered from a wound and was taking his place again in the firing line in fighting near Ypres when he had two fingers shot off.

In February 1914, the Coalville Times reported:” Pte. Joseph Wardle, whose widowed mother resides in Margaret Street, has been twice wounded in the war and is now at Windsor. He is in the Coldstream Guards and went out with the First Expeditionary Force, being in the great retreat from Mons. He recovered from a wound and was taking his place again in the firing line fighting near Ypres when he had two fingers shot off. Last week, Wardle paid a short visit home and returned to Windsor. He is a brother of Private Wardle of the Grenadier Guards, who as reported in a recent issue was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle.”

Joseph enlisted in Coalville with the 3rd Coldstream Guards.

He was killed in action and died on 15 September 1916, he was 29 years old.

He is remembered with Honour on the Thiepval Memorial in the Somme (80) France -ref: Pier & Face 7D & 8D; as well as on the Clock Tower War Memorial in Coalville, and in Christ Church Coalville.

Paul Nixon said...

Many thanks, Francoise; RIP Joseph Wardle.

Adam Burton said...

Hi Paul,

I wonder if you have any info on my great grandfather (Harold Foster). Harold served in the Coldstream Guards during WW1 from January 1915 to 1917. His service number was 15071. If you have any info on him I would be extremely grateful.

many thanks,

Paul Nixon said...

No, I'm sorry I don't have additional infiormation on this man but his entry in the silver war badge roll will tell you when he enlisted and when he was discharged. You can access this on Ancestry or Findmypast. Ancestry will also have medal car and medal roll information.


Adam Burton said...

Thats great, many thanks for your help Paul.

best wishes,

Anonymous said...


Paul Nixon said...

RIP Reginald Charles Honour; thank you for posting.