30 January 2009

More 23rd London numbering

I've added to the post on the 23rd Londons, concerning numbering in 1916. Whilst mostly logical (and sequential) up until 1916, transfers from other London Battalions and conscripts as a result of the 1916 Military Service Act, throw the numbering awry in this and other battalions.

Read more about the Military Service Act on The Long, Long Trail website.

Find 23rd London service records, pension records and medal index cards with a FREE 14 day trial to Ancestry.co.uk - Click here!


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

28 January 2009

Harry Bardsley - A Manchester Pal's War

Private Harry Bardsley served with the 18th (3rd City) Battalion, The Manchester Regiment. Born on 16th December 1893, Harry was working as a salesman for William Briggs and Co in Manchester when was was declared. He attested on 4th September 1914 (number 9814) and served almost until the end of the war until a bullet in his thigh finished his service in October 1918. By then he'd transferred to the 21st Manchesters.

I interviewed Harry in September 1981 and visited him regularly until his death in November 1982.

I originally published the transcript of that interview below, but I've since moved it to a separate World War 1 Veterans blog. Harry Bardsley's story is now HERE.

Harry's service record also survives in the WO 363 series. Read it now with a FREE 14 day trial to Ancestry.co.uk - Click here!


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

27 January 2009

The Manchester Regiment - 22nd, 23rd & 24th Battalions

This post will look at numbers issued to men who joined the 7th and 8th City Battalions and the Oldham Pioneers. The information contained here is based on assumptions made through a study of surviving service papers for men who joined these battalions, and from Soldiers Died in The Great War (SDGW).

The scope of this post covers army service numbers issued to men in the above battalions between November 1914 and June 1915.

22nd Manchesters (7th City)

Numbering in this battalion appears to start at around 20001. The first number on my database for the 22nd Manchesters is 20002 which was issued on 26th November 1914 to George Ashton. The first number in this series on SDGW is 20005 Herbert Brigg who was killed in action on 1st July 1916

In common with the 16th to 21st Battalions of the Manchester Regiment, numbers were initially issued in blocks, (broadly) alphabetically by surname. SDGW gives:

20005 Brigg to 20045 Purcell (20051 is Ackers, 20063 is Tebay)
20070 Broome to 20134 Woolley
20135 Atkinson to 20175 Millward

Thereafter, the alphabetical sequence largely breaks down.

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates between November 1914 and May 1915 for the 19th Manchesters:

20002 joined on 26th November 1914
21046 joined on 4th December 1914
21174 joined on 6th January 1915
21407 joined on 25th April 1915
21429 joined on 27th May 1915

The approximate range of numbers allocated to the 19th Manchesters between September 1914 and May 1915 appears to be between 20001 and 21500. The last man recorded on SDGW within this range for the 22nd Manchesters is 21499 Private William Woollams.

23rd Manchesters (8th City)
Numbering in this battalion starts – at around 21501 - where numbering in the 22nd Manchesters leaves off. The first number on my database for the 23rd Manchesters is 21504 which was issued on 26th November 1914 to William Birch. The first number in this series on SDGW is 21512 issued to Charles Victor Clampitt.

There is some evidence of numbering alphabetically by surname as in previous City Battalions, but the patterns are not sufficiently defined to warrant listing these here.

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates between November 1914 and March 1915 for the 23rd Manchesters:

21504 joined on 26th November 1914
21838 joined on 3rd December 1914
22740 joined on 4th January 1915
22874 joined on 12th February 1915
22976 joined on 21st March 1915

The approximate range of numbers allocated to the 20th Manchesters between November 1914 and May 1915 appears to be between 21501 and 23000. The last man recorded on SDGW within this range for the 20th Manchesters is 22991 Private Robert Simion Hulme who was killed in action on 20th July 1916. The last number on my database within this range is 22993 which was issued to a man who joined the 23rd Manchesters on 23rd March 1915.

There is evidence that this battalion over-ran its allocated block of numbers. Service papers exist in WO 363 and WO 364 which show men being issued numbers in excess of 23000. The mistake appears to have been quickly noticed however with these numbers crossed out and replaced with new numbers in the 285** series which was the next series used by the 23rd Manchesters. These erroneous 23*** numbers only appear on attestation papers and not on medal index cards and appear to have been officially disregarded.

24th Manchesters (Oldham)
This was a pioneer battalion and, barring the 25th, 26th and 27th Battalions which were local reserve battalions, was the last of the Manchester Pals battalions.

