23 December 2009

South Staffordshire Regiment - 1st & 2nd Battalions


This post will look at numbering in the regular battalions of The South Staffordshire Regiment between 1881 and spring 1914.

The regiment was formed in July 1881; the 1st Battalion from the old 38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot, and the 2nd Battalion from the old 80th (Staffordshire Volunteers) Regiment of Foot. Service records for all of the following numbers - a sample from a larger database - survive in the WO 363 (Burnt Documents) and WO 364 (Pensions) series at the National Archives in Kew, London. These records can also be viewed on-line via Ancestry.co.uk which is currently offering a FREE 14 day trial.

In fact, there are over 39,000 South Staffordshire Regiment pension and service 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 South Staffordshire Regiment 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.

162 joined on 10th December 1881
361 joined on 16th August 1882
487 joined on 15th March 1883
796 joined on 2nd February 1884
1198 joined on 30th January 1885
1639 joined on 3rd January 1886
2269 joined on 29th July 1887
2530 joined on 10th October 1888
2616 joined on 10th February 1889
2761 joined on 14th January 1890
3053 joined on 29th May 1891
3315 joined on 27th February 1892
3679 joined on 14th January 1893
4211 joined on 21st July 1894
4675 joined on 29th May 1895
4862 joined on 8th April 1896
5096 joined on 13th August 1897
5292 joined on 24th February 1898
5589 joined on 19th January 1899
5944 joined on 11th June 1900
6202 joined on 18th June 1901
6333 joined on 10th January 1902
6719 joined on 7th January 1903
7126 joined on 1st May 1904
7261 joined on 9th January 1905
7540 joined on 4th January 1906
7971 joined on 29th April 1907
8249 joined on 17th January 1908
8619 joined on 4th August 1909
8761 joined on 5th January 1910
8968 joined on 6th April 1911
9127 joined on 10th April 1912
9419 joined on 3rd June 1913
9519 joined on 21st April 1914

In August 1914 Britain went to war with Germany, and when the new service battalions of the South Staffordshire Regiment started forming shortly afterwards, men joining these battalions for war-time service only (as well as those men who joined the regular battalions as career soldiers) were given numbers in continuation of the number series, above.

The photo on this post is borrowed from a family history website and shows 9152 Corporal Isaac Leonard Williams of the 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment. He would be killed in action with his battalion on 29th July 1916.

Len Williams was a 22-year-old sergeant when he died, and he was also the holder of the Military Medal. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission tells us that he was the son of Isaac and Harriet Williams, of High Street, Swindon, Dudley and that he is buried in Gordon Dump Cemetery at Ovillers La Boiselle. Len's number indicates that he joined the South Staffs between April and October 1912. He arrived in France on the 12th August 1914. Len Williams RIP.

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