18 June 2009
The Devonshire Regiment - 1st & 2nd Battalions
This post will look at army service numbers and the dates on which these were issued to men joining the Devonshire Regiment between 1882 (which is where my data currently starts) and pre August 1914.
Papers for all of the men listed below, survive in WO 363 and WO 364. View these at the National Archives in London or on-line via the Ancestry website. Ancestry is currently offering a FREE 14 day trial.
245 joined on 21st May 1882
483 joined on 2nd June 1883
737 joined on 2nd January 1884
1259 joined on 29th July 1885
1435 joined on 3rd February 1886
1736 joined on 5th July 1887
2009 joined on 18th February 1888
2337 joined on 2nd January 1889
3007 joined on 11th June 1890
3231 joined on 29th May 1891
3442 joined on 25th January 1892
3653 joined on 26th January 1893
3985 joined on 10th August 1894
4226 joined on 22nd June 1895
4742 joined on 29th July 1896
4793 joined on 4th January 1897
4969 joined on 5th January 1898
5267 joined on 4th January 1899
5974 joined on 22nd March 1900
6503 joined on 3rd January 1901
6914 joined on 10th March 1902
7269 joined on 12th January 1903
7607 joined on 24th January 1904
7906 joined on 9th March 1905
8130 joined on 8th May 1906
8290 joined on 13th February 1907
8615 joined on 23rd January 1908
8928 joined on 8th March 1909
9005 joined on 24th July 1910
9218 joined on 4th January 1911
9598 joined on 30th July 1912
9720 joined on 28th May 1913
9952 joined on 31st March 1914
When Britain went to war with Germany a few months later, men joining the newly forming service battalions of the Devonshire Regiment were issued service numbers which belonged to the same series as that which had been in use for the regular battalions. 10102 enlisted with the Devons for a term of regular service - 7 years with the Colours and 5 on the Reserve - on 14th August 1914. 10121 issued for war-time service only, the following day.
The image above (taken from a cigarette card) shows Private Thomas William Henry Veale of the 8th Devonshire Regiment who was awarded the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery" at High Wood, The Somme on 20th July 1916. His medals are held by the Devonshire Regiment Museum at Dorchester
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Devonshire Regiment literature from the Naval & Military Press
1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment during the Boer War, 1899-1902
The Devonshires took a leading role in the relief of Ladysmith after a lengthy siege by the Boers. They subsequently fought at Inagane and Lydenburg in Natal and South-eastern Transvaal. Their battle honours included the charge at Wagon Hill outside Ladysmith, and the night action at Elandslaagte. In his introductoion, Gen. William Kitchener calls attention to the main qualities of the Devon men who served under him: their ‘dogged devotion to duty’ which helped overcome the Boers’ stubborn resistance; their improvisation and their smart turnout in the worst of conditions. ‘In conclusion’ writes Kitchener, "a more determined crew I never wish to see, and a better regiment to back his orders a General can never hope to have." Iliustrated with 25 photographs and two maps. Also includes Roll of Honour.
Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918
When war broke out in 1914 the Devonshire Regiment consisted of two regular battalions, a Special Reserve Battalion and four Territorial battalions. By the end of the war the total was twenty-nine. This history contains the account of the operations of those battalions which took an active part in the war which earned them two VCs and sixty battle honours at a cost of 5,787 dead. They served on the Western Front, in Italy, Macedonia, Egypt, Palestine, India and in Mesopotamia.
C T Atkinson is among the foremost of the Great War divisional and regimental historians and this book is typical of his standard of writing and composition. He has provided a continuous narrative in a chronological order, bringing in the various battalions as they came onto the stage in the relevant theatre of war. He has made use of war diaries, not only of the battalions but also, where appropriate of brigades and divisions. He was also able to make use of collected accounts of various actions and experiences of those who took part in them, giving the point of view of the man in the trenches. One third of the book, some 250 pages, contains the complete list of honours and awards, including Mention in Despatches, and the Roll of Honour, listed alphabetically by battalions.
Through Hell to Victory
This book deals exclusively with the 2nd Devons (23rd Brigade, 8th Division) during the last year of the war. It describes what the battalion did in the early days of 1918, touches briefly on their movements in January, deals fully with the March retreat in the face of the German offensive, follows them in the fighting to save Amiens and goes on to describe at length the battalion’s heroic stand at the Bois des Buttes, under the shadow of the Chemin des Dames, on the 27th May and following days. For this action the battalion was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm. This account comes not from official records but from the information of those who took part, and it took the author more than a year to assemble all the details. The casualties in the action at the Bois des Buttes, as given in the regimental history, amounted to twenty three officers and 528 men killed or missing.