Numbering in this battalion appears to start at around 14001 in November 1914 and extends to approximately 15500 in June 1915. The first number on my database for the 21st Manchesters is 14006 which was issued on 6th November 1914 to Joseph Travis Berry. The first number in this series on SDGW is 14005 issued to William Newton. There is no evidence in this battalion, of grouping men alphabetically by surname and then numbering them.

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates between November 1914 and June 1915 for the Oldham Pioneers.

14006 joined on 6th November 1914
14586 joined on 5th December 1914
14953 joined on 6th January 1915
15136 joined on 5th February 1915
15164 joined on 8th March 1915
15199 joined on 17th April 1915
15300 joined on 3rd May 1915
15472 joined on 4th June 1915

Like the 23rd Manchesters, the 24th Manchesters also overran its allocation of numbers and at least eighty men who had been given numbers in excess of 15500, had to be re-numbered from the series beginning 28001; the next series used by this battalion. As with the 23rd Manchesters, these erroneous 155** numbers only appear on attestation papers and not on medal index cards and appear to have been officially disregarded.

This concludes my brief look at the initial allocation of service numbers to the Manchester Pals Battalions. Later in 1915, three local reserve battalions, the 25th, 26th and 27th Battalions, would be formed as reserves for the Pals battalions but I’ll deal with these in a future post.

Read my other posts on the Manchester Regiment:

The Manchester Regiment, The Regular Battalions 1881-1914
The Manchester Regiment, Special Reserve & Extra Reserve 1908-1914

5th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
6th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
7th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
8th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
9th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
10th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)

Manchester Regiment Service Battalion numbers 1914-1916
16th, 17th & 18th Manchesters (1st, 2nd and 3rd City Battalions)
19th, 20th & 21st Manchesters (4th, 5th and 6th City Battalions)

A Manchester Pal's War - 9814 Pte Harry Bardsley, 18th Manchesters

Caveat
It is wrong to assume that numbering sequences in battalions always followed a sequential pattern. They didn't. As the war progressed and casualties grew, large numbers of men were often transferred from one battalion to another and allocated numbers within blocks which did not fit the sequential patterning seen to date. This becomes particularly evident in most battalions from 1916 onwards. For an example of this, see my post on the 23rd London Regiment.


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


Was your ancestor a Manchester Pal? Search the Pals with a FREE 14 day trial to Ancestry.co.uk - Click here!

26 January 2009

The Manchester Regiment - 19th, 20th & 21st Battalions

Following on from yesterday’s post which looked at army service numbers issued to men of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd City battalions of the Manchester Regiment, this post will look at numbers issued to men who joined the 4th, 5th and 6th City Battalions. The information contained here is based on assumptions taken from a study of surviving service papers for men who joined these battalions, and from Soldiers Died in The Great War (SDGW). I’ll be happy to be corrected on any of the assumptions that I’ve made here.

The scope of this post covers army service numbers issued to men in the above battalions between September 1914 and May 1915.

19th Manchesters (4th City)
Numbering in this battalion appears to start at around 11450. The first number on my database for the 19th Manchesters is 11469 which was issued on 7th September 1914 to Edward Leslie Bate. The first number in this series on SDGW is 11470 issued to Charles Clifford Bate. The two men were brothers and joined up on the same day. Charles, the elder brother, was killed in action on 23rd July 1916 and has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Thiepval War Memorial.

In common with the 16th, 17th and 18th Manchesters, numbers were initially issued in blocks, (broadly) alphabetically by surname. SDGW gives:

11470 Bate to 11719 Woodhead
11727 Adshead to 11975 Wynn
11998 Anderson to 12248 Woolley
12259 Armsbey to 12493 Williams

Thereafter, the alphabetical sequence stops. SDGW notes two men with the number 11768, but the second of these, 11768 Albert Wilkinson is incorrect. His number, correctly noted by the Commonwealth war Graves Commission, was 11708.

There are three other exceptions on SDGW who fall outside the four blocks mentioned above. 11977 Nuttall, 11986 Thomas and 11987 Thompson all follow the second block.

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates between September 1914 and May 1915 for the 19th Manchesters:

11469 joined on 7th September 1914
12532 joined on 24th November 1914
12544 joined on 11th December 1914
12602 joined on 11th January 1915
12664 joined on 1st February 1915
12779 joined on 26th March 1915
12881 joined on 17th April 1915
12925 joined on 27th May 1915

The approximate range of numbers allocated to the 19th Manchesters between September 1914 and May 1915 appears to be between 11450 and 12940. The last man recorded on SDGW within this range for the 19th Manchesters is 12934 Private Thomas Wilkinson.

