27 February 2009

9th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

The 9th (The Dumbartonshire) Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, was a Territorial Force (TF) battalion which, at the beginning of 1914, was headquartered at Dumbarton. A Company recruited men from Helensburgh, B Company from Kirkintilloch, C Company from Dumbarton, D Company from Milngavie, E Company from Jamestown, F Company from Alexandria, and G and H Companies from Clydebank.

Again, and in common with other Territorial Force battalions from this regiment, the numbering up until 1914 is not sequential. As an example, take a look at these enlistments from 1912 and 1913, place of joining indicated in square brackets.

1912 Enlistments

1501 joined on 10th January 1912 [Dumbarton]
1516 joined on 25th January 1912 [Alexandria]
1527 joined on 9th January 1912 [Jamestown]
1533 joined on 30th January 1912 [Jamestown]
1549 joined on 22nd February 1912 [Kirkintilloch]
1613 joined on 12th April 1912 [Clydebank]
1615 joined on 16th April 1912 [Alexandria]
1649 joined on 14th May 1912 [Clydebank]
1660 joined on 5th June 1912 [Clydebank]
1693 joined on 17th June 1912 [Dumbarton]

Service records for all of these 1912 and 1913 survive in the WO 363 and WO 364 series at the National Archives. They can all be viewed on-line via the Ancestry.co.uk website.


1913 Enlistments

1780 joined on 11th February 1913 [Clydebank]
1807 joined on 24th January 1913 [Dumbarton]
1825 joined on 5th February 1913 [Milngavie]
1860 joined on 12th April 1913 [Alexandria]
1861 joined on 14th April 1913 [Renton]
1893 joined on 18th March 1913 [Jamestown]
1920 joined on 1st April 1913 [Dumbarton]
1961 joined on 8th April 1913 [Renton]
2041 joined on 6th November 1913 [Helensburgh]

Renton was the location of the drill station for F Company (headquartered at Alexandria) and I'm just going to pull out the records for those Alexandria and Renton men:

1516 joined on 25th January 1912 [Alexandria]
1615 joined on 16th April 1912 [Alexandria]
1860 joined on 12th April 1913 [Alexandria]
1861 joined on 14th April 1913 [Renton]
1961 joined on 8th April 1913 [Renton]

Looking at this short sequence, 1860 and 1861 seem perfectly logical, 1861 joining two days after 1860. But bearing in mind that a Territorial Force Battalion company probably numbered no more than 125 men, give or take, in 1912; and given that recruitment was slow anyway (and had reached an all time low the previous year), recruiting 100 men into two and a half months (see 1516 and 1615 above) just isn't feasible.

If any logic was applied at all - and one assumes that it must have been - it seems more probable that companies were allocated blocks of numbers and when these were used up, they applied for another block. I should emphasize that this is all supposition on my part - and as a result of interesting communications with the webmaster of the excellent Sons of Galloway website.  

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

Also see my posts regarding army service numbers issued to men in the following Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders battalions:

1st & 2nd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders 1881-1914
3rd (Special Reserve) & 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion A&S Highlanders
5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders service battalions 1914-1917

26 February 2009

Army photos - an appeal


Help me to illustrate the Army Service Numbers blog.

I'll return to army service numbers issued to the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders tomorrow. For today though, an appeal.

I like, wherever possible, to illustrate each post with a relevant image. I have done so in some instances already, using a combination of photographs and postcards in my collection as well as those that I have found on-line. Inevitably though, there will be those regiments - and as far as I am concerned, the A&S Highlanders is a good example - for which I have no image at all.

So that's my request. If anybody has suitable images that I could use for any of the battalions and regiments discussed in these posts, I'd be very happy to use them. In return, I can provide a link to the site of your choice (as long as it's non-commercial) and of course give due acknowledgement. You can drop me a line at links@chailey1914-1918.net.

The undated photograph on this post comes from my collection and shows convalescent soldiers snowballing, somewhere in England.


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

25 February 2009

8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders


Click on the 1923 map above (courtesy of The Picture Parlour) to get a better picture of the geographical spread covered by the 8th (The Argyllshire) Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. This was a Territorial Force (TF) battalion which, at the beginning of 1914, was headquartered at Dunoon. A Company recruited men from Inverary, B Company from Campbeltown, C Company from Southend, D Company from Dunoon, E Company from Lochgilphead, F Company from Ballachulish, G Company from Bowmore and H Company from Easdale. (Source: The Territorial Force 1914 - Ray Westlake). All Companies, with the exception of D Company (Dunoon), had drill stations in multiple locations.

