27 February 2009

9th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

The 9th (The Dumbartonshire) Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, was a Territorial Force (TF) battalion which, at the beginning of 1914, was headquartered at Dumbarton. A Company recruited men from Helensburgh, B Company from Kirkintilloch, C Company from Dumbarton, D Company from Milngavie, E Company from Jamestown, F Company from Alexandria, and G and H Companies from Clydebank.

Again, and in common with other Territorial Force battalions from this regiment, the numbering up until 1914 is not sequential. As an example, take a look at these enlistments from 1912 and 1913, place of joining indicated in square brackets.

1912 Enlistments

1501 joined on 10th January 1912 [Dumbarton]
1516 joined on 25th January 1912 [Alexandria]
1527 joined on 9th January 1912 [Jamestown]
1533 joined on 30th January 1912 [Jamestown]
1549 joined on 22nd February 1912 [Kirkintilloch]
1613 joined on 12th April 1912 [Clydebank]
1615 joined on 16th April 1912 [Alexandria]
1649 joined on 14th May 1912 [Clydebank]
1660 joined on 5th June 1912 [Clydebank]
1693 joined on 17th June 1912 [Dumbarton]

Service records for all of these 1912 and 1913 survive in the WO 363 and WO 364 series at the National Archives. They can all be viewed on-line via the Ancestry.co.uk website.


1913 Enlistments

1780 joined on 11th February 1913 [Clydebank]
1807 joined on 24th January 1913 [Dumbarton]
1825 joined on 5th February 1913 [Milngavie]
1860 joined on 12th April 1913 [Alexandria]
1861 joined on 14th April 1913 [Renton]
1893 joined on 18th March 1913 [Jamestown]
1920 joined on 1st April 1913 [Dumbarton]
1961 joined on 8th April 1913 [Renton]
2041 joined on 6th November 1913 [Helensburgh]

Renton was the location of the drill station for F Company (headquartered at Alexandria) and I'm just going to pull out the records for those Alexandria and Renton men:

1516 joined on 25th January 1912 [Alexandria]
1615 joined on 16th April 1912 [Alexandria]
1860 joined on 12th April 1913 [Alexandria]
1861 joined on 14th April 1913 [Renton]
1961 joined on 8th April 1913 [Renton]

Looking at this short sequence, 1860 and 1861 seem perfectly logical, 1861 joining two days after 1860. But bearing in mind that a Territorial Force Battalion company probably numbered no more than 125 men, give or take, in 1912; and given that recruitment was slow anyway (and had reached an all time low the previous year), recruiting 100 men into two and a half months (see 1516 and 1615 above) just isn't feasible.

If any logic was applied at all - and one assumes that it must have been - it seems more probable that companies were allocated blocks of numbers and when these were used up, they applied for another block. I should emphasize that this is all supposition on my part - and as a result of interesting communications with the webmaster of the excellent Sons of Galloway website.  

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

Also see my posts regarding army service numbers issued to men in the following Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders battalions:

1st & 2nd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders 1881-1914
3rd (Special Reserve) & 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion A&S Highlanders
5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders service battalions 1914-1917

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul, Hope you are well, wondered whether I could pick your brains again please!
I've acquired a Victory Medal to 1323 L/Cpl William McCredie Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. He is also noted as having the number 350096 on the MIC. This would follow as on the Medal Roll he is noted as serving with the 1/9th Bn of the regiment. He was discharged in 1917 due to wounds ,his enlisted date on the SWB roll is 10March 1910.I've checked the 1911 census returns for the 1st Bn but couldn't find him there, I haven't been able to see the 2nd Bn as they were stationed on Edinburgh & I do not have access to Scottish records. Do you have any idea which Bn he served with before WW1? Could he have been in the reserves maybe? Appreciate your thoughts. Regards Mark

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Mark

Are you confusing the regular battalions with the TF. The 9th Bn was a TF battalion of course and so I wouldn't have expected to find him serving with the regulars in 1911. He would have been a part time soldier, later embodied when Britain went to war. The 9th was headquartered at Dumbarton so I would expect that he was from that area. If you knew the company he served with you could probably narrow down the area where he lived. 3500096 belongs to the series issued to the 16th Battalion so I would imagine he was posted there at some point after May 1915. Does that make any sense?

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
When he was discharged from the army the SWB roll states he was with the 16th Bn that was on 3/7/17.Is May 1915 when the 16th Bn was formed? He also qualified for the 1914/15 Star & British War Medal. Don't know his company unfortunately. Perhaps I was on the wrong trial, I thought as he'd enlisted in 1910 he must have been with a regular battalion as his first army number was 1323.
Mark

Paul Nixon said...

Mark

"I thought as he'd enlisted in 1910 he must have been with a regular battalion as his first army number was 1323."

No, not so. Each of the A&SH TF battalions started numbering from 1 in April 1908 and so there would have been a number 1323 in each of those battalions. 1323 for the regular battalions dates originally to 1884 and then, after a new number sequence was started for these two battalions in June 1908, to the first half of June 1914. The number does not feature, as far as I am aware, in the 3rd (Special Reserve) or 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalions, neither in the wartime-raised service battalions.

May 1915 was when the 3rd Provisional Battalion (TF) was formed and this became the 16th Battalion on 1st January 1917.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul, As ever many thanks for explaining that to me. Your research is invaluable!
Cheers
Mark