20th Manchesters (5th City)
Numbering in this battalion appears to start at around 17000. The first number on my database for the 20th Manchesters is 17060 which was issued on 16th November 1914 to William Crowther. The first number in this series on SDGW is 17006 issued to John James Barnshaw.

The 20th Manchesters also numbered alphabetically. This from SDGW:

17006 Barnshaw to 17272 Woodhead
17278 Ainsworth to 17539 Worth
17545 Atkinson to 17787 Walker
17810 Astley to 18073 Woolley

Thereafter, the alphabetical sequence stops.

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates between November 1914 and May 1915 for the 20th Manchesters:

17060 joined on 16th November 1914
18080 joined on 29th December 1914
18171 joined on 5th January 1915
18407 joined on 19th April 1915
18449 joined on 17th May 1915

The approximate range of numbers allocated to the 20th Manchesters between November 1914 and May 1915 appears to be between 17000 and 18500. The last man recorded on SDGW within this range for the 20th Manchesters is 18490 Private John Abbott who was killed in action on 1st July 1916. The last number on my database within this range is 18498 which was issued to a man who joined the 20th Manchesters on 28th May 1915.

21st Manchesters (6th City)
Numbering in this battalion appears to start at around 18501 and follows on from the series allocated to the 20th Manchesters. The first number on my database for the 21st Manchesters is 18512 which was issued on 19th November 1914 to John Barber. The first number in this series on SDGW is 18508 issued to Joseph Appleton.

The 21st Manchesters also numbered alphabetically. This from SDGW:

18508 Appleton to 18762 Wild
18776 Adams to 19033 White
19047 Abbott to 19307 Wood
19315 Adshead to 19554 Wolstencroft

Thereafter, the alphabetical sequence stops.

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates between November 1914 and May 1915 for the 20th Manchesters:

18512 joined on 19th November 1914
19565 joined on 10th December 1914
19649 joined on 5th January 1915
19868 joined on 25th March 1915
19893 joined on 24th April 1915
19970 joined on 31st May 1915

The approximate range of numbers allocated to the 20th Manchesters between November 1914 and May 1915 appears to be between 18501 and 20000. The last man recorded on SDGW within this range for the 20th Manchesters is 20000 Private Harry Hinson who was killed in action on 14th July 1916.

I am guessing that the alphabetical sequences - four sequences for each of the battalions above - marked the different companies within each battalion: so first alphabetical sequence for men in A Company, second sequence B Company and so on. This is guesswork on my part and as I mentioned yesterday, the medal rolls for the individual battlions of the Manchester Regiment would give an accurate picture of the number ranges use for each.

Read my other posts on the Manchester Regiment:

The Manchester Regiment, The Regular Battalions 1881-1914
The Manchester Regiment, Special Reserve & Extra Reserve 1908-1914

5th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
6th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
7th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
8th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
9th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
10th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)

Manchester Regiment Service Battalion numbers 1914-1916
16th, 17th & 18th Manchesters (1st, 2nd and 3rd City Battalions)
19th, 20th & 21st Manchesters (4th, 5th and 6th City Battalions)
22nd, 23rd & 24th Manchesters (7th & 8th City Battalions and the Oldham Pioneers)

A Manchester Pal's War - 9814 Pte Harry Bardsley, 18th Manchesters

Caveat
It is wrong to assume that numbering sequences in battalions always followed a sequential pattern. They didn't. As the war progressed and casualties grew, large numbers of men were often transferred from one battalion to another and allocated numbers within blocks which did not fit the sequential patterning seen to date. This becomes particularly evident in most battalions from 1916 onwards. For an example of this, see my post on the 23rd London Regiment.


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

Was your ancestor a Manchester Pal? Search the Pals with a FREE 14 day trial to Ancestry.co.uk - Click here!

25 January 2009

The Manchester Regiment - 16th, 17th & 18th Battalions



The information on this post is based on assumptions taken from a study of surviving service papers for men who joined the 16th, 17th and 18th Manchesters, and from Soldiers Died in The Great War (SDGW). The medal rolls for these battalions would give a more accurate picture of the numbering sequences used, and I’ll be happy to be corrected on any of the assumptions that I have made.