Early recruits to the 8th A&S Highlanders came from the 5th Volunteer Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. As with the 6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, numbering in this battalion - starting from 1 in April 1908 - does not always follow a logical, sequential path and so for the time being I'm going to start the series on the Bank Holiday Monday, August 1914; the day before Britain went to war with Germany.

1791 joined on 3rd August 1914
1941 joined on 4th September 1914
2168 joined on 2nd October 1914
2316 joined on 4th November 1914
2466 joined on 7th December 1914
2592 joined on 4th January 1915
2991 joined on 1st February 1915
3240 joined on 19th March 1915
3267 joined on 6th April 1915
3331 joined on 26th May 1915 [Sup Coy]
3336 joined on 8th June 1915 [Sup Coy]
3366 joined on 5th July 1915
3411 joined on 25th August 1915
3417 joined on 1st September 1915
3468 joined on 12th October 1915
3544 joined on 25th November 1915
3658 joined on 7th December 1915
3760 joined on 8th February 1916
3864 joined on 8th May 1916
4703 joined on 28th June 1916
4748 joined on 13th July 1916
4872 joined on 8th August 1916
5096 joined on 2nd September 1916
5324 joined on 23rd October 1916
5346 joined on 11th November 1916

Note the large jump from 3864 in May 1916 to 4748 the following month. Also, throwing another spanner in the battalion's numbering works are those men from the National Reserve who attested on form E.514 for one year's service at home. Numbers 2201 and 2203 for example, both attested on 4th September 1914. Later, men joining Number 1 Supernumerary Company, attached to the 2/8th A&S Highlanders, would be given numbers that fell perfectly in the sequence being used by the battalion; see the men indicated with [Sup Coy] above.

When the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917, the 8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders were issued numbers within the range 300001 to 325000. Here are some sample six digit army service numbers from this series:

300048 originally joined on 15th March 1909
300120 originally joined on 20th February 1912
300182 originally joined on 13th January 1913
300292 originally joined on 26th January 1914
300382 originally joined on 8th August 1914
300518 originally joined on 15th September 1914
300573 originally joined on 8th October 1914
300645 originally joined on 5th November 1914
300861 originally joined on 9th January 1915
301108 originally joined on 11th February 1915
301184 originally joined on 6th April 1915
301268 originally joined on 6th September 1915
301300 originally joined on 1st November 1915
301409 originally joined on 6th December 1915
301495 originally joined on 8th February 1916
301722 originally joined on 15th May 1916
301825 originally joined on 3rd June 1916
302228 originally joined on 18th July 1916
302368 originally joined on 21st August 1916
302561 originally joined on 15th September 1916

Also see my posts regarding army service numbers issued to men in the following Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders battalions:

1st & 2nd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders 1881-1914
3rd (Special Reserve) & 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion A&S Highlanders
5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
9th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders service battalions 1914-1917

And finally...

BEWARE! As I have illustrated above, 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.
 

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

The First World War

During the Great War, The Argyllshire Battalion formed part of the 51st Division (from 12 May 1915), the 61st (2nd South Midland) Division (from 7th February 1918) and finally the 15th (Scottish) Division from 1 June 1918. The following Naval & Military re-reprints may be of interest:

FIFTEENTH (SCOTTISH) DIVISION 1914-1919


This is a fantastic book. I paid £160 for an original copy of this a few years ago. The N&MP re-print is considerably cheaper. Here's what N&MP say about the book:

"The senior of Kitchener’s Second New Army Divisions, the 15th (Scottish) was raised at Aldershot in September 1914 with a nucleus of men surplus to the requirements of the 9th (Scottish) Division and brought up to strength with drafts sent down from Scotland. It arrived in France in July 1915 and its first major battle was at Loos in which it captured its objectives, Loos itself and Hill 70, at a cost of 6, 404 casualties. All five VCs the division was to be awarded were won during the battle, four of them in twenty-four hours at Hill 70. The division remained in this sector till July 1916 when it moved down to the Somme where it achieved a notable success in capturing Martinpuich on 15th September. It took part in the Arras offensive in April 1917 and three months later it was fighting in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge during Third Ypres. It was back in the Arras sector when the German March 1918 offensive was launched and where the division held the enemy drive on Arras. For a short spell in July/August the division was under French command and took part in the capture of Buzancy and neighbouring villages. Total casualties throughout the war amounted to 45,542.

