10 July 2009

The King's (Liverpool Regiment) - 1st & 2nd Battalions

This post will look at army service numbers issued to men joining the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The King's (Liverpool Regiment) between the regiment's formation in 1881, and the day Britain went to war with Germany: 4th August 1914.

There are over 67,000 King's (Liverpool Regiment) service and pension records (for this regiment - and its antecedents) in various War Office series held at the National Archives. Clicking on the link will take you to the results on Findmypast but you will need a subscription or Pay-Per-View credits to actually view the records. Some of these records can also be viewed on-line on Ancestry although Findmypast has by far the most comprehensive service record collection.

The King's (Liverpool Regiment) was formed in July 1881 from the 8th (The King's) Regiment of Foot. 

157 joined on 21st October 1881
210 joined on 18th February 1882
376 joined on 5th July 1883
690 joined on 18th March 1884
1028 joined on 1st January 1885
1647 joined on 29th April 1886
2055 joined on 21st April 1887
2373 joined on 1st February 1888
2880 joined on 30th March 1889
3344 joined on 18th April 1890
3541 joined on 29th May 1891
3811 joined on 10th May 1892
4098 joined on 16th February 1893
4443 joined on 1st February 1894
4874 joined on 31st July 1895
5290 joined on 16th April 1896
5659 joined on 5th March 1897
6125 joined on 9th July 1898
6351 joined on 4th February 1899
6733 joined on 20th February 1900
7332 joined on 9th January 1901
8151 joined on 22nd May 1902
8418 joined on 24th February 1903
8774 joined on 28th April 1904
9316 joined on 8th July 1905
9622 joined on 10th September 1906
9923 joined on 25th April 1907
10477 joined on 9th November 1908
10578 joined on 9th June 1909
10799 joined on 11th January 1910
11102 joined on 15th March 1911
11226 joined on 12th February 1912
11588 joined on 26th May 1913
11987 joined on 4th August 1914

Number 11987 enlisted as a career soldier for 12 years' long service, and there would be many thousands of men following in his footsteps, albeit the vast majority of these for shorter, war-time only service.

The King's did not start a separate series for the Kitchener volunteers but used the same number series that had been in use by the regulars up until then. The only differentiation between a man enlisting for a regular period of service was - initially at least - the prefix before the number. Numbers for the volunteers were prefixed with the letter K/ whilst those enlisting for regular service had the letter L/ placed before their numbers. The King's appear to have abandoned the K/ prefix by around mid November 1914, but the L/ prefix continued to be used - inconsistently - for regular enlistments; certainly into 1915 at least.

I've borrowed the image on this post from the Wikipedia page about the King's (Liverpool Regiment). It shows men from The King's (D Company; battalion not stated) at Wellington Barracks, Nova Scotia in 1890.

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

Further Reading
King's (Liverpool Regiment)

History of the King's Regiment (Liverpool) 1914-1919
Massive history of the old 8th Regiment of Foot. Originally published in three volumes this reprinted work comes in one softback edition and include a roll of honour of 14,200 war dead.

The History of the 2/6th Battalion "The King's" (Liverpool Regiment) 1914-1919
Contains detailed appendices listing officers and other ranks, appointments held, casualty details etc.

Story of the "9th King's" in France
First World War history of this Territorial Force formation.

The Liverpool Scottish 1900-1919
Solid history of this King's (Liverpool Regiment) Territorial Force battalion from its formation in 1900.


Peter_martin8@hotmail.com said...

Hello Paul,

Fantastic website! An unparalleled resource for service numbers. I am trying to find out more about the role of my great-grandfathers in world war one. The project is generally going very well, but I am wondering if your research might be able to shed some light on a couple of mysteries I am trying to solve.

One of my ancestors, 330757 George Gibbons, was a member of the Kings Liverpool Regiment. Beyond some family photos and a medal card, he seems to hav otherwise eluded the archives entirely. Would you know what his service number might say about his enlistment date? And would it confirm he was in the 9th of the Kings (Liverpool Regiment) as we believe?