The scope of this post covers the 1st, 2nd and 3rd City Battalions and the army service numbers issued to volunteers joining these battalions between August 1914 and July 1915.

16th Manchesters (1st City)
The 16th Manchesters initially used a separate series of numbers starting from 1 but this was discontinued. Surviving service papers show the numbers originally issued to 16th Battalion men which are crossed out and the new number in the 6*** range overwritten. SDGW gives the first casualty in the 6*** range as 6201 CSM James Hamilton Adamson who was KiA on 9th July 1916. The first number on my database for the 16th Manchester is 6203 Edward Alcroft (originally 713) who joined the 16th Manchesters on 24th August 1914.

When the new numbers in the 6*** range were used, men were grouped alphabetically by surname and then issued numbers. There are eight distinct alphabetic groupings.

SDGW gives:

6201 Adamson to 6329 Wilson
6335 Atherton to 6448 Wilkinson
6458 Balfe to 6572 Wilson
6582 Bentley to 6706 Wood
6713 Ashton to 6819 Wilson
6826 Acheson to 6943 Wiggins
6954 Batley to 7071 Wycherley
7074 Ashton to 7167 Yarwood

Number 7168 was issued to Private Robert Hyde (KiA on 9th July 1916) and from this point onwards, the alphabetical numbering sequence falls down.

The numbers and joining dates on my database for the 16th Manchesters are as follows:

6203 joined on 24th August 1914
7292 joined on 14th December 1914
7351 joined on 11th January 1915
7458 joined on 27th February 1915
7550 joined on 25th March 1915
7651 joined on 7th April 1915
7705 joined on 24th May 1915
7842 joined on 16th June 1915

Between August 1914 and June 1915, the 16th Manchesters appear to have numbered within the overall approximate range 6200 to 7800.

17th Manchesters (2nd City)

Numbering in the original battalion appears to start around 8040 although SDGW notes two 17th Bn men with numbers earlier than this: 8025 Private William Kenyon (DoW 11th April 1918) and 8029 Private William Kerr (Died 13th March 1916).

Like the 16th Manchesters, the 17th numbered alphabetically. This from SDGW:

8043 Aiken to 8355 Wolstencroft
8364 Ashton to 8993 Worrall

After 8993 Worrall, the alphabetical sequence falls down. (Note though, that in between the two sequences above, SDGW notes that number 8359 was issued to Herbert Moores).

The first number on my database for the 17th Manchesters is 8044 Harold Annegarn who joined on 2nd September 1914. Others for subsequent months as follows:

9106 joined on 1st December 1914
9155 joined on 11th January 1915
9270 joined on 8th February 1915

Between September 1914 and February 1915, the 17th Manchesters appear to have numbered within the overall approximate range 8040 to 9530

18th Manchesters (3rd City)

Numbering in the original battalion appears to start around 9800 and again follows a broadly alphabetical sequence. This from SDGW.

9809 Brown to 9960 Whitehead
9963 Anderson to 10001 Williams
10007 Branston to 10038 Normington
10070 Aldred to 10232 Wickman
10240 Cooper to 10317 Whittaker (this is probably the least alphabetical of all the sequences)
10323 Burton to 10464 Tinker
10480 Gamble
10482 Darbyshire to 10519 Wilson
10527 Bradshaw to 10583 Thompson
10586 Gough
10589 Allen
10591 Carruthers
10603 Austin to 10747 Wood
10762 Bowles to 10857 Wright

Thereafter, the alphabetical sequence falls down. The numbers and joining dates on my database for the 18th Manchesters are as follows:

9808 joined on 4th September 1914
10896 joined on 8th November 1914
10941 joined on 29th December 1914
11040 joined on 18th January 1915
11094 joined on 4th February 1915
11169 joined on 27th March 1915
11293 joined on 30th May 1915
11313 joined on 1st June 1915
11323 joined on 5th July 1915

Between September 1914 and July 1915, the 18th Manchesters appear to have numbered within the overall approximate range 9801 to 11325.

The photo on this post dates to 1914 and is that of 9814 Harry Toplis Bardsley, 18th Manchesters. I interviewed Harry in 1981 and I have posted extracts from that interview on a separate post. See below.