"This is an excellent history, well set out and with very good maps to support the interesting and well-written account of the division’s record. A most useful innovation is the provision of marginal notes which highlight events described in the accompanying text, and the top of each page is dated, a most welcome feature in a fast-moving narrative. A remarkable feature is the number of appendices which take up 192 pages and provide a wealth of detail: Order of Battle; Commanders and Staff both divisional and brigade with all changes; chronology of moves and events; casualties by battalions/units by dates with officers named and other ranks tabulated; complete list of recipients of Honours and Awards, by battalions/units. Of special interest are the operation orders for the Battle of Loos and the translation of a German report on the battle."




"The Highland Division was one of the pre-war Territorial divisions. Its HQ was in Perth with brigade HQs in Aberdeen, Inverness and Stirling. On mobilization the division moved down to its war station in Bedford where it remained, carrying out training till embarking for France in May 1915. During this period six of its battalions were sent to France, three in November 1914 and three in the following March, replaced by two Highland battalions and a brigade of four Lancashire battalions; it is not clear whether the latter were required to wear kilts. They were transferred to the 55th (West Lancashire) Division when that division reformed in France in January 1916 and were replaced, appropriately, by Scottish battalions. It was in May 1915, just as the division arrived in France, that it was designated 51st and the brigades 152nd, 153rd and 154th; by the end of the war the 51st (Highland) Division had become one of the best known divisions in the BEF."




"The author served in the 7th Battalion (TF) Gordon Highlanders, 153rd Brigade, 51st Highland Division, and the period covered runs from their departure for France on 3rd May 1915 to the capture of Beaumont Hamel by the division on 13th November 1916. This is partly personal reminiscence and partly an account of his brigade and division in action. Thus we have extracts from his ‘trench journal’ on various dates describing his battalion’s experiences, but these are often set against a background of the brigade or division operations. It does not replace a divisional history as such but it certainly does give a very good picture of the Highland division at war and of a Highland battalion at war. Names of personalities mentioned are for real - not pseudonyms. This is a well-written account and a very satisfactory read but lacks maps and an index."

24 February 2009

7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

The 7th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, was a Territorial Force (TF) battalion which, at the beginning of 1914, was headquartered at Stirling. A Company drew men from Stirling, B Company from Stenhousemuir, C Company from Falkirk, D Company from Lennoxtown, E and H Companies from Alloa, F Company from Alva and G Company from Kinross. (Source: The Territorial Force 1914 - Ray Westlake).

The battalion, formed in 1908, took in men who had previously served with the 4th Volunteer Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.

The numbering series used for the 7th A&S Highlanders appears to be a good deal less complicated than that used for the 6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. Typically, there is an exception and that appears to be those D Company men who joined at Lennoxtown and Kilsyth (which is where the drill station for D Company was situated). Up until the end of 1911 at least, their army service numbers appear to be out of step with men joining the other companies.

The following sequences to the end of 1911 show sample army service numbers for the 7th A&S Highlanders. Locations indicated in square brackets are the places of joining. Kilsyth & Lennoxtown men in blue.

Service records for ALL of the army service numbers listed on this post, survive in the WO 363 (burnt documents) and WO 364 (penison) series at the National Archives. They can all be accessed on-line via Ancestry.co.uk

1909
880 joined on 12th January [Falkirk]
942 joined on 7th February [Kilsyth]
1006 joined on 28th January [E - Falkirk]
1016 joined on 25th March [Falkirk]
1038 joined on 8th April [Lennoxtown]
1062 joined on 4th March [Kelty]
1157 joined on 7th April [Kinross]

1910
1219 joined on 24th February [Kilsyth]
1249 joined on 9th February [E - Falkirk]
1285 joined on 23rd April [Kilsyth]
1287 joined on 23rd April [Kilsyth]
1322 joined on 16th December [Kilsyth]
1330 joined on 1st November [Falkirk]

1911
1324 joined on 16th January [Lennoxtown]
1334 joined on 20th February [Falkirk]
1349 joined on 15th March [Kilsyth]
1350 joined on 30th January [Stenhousemuir]
1353 joined on 31st January [Larbert]
1381 joined on 1st April [Kelty]
1382 joined on 11th April [Kelty]
1384 joined on 24th April [Alloa]
1403 joined on 2nd November [Lennoxtown]
1411 joined on 8th November [Lennoxtown]
1415 joined on 7th November [Kinross]

Now admittedly, what I have published above is a very small sample of army service numbers and joining dates for the 7th A&S Highlanders and I would love to see further evidence to support my theory that D Company men were - up until 1911 at least, and for want of a better term - out of kilter with the other companies. By 1912, as I say, the numbering appears to have settled down. I've added some six digit numbers into this following sequence. These were issued when the TF was re-numbered in 1917.