Any information that can be derived from his service would be very much appreciated.

Best Regards, Peter Martin

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for you compliments, Peter.

Yes, I can confirm that 330757 does fall within the range of numbers allocated to the 9th King's (Liverpool Regt). This second series of TF numbers was allocated to men in order of longevity of service and in this case indicates that George Gibbons enlisted between the 6th and 10th November 1914. His original four-digit number would have been somewhere between 2860 and 2943.

Good luck with your research.


Derrick Watson said...


Thanks for the huge effort in putting this site together, a great resource.

I am trying to find the right records for my Grandad, William George Watson. He was a Sergeant in the Machine Gun Corps. From the Medal Index Cards one possibility is a Sgt William Watson who was #12654 in the MGC and then transferred to the Liverpool Regiment #13373.

Does this number give any clue as to when he transferred?


Paul Nixon said...

Hello Derrick

I've left a response on your other, more detailed query, on the comment you left on the Index post.


Draperju said...

Great website a brilliant resource for anyone doing work on war memorials. please keep it going.

Can you please confirm that 8582 Charles nthony Waine is an 1903

Thanks draperju

Paul Nixon said...

Thank you draperju. 8582 does indeed date to 1903 - October.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the confirmation of the date I can find the man as a civilian in the 1911 census so I think that he enlisted for seven years and five with national reserve. Waine was killed with 1st Battalion on 27/10/1914. A reservist I believe

Best wises Draperju

Paul Nixon said...

Remember that the terms of enlistment changed over the years. He may well have enlisted for the short-lived 3&9 which would have meant he was a reservist as early as 1906. Incidentally, the National Reserve was distinct from the Army Reserve and he would certainly appear to have been part of the latter.


Frank Baldwin said...

I am researching a 105434 Samuel Booth a soldier of 5th Kings who died on 17th September 1918. His number isn't in the renumbered TF series. Is there any significance to this number? Does it give any clues about when he joined the army and whether he was a volunteer or conscript?

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Frank. It's not a TF number, it's a late (Dec 1917 or jan 1918) issue to a man who probably served in a King's service battalion. By this time, volunteering had long been superceded by conscription and so he would have been called up.


Colin Clement said...

A great resource I am try to eliminate a number of soldiers to pin point my Grandfather one of the main candidates is a chap who served in the Kings Liverpool with 88969 William J Clement the dates on the war badge, etc roughly line up with what I know, but can you please tell my when 88969 was used and which battalion, etc the number was allocated to.

Many Thanks.

Paul Nixon said...

Colin, sorry for the delay.

If you say he has a SWB then you have an enlistment date for this man already (although bear in mind that the enlistment date is always a first enlistment and may not necessarily relate to the number that the man had on discharge). I'm sorry though, that this number can't be tied in to a particular battalion as far as I'm aware.

snaphappy20 said...

Hi Paul

I am researching my grandfather, who I believe was in the King's Liverpool Regiment. Are you able to tell me when he might have enrolled and his battalion, based on his Service number. John L Poole 96199.

Many Thanks


Paul Nixon said...

Hello Mel

The higher the number, the later the enlistment (generally). From the few numbers that I have seen in this range it would suggest either the 51st (Graduated) or the 53rd (Young Soldiers') Battalion, but bear in mind that I only have half a dozen records to call upon here and one swallow doesn't make a summer. The few surviving records that I have seen have men transferring into this battalion from the 72nd Training Reserve Battalion. The number appears to date to March 1918.

Stephen Lord said...

Hi Paul

I am researching my grandfather Percy Lord 29478. His enlistment date is 26.5.15. On his character certificate it also states BEF France 24.3.16 to 8.11.16. Would you have any idea relating to his battalion?

Best regards

stephen lord

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Stephen

I don't believe this number is specific to a particular battalion but try asking the same question on the Great War Forum: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php

Sorry I can't help.