Read my other posts on the Manchester Regiment:

The Manchester Regiment, The Regular Battalions 1881-1914
The Manchester Regiment, Special Reserve & Extra Reserve enlistments 1881-1914

5th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
6th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
7th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
8th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
9th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
10th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)

Manchester Regiment Service Battalion numbers 1914-1916
19th, 20th & 21st Manchesters (4th, 5th and 6th City Battalions)
22nd, 23rd & 24th Manchesters (7th & 8th City Battalions and the Oldham Pioneers)

A Manchester Pal's War - 9814 Pte Harry Bardsley, 18th Manchesters
 

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

Caveat
It is wrong to assume that numbering sequences in battalions always followed a sequential pattern. They didn't. As the war progressed and casualties grew, large numbers of men were often transferred from one battalion to another and allocated numbers within blocks which did not fit the sequential patterning seen to date. This becomes particularly evident in most battalions from 1916 onwards. For an example of this, see my post on the 23rd London Regiment.

Find Manchester Pals with a FREE 14 day trial to Ancestry.co.uk - Click here!

SIXTEENTH, SEVENTEENTH, EIGHTEENTH & NINETEENTH BATTALIONS THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT 1914-1918



The Naval & Military Press says:

"These four battalions were raised on the same day, 28 August 1914, by the Lord Mayor and City and designated 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th City of Manchester Battalions, 1st City Brigade: The Manchester Pals. In December 1914 all the locally raised battalions were numbered and the four battalions became 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Battalions, The Manchester Regiment, forming the 90th Brigade of the 30th Division, an entirely Lancashire division with the crest of the Earl of Derby as its divisonal sign. They arrived in France in November 1915. Their first major battle was on 1st July when the division recorded one of the few successes of that awful day by securing all its objectives, including Montauban. This achievement is recognised by a memorial to the Manchester and Liverpool Pals battalions erected in Montauban and unveiled in 1994. In this action Sgt Evans of the 18th Battalion won the VC.

"In 1918, in the German March offensive the 16th Battalion fought a rearguard action on a feature known as Manchester Hill, where the CO, Lt Col W Elstrob was awarded a posthumous VC. There is an excellent map showing the dispositions of the battalion, still useful for anyone visiting the site today. The book is divided into four parts, one for each battalion, each with its own contents list, and the pattern for each battalion is the same: formation and training, roll of officers embarking for France, and description of the fighting. Each battalion record ends with its own honours and awards list and roll of honour in which the officers killed are shown in order of date and the other ranks lists are taken from Soldiers Died. Finally there is a section containing congratulatory messages to formations in which the battalions served."


24 January 2009

The Manchester Regiment - Regular, Special Reserve & Extra Reserve enlistments 1881-1914


This post will just look at sample joining dates for the regular battalions of the Manchester Regiment and - from 1908 - army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for men in the 3rd (Special Reserve) and 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalions. The period covered is 1881 to August 1914.

There are over 71,000 Manchester 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.


Use the regimental numbers and dates on which these were issued, below, to determine parameters for when your own Manchester 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.

The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Manchester Regiment were formed out of the 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot and the 96th Regiment of Foot respectively.

The Regular Battalions - 1st and 2nd - The Manchester Regiment
36 joined on 23rd July 1881
433 joined on 10th October 1882
678 joined on 10th November 1883
744 joined on 26th January 1884
1254 joined on 18th November 1885
1314 joined on 6th January 1886
1908 joined on 15th April 1887
2377 joined on 1st October 1888
2566 joined on 4th Ma 1889
2817 joined on 1st March 1890
3301 joined on 20th August 1891
3507 joined on 6th January 1892
3967 joined on 11th August 1893
4348 joined on 1st October 1894
4635 joined on 15th August 1895
4839 joined on 12th February 1896
5030 joined on 12th February 1897
5373 joined on 21st February 1898
5888 joined on 15th November 1899

In times of need: two more for the Manchesters

Two more regular battalions, the 3rd and 4th, were raised at Aldershot on 1st March 1900. Men joining these battalions were given numbers in the same series that was in use for men joining the 1st and 2nd Battalions. There was no numbering distinction between the four battalions. The 3rd and 4th recruited throughout the Boer War and beyond. It wasn't until 13th September 1906 that an Army Order (number unknown to me) approved the reduction of both battalions. The disbandment of both battalions was completed by the end of that year.

6440 joined on 14th November 1900
6877 joined on 9th September 1901
7520 joined on 25th February 1902
8528 joined on 22nd January 1903
9975 joined on 27th May 1904

During the Boer War, the Manchester Regiment fielded four Volunteer Service Companies and numbering in these companies DID NOT follow the sequential patterning of the time. I have explained this in greater detail on a separate post. Click on the link in this paragrpah to read more.