1912
1438 joined on 17th January [Falkirk]
1467 joined on 29th January [Larbert]
1492 joined on 2nd February [Alva]
1515 joined on 18th March [Kilsyth]
1518 joined on 18th March [Kilsyth] later re-numbered 275112
1523 joined on 20th March[Kilsyth]
1534 joined on 26th March[Kinross]
1539 joined on 26th March [Kilsyth]
1553 joined on 27th March [Kilsyth] later re-numbered 275127
1567 joined on 2nd April [Denny]
1583 joined on 18th April [Kelty]
1594 joined on 16th April [Alloa]
1624 joined on 16th May [Alloa] later re-numbered 275160
1625 joined on 17th May [Alloa]
1665 joined on 31st July [Falkirk]
1689 joined on 6th November [Kilsyth]
1701 joined on 14th November [Falkirk] later re-numbered 275196
1727 joined on 5th December [Falkirk]

Here are some further sample army service numbers for the 7th A&S Highlanders from 1913 until 1916.

1784 joined on 21st January 1913
2132 joined on 31st March 1914
2248 joined on 11th August 1914
2359 joined on 7th September 1914
3004 joined on 14th October 1914
3151 joined on 2nd November 1914
3750 joined on 1st February 1915
3821 joined on 20th March 1915
4166 joined on 22nd April 1915
4181 joined on 3rd May 1915
4329 joined on 9th June 1915
4393 joined on 27th July 1915
4433 joined on 19th August 1915
4449 joined on 11th October 1915
4598 joined on 3rd November 1915
4745 joined on 24th January 1916
4824 joined on 2nd March 1916
5018 joined on 27th April 1916
5285 joined on 18th May 1916
5519 joined on 1st June 1916
6166 joined on 4th August 1916
6511 joined on 5th September 1916
6704 joined on 23rd October 1916
6838 joined on 29th November 1916
7274 joined on 29th December 1916

When the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917, the 7th A&S Highlanders (as can be seen above) were issued numbers within the block 275001 to 300000.

BEWARE!
As I have illustrated above, 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.


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

Also see my posts regarding army service numbers issued to men in the following Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders battalions:

1st & 2nd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders 1881-1914
3rd (Special Reserve) & 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion A&S Highlanders
5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
9th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders service battalions 1914-1917


The First World War

Two further battalions were formed during the First World War, the 2/7th and 3/7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. The original, 7th Battalion became the 1/7th and, from January 1915, formed part of the 4th Division. In March 1916 it transferred to the 51st (Highland) Division.



The Naval and Military Press has re-published the 51st Divisional History. Here's what it says:

"The Highland Division was one of the pre-war Territorial divisions. Its HQ was in Perth with brigade HQs in Aberdeen, Inverness and Stirling. On mobilization the division moved down to its war station in Bedford where it remained, carrying out training till embarking for France in May 1915. During this period six of its battalions were sent to France, three in November 1914 and three in the following March, replaced by two Highland battalions and a brigade of four Lancashire battalions; it is not clear whether the latter were required to wear kilts. They were transferred to the 55th (West Lancashire) Division when that division reformed in France in January 1916 and were replaced, appropriately, by Scottish battalions. It was in May 1915, just as the division arrived in France, that it was designated 51st and the brigades 152nd, 153rd and 154th; by the end of the war the 51st (Highland) Division had become one of the best known divisions in the BEF."

I haven't read this divisional history but I do have an original copy of Fifty-First in France which I would recommend and which has also been re-published by N&M Press:



Here's the blurb:

"The author served in the 7th Battalion (TF) Gordon Highlanders, 153rd Brigade, 51st Highland Division, and the period covered in the book runs from their departure for France on 3rd May 1915 to the capture of Beaumont Hamel by the division on 13th November 1916. This is an unusual piece of work in that it is partly personal reminiscence and partly an account of his brigade and division in action. Thus we have extracts from his ‘trench journal’ on various dates describing his battalion’s experiences, but these are often set against a background of the brigade or division operations. It does not replace a divisional history as such but it certainly does give a very good picture of the Highland division at war and of a Highland battalion at war. Names of personalities mentioned are for real - not pseudonyms. This is a well-written account and a very satisfactory read but lacks maps and an index."

23 February 2009

6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders - pre 1914 