Anonymous said...

hi paul
trying to find info and a family member
9575 William Ashworth Manchester Regiment

Mark Fuller said...

Hi Paul,
I am trying to find which Battalion my grandfather served in, his name was Joseph F Ross.

His record shows he was with the Liverpool Rifles Pvte svc no 001609 then transferred to MGC svc no 24447 around Feb 1915

When transferred to MGC was he still with the Liverpool Rifles ?

Where can I find information about which campaigns he was in ?

Best regards


Paul Nixon said...

Mark, he would have transferred from the King's (Liverpool Regt) to the MGC, although this must have been 1916 rather than 1915. If no service record survive for him you'll struggle to identify the campaigns he fought in.

John Ó Néill said...

Hi - your blog is a great resource. Any suggestions as to how I would identify someone who enlisted in 1st Battalion under a false name in second half of 1882 and appears to have deserted in February or March 1889.
I am assuming I'd have to access Police Gazette for those dates and look for someone who was reported to have deserted from 1st Batt with a low service number (judging by attestation dates I'd figured around 210-260)? Police Gazette isn't online for those dates, so I'm guessing physical copy in British Library is only option? NOt sure what the alternatives are - checking Muster Rolls for service numbers that drop out over same two month period (am not sure if these are accessible online - presumably only in Kew)? Although as it is nearly 7 years since they joined up that wouldn't indicate if they had deserted etc (discharge info on Findmypast only really easy to access up to end of 1887 - or am I missing something)?

Paul Nixon said...

I think your assumptions are all about spot on but I don't believe the musters extend to 1889. If they do they will be at TNA. Likewise, as you say, Police Gazette at the British library. Findmypast's records in this series (WO 97) extend to 1913 and fi eiukd, in theory, cover the date you're after.

Leonie said...

Hello Paul,

Having been looking into the military History of my family I have searched a number of websites and this is the most informative. Thank you very much for this resource.

I am trying to find out a little more information on 013237 Pte Percival John Malclom Salkeld. I know he also served in the Manchester's (No. 276 980). I know he was deployed oversees (02/05/1919) during the first world war and was discharged due to no longer being fit for service (sickness 392/xvi)in 09/1917.

Is it possible to work out his enlistment date and potentially where he served?

Thank you so much in advance.


Cirsty Bewick said...

Hi, I hope someone can help. My Great grandfather was William Albert fletcher 26966 1st battloon kings liverpool. Sadly we don’t have any photos of him and have searched for photos of his regientment but no success. I have his MIC and have found his grave which we have visited. Any information would be fantastic xxx kind regards Cirsty xx

Paul Nixon said...

@Leonie, yes it is possible. The silver war badge roll will tell you when he enlisted - probably with the King's - and it would also be possible to work out when he transferred to the Manchester Regiment. Please see the RESEARCH tab.

Paul Nixon said...

@Cirsty it would be possible to work out when he enlisted and you have his arrival date overseas. Also grab the medal rolls and soldiers' effects register entry from Ancestry; also Soldiers Died in the Great War; check casualty rolls etc. If you need help, get in touch. See the RESEARCH tab.

Anonymous said...

My grandad was in the Liverpool Scottish so I was told but his name is
coming up as being in the Liverpool Kings A H Windsor number 359724 could you explain why
yours G Windsor


Unknown said...

Hi i am trying to find anything on private a redfern 37592 liverpool regiment thanks peter.

Paul Nixon said...

I have to repeat the message which is very clearly stated on the comments' page. Thank you for visiting this blog. Please note that if your comment concerns research about a particular individual, you should read the RESEARCH tab at the top of the page.

Paul Nixon said...

G Windsor, The King's (Liverpool Regiment) was the correct regimental title. The Liverpool Scottish was the name of the 10th Battalion, thus: 10th (Liverpool Scottish) Battalion, The King's (Liverpool Regiment).