In 1904, King's Regulations for the Army (Provisional), extended the series of numbering to "19,999 in each regiment of foot guards, infantry of the line and Royal Army Medical Corps..." Presumably though, the Manchesters, approaching 9,999 (the limit set under previous regulations), had already allowed the "sufficient time" specified, and applied to the Adjutant-General to obtain authority to commence a new series. That they were approaching 9,999 as early as 1904 was certainly due to the addition of the 3rd and 4th Battalions in 1900. In any event, the Manchesters started a new series, from 1 in 1904.

39 joined on 8th July 1904
391 joined on 2nd March 1905
915 joined on 9th April 1906
1304 joined on 21st September 1908
1551 joined on 9th February 1909
1675 joined on 11th January 1910
2014 joined on 17th January 1911
2258 joined on 15th February 1912
2509 joined on 12th March 1913
2772 joined on 12th February 1914

By late June 1914, numbering in the two regular battalions had reached the 2800s and when the First World War began, the service battalions would continue with the same series. I'll deal with the service battalions and pals battalions in a future post because the numbering - and allocation of blocks - is by no means a straightforward matter.

3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, The Manchester Regiment

751 joined on 23rd July 1908
1114 joined on 30th April 1909
1319 joined on 10th February 1910
1591 joined on 2nd June 1911
1857 joined on 13th March 1912
2126 joined on 4th September 1913
2226 joined on 10th March 1914

By mid June 1914, numbering in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion had reached around 2300.

4th (Extra Reserve Battalion) Battalion, The Manchester Regiment

688 joined on 25th July 1908
1114 joined on 16th January 1909
1555 joined on 25th August 1910
1629 joined on 23rd February 1911
1759 joined on 1st February 1912
1942 joined on 9th September 1913
1998 joined on 16th February 1914

By 20th June 1914, numbering in the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, had reached 2050.

Both the 3rd (Special Reserve) and the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalions of the Manchester Regiment did not start numbering from 1 in 1908 but continued with the separate numbering series which had been in use for the two militia battalions they were born out of.

Read my other posts on the Manchester Regiment:

The Manchester Regiment, The Regular Battalions 1881-1914

The Manchester Regiment - Volunteer Service Companies 1900-1902

5th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
6th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
7th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
8th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
9th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)
10th Bn, Manchester Regiment (TF)

Manchester Regiment Service Battalion numbers 1914-1916
16th, 17th & 18th Manchesters (1st, 2nd and 3rd City Battalions)
19th, 20th & 21st Manchesters (4th, 5th and 6th City Battalions)
22nd, 23rd & 24th Manchesters (7th & 8th City Battalions and the Oldham Pioneers)

A Manchester Pal's War - 9814 Pte Harry Bardsley, 18th Manchesters


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

Caveat
It is wrong to assume that numbering sequences in battalions always followed a sequential pattern. They didn't. As the war progressed and casualties grew, large numbers of men were often transferred from one battalion to another and allocated numbers within blocks which did not fit the sequential patterning seen to date. This becomes particularly evident in most battalions from 1916 onwards. For an example of this, see my post on the 23rd London Regiment.



Search for your Manchester Regiment ancestor's army service number, service record and pension record with a FREE 14 day trial to Ancestry.co.uk - Click here!



HISTORY OF THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT (63rd and 96th Regiments): VOLUMES I (1758-1883) AND II (1883-1922)







This from the Naval & Military Press:



"This is a history of three regiments: Vol I The 63rd and 96th Foot; Vol II The Manchester Regiment.

"The 63rd began as the 2nd Battalion 8th Foot in 1756; in 1758 it became a separate regiment, was numbered 63 and almost immediately sent to Guadeloupe with an expedition against the French. Subsequently it fought in the American War of Independence, in Flanders and the ill-fated Walcheren expedition, in the Crimea, India and Burma and the 2nd Afghan War, gaining fifteen battle honours in all.

"The 96th, raised in 1824, was the sixth regiment to have that number, taking the Egyptian and Peninsular honours of its immediate predecessor, 96th Queen’s Own, disbanded in 1818. It fought in the First Maori War adding the battle honour “New Zealand” to the other two. Volume II is concerned with the regular battalions of The Manchester Regiment which came into being in 1881 with the Cardwell Reforms, when the 63rd and 96th were paired to form the 1st and 2nd Battalions respectively of the new regiment. Both battalions fought in the South African war and in 1900 two more regular battalions, 3rd and 4th, were formed, both were in the South African war and both were disbanded in 1906.

