This post will look at army service numbers issued to men joining the regular battalions of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry between the regiment's formation in July 1881, and August 1914. The regiment was formed out of the old 32nd Regiment of Foot and the 46th (South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot.
There are over 23,000 Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry 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.
Use the regimental numbers and dates on which these were issued, below, to determine parameters for when your own Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry ancestor would have joined up. Note though that these numbers are only for regular enlistments. Special Reserve and Territorial Force battalions operated completely separate regimental number sequences.
35 joined on 18th July 1881
415 joined on 15th July 1882
1100 joined on 5th June 1883
1236 joined on 8th April 1884
1559 joined on 6th January 1885
1943 joined on 8th January 1886
2495 joined on 26th January 1888
2854 joined on 20th January 1889
3199 joined on 4th October 1890
3282 joined on 9th February 1891
3634 joined on 2nd January 1892
4012 joined on 31st January 1893
4356 joined on 24th January 1894
4822 joined on 18th June 1895
4995 joined on 12th February 1896
5201 joined on 6th April 1897
5466 joined on 23rd May 1898
5741 joined on 25th January 1899
6116 joined on 12th January 1900
6541 joined on 25th May 1901
6911 joined on 13th March 1902
7274 joined on 3rd March 1903
8216 joined on 15th September 1905
8338 joined on 19th March 1906
8566 joined on 17th January 1907
9080 joined on 8th September 1908
9217 joined on 5th January 1909
9378 joined on 1st March 1910
9711 joined on 16th February 1911
9895 joined on 17th April 1912
10163 joined on 20th February 1913
10456 joined on 4th August 1914
During the course of the Great War, the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry added eight service battalions to the two regular, one reserve and two Territorial Force battalions that already existed. These new service battalions would all draw their numbers from the same series listed above.
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Books from the Naval & Military Press
History of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry 1914-1919
The author is one of the most prolific of the military history writers with seven regimental and four divisional histories when this one went to press. The narrative begins with the 1st Battalion mobilizing and embarking for France where it arrived on 15th August, part of the original BEF. The 2nd Battalion returned from Hong Kong to join the newly formed 27th Division, which arrived in France in December 1914 and eleven months later was transferred to Salonika. Wyrral follows his usual pattern of providing a chronological account of the war from Mons to the Armistice as it affected the DCLI, and in the margins of each page is the date of the events being described and the battalion or battalions involved. There is a Roll of Honour, list of Honours and Awards including Mentions in Despatches and Foreign Awards, promotions for services in the field and a useful reference showing the allocations of battalions of the Regiment to brigades or divisions. CLICK HERE.
British Military History Bookshop
Click the link above to view Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and Cornwall-related military books.
More from The Naval & Military Press
Historical Records of the 32nd (Cornwall) Light Infantry
A history of the 32nd (Cornwall) Light Infantry, proudly narrating its service throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
I've borrowed the image on this page from the excellent Light Infantry Regiments website which has detailed information on the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and other British Light Infantry Regiments. The photograph depicts men of E Company, 2nd DCLI in Hong Kong in 1913.