"In the Great War there were 42 battalions but this volume deals only with the 1st and 2nd Battalions. The 1st served with the 3rd (Lahore) Division on the Western Front, in Mesopotamia and Palestine, the 2nd on the Western Front from Mons to the Armistice, first with 5th Division, and then from the end of 1915 with the 32nd Division. The final chapter provides comprehensive and historically valuable details for the three regiments on uniforms, Colours, badges, weapons, equipment, followed by several useful and interesting appendices. There is correspondence (1922-23) requesting the restoration of the Fleur de Lys cap badge of the 63rd Ft to replace the much disliked Manchester City Coat of Arms cap badge, a badge which was worn by "every worker in the employment of the City corporation.” (request approved). There is the succession of Colonels and an alphabetical roll of regimental officers from 1758 to 1923 showng dates of service with the Regiment, dates of promotion and date and reason for being struck off. The list of Honours and Awards, including foreign, is for all three regiments,. Incidentally the heading for the Order of the British Empire should read "Most Excellent”; the names listed here do not indicate which of the five grades was awarded. Citations of 14 VC awards are given. Officers of the 1st and 2nd Battalions killed in action in the Great War are shown by name, for the rest there is a table summarising the total dead by battalions, giving an overall figure of 14,122 of whom 723 were officers: the total number of casualties of all types numbered some 45,000."





23 January 2009

23rd London Regiment - six digit numbers

Rather than start a new post, I've augmented my previous entry for the 23rd (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment, with sample six digit numbers from the range 700001 to 720000. I'll follow this trend in due course when it comes to adding six digit numbers for other Territorial Battalions covered.

Find 23rd Londons army service numbers, service records and pension records with a FREE 14 day trial to Ancestry.co.uk - Click here!


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

22 January 2009

Welsh Guards 1915-1919


The Welsh Guards were formed on 26th February 1915 and in three days had recruited around 600 men, many of these coming from other Guards regiments. Although some of these latter transfers were "old hands", many were not and there are a number of ex Grenadier Guardsmen for instance, who had only joined their regiment the previous month. Nevertheless, the Welsh Guards sailed for France on 17th March 1915 whilst recruiting continued apace in Britain.

The photograph above appeared in the Illustrated War News issue of 23rd June 1915.

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates from my Welsh Guards database.

135 joined on 27th February 1915
691 joined on 6th March 1915
913 joined on 3rd April 1915
1440 joined on 11th May 1915
1613 joined on 8th June 1915
1792 joined on 9th July 1915
1885 joined on 4th August 1915
1997 joined on 25th September 1915
2003 joined on 1st October 1915
2204 joined on 19th November 1915
2332 joined on 22nd December 1915
2413 joined on 11th January 1916
2573 joined on 12th February 1916
2658 joined on 14th March 1916
2724 joined on 6th April 1916
2752 joined on 20th May 1916
2842 joined on 29th June 1916
2881 joined on 5th July 1916
2971 joined on 8th August 1916
3101 joined on 27th September 1916
3141 joined on 4th October 1916
3339 joined on 1st November 1916
3528 joined on 6th December 1916
3639 joined on 12th January 1917
3675 joined on 8th February 1917
3746 joined on 12th March 1917
3849 joined on 13th April 1917
3899 joined on 4th May 1917
4049 joined 6th June 1917
4105 joined on 26th July 1917
4132 joined on 27th August 1917
4155 joined on 8th September 1917
4208 joined on 3rd October 1917
4237 joined on 3rd November 1917
4310 joined on 25th January 1918
4739 joined on 22nd April 1918
5046 joined on 6th May 1918
5626 joined on 4th June 1918
5761 joined on 14th July 1918


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

Further research

Find Welsh Guards service and pension records on Ancestry.co.uk


HISTORY OF THE WELSH GUARDS

http://www.naval-military-press.com/history-of-the-welsh-guards.html?&partner=PaulNixon

The Naval & Military Press has this to say:

"The creation of a Welsh Regiment of Foot Guards was authorised by Royal Warrant on 26th February 1915, though the order to raise the regiment had been given by the King to Earl Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, on 6th February. In the first instance officers and men came from the other Guards regiments and from the recruits at Caterham. The new regiment mounted guard at Buckingham Palace on St David’s Day, three days after the publication of the Royal Warrant. All this is described in the opening chapter which lists the first officers to join and the regiments from which they transferred."

"On 17th August 1915 the 1st Battalion sailed for France where it was allocated to 3rd Guards Brigade in the newly formed Guards Division. The author is one of the most prolific writers of Great War histories - 53rd, 56th and 74th Divisions as well as the monumental (nearly 950 pages) history of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, and with this history of the Welsh Guards he has maintained his high standards. The story takes us through all the battles in which the battalion fought, describing in detail many individual actions, ending with its return to the UK from the Army of Occupation in March 1919.

"Appendices provide the nominal roll of all WOs NCOs and Men who served overseas with the 1st Battalion, indicating casualties (over 800 dead) and awards and the records of service of officers; examples of operation orders; a record of every move of the battalion from arrival in France on 18 August 1915 to arrival in Cologne on 20 December 1918; list of enemy divisions engaged; the story of the regimental choir, a most important element of the regiment - in short, this is an outstanding history."

WELSH GUARDS AT WAR

"This is the story of the three battalions of Welsh Guards that served during WWII. After a very brief account of previous service (the regiment was raised in February 1915) the first part of the book gives a general survey of the regiment’s part in the war, the second part consists of detailed accounts of the principal actions in which the regiment was engaged - with the BEF in 1940, in Tunisia in 1943, in Italy 1944-45 and in NW Europe 1944-45. There is the Roll of Honour and the list of Honours and Awards. There are numerous drawings of arms and equipment by one of the NCOs, Sgt Murrell, and at the end is a separate section consisting of b/w photos depicting the regiment in action and places where they were, accompanied by explanatory notes."

GUARDS DIVISION IN THE GREAT WAR

"The Guards Division was formed in France in August 1915, the creation of Kitchener (then Secretary of State for War), who, after first obtaining the permission of the King, proceeded to form the division without consulting either the War Office or the C in C of the BEF, Field Marshal French. The first the latter knew about it was in a letter from Kitchener a month before the division came into being. It was formed by concentrating the eight Guards battalions already in France and bringing out from the UK four more, including the recently raised Welsh Guards, plus a pioneer battalion (4th Coldstream). The artillery (less the howitzer brigade), two of the three engineer companies and the signal company came from the 16th (Irish) Division, then still in Ireland; the howitzer brigade came from the 11th (Northern) Division, left behind in England when that division went to Gallipoli. The remaining divisional troops came from the UK or from divisions already in France.

"The first GOC was the Earl of Cavan, a Grenadier, who was later to command British troops in Italy and, in 1922, become Chief of the Imperial General Staff. A month after its formation the division was in action at Loos, suffering just over 2,100 casualties. Thereafter it was seldom out of the fighting - Somme, Passchendaele, Cambrai, the German March 1918 offensive, Hindenburg Line and the final advance to victory. It lived up to its name, earning the reputation of one of the finest fighting formations of the war, an elite. Fifteen VCs were won, and in addition a further seven recipients were awarded theirs while serving with Guards battalions during the year before the division was formed. In all it suffered 44,333 casualties of whom 13,981 were dead."

"In August 1914 the strength of the Foot Guards was 276 officers, 7,036 other ranks; in November 1918 it stood at 1,598 officers and 43,928 other ranks. This is a clear, factual and detailed history, an exceptionally good account, described by the author as “a strictly military record, based on the divisional, brigade and battalion War Diaries and supplemented, where necessary, by other official records, private diaries, personal narratives and various published works.” Plain facts, “no purple passages.” It opens with a brief account of the activities of the Guards with the BEF before the formation of the division: 4th (Guards) Brigade/2nd Division, 1st (Guards) Brigade/1st Division and 20th Brigade/7th Division. It also describes the work of the 4th Guards Brigade after it was reformed in Feb 1918 with the reorganization of the BEF from four to three-battalion brigades, and allotted to 31st Division, winning another VC. Appendices provide order of battle details, succession of officers, staffs and commands, operation orders for major attacks, VC citations, notes on the origin and history of the Guards MG Regiment, on the Entrenching Battalion, on dress and equipment and more besides. The maps are good, clear and uncluttered and there is a comprehensive (22-page) index. This is a very competent piece of work, one of the best of the divisional histories."

Read my other posts on numbering in the Foot Guards regiments:

Grenadier Guards
Coldstream Guards
Scots Guards
Irish Guards

Identify a Foot Guards soldier by his uniform: Identifying the Guards - Army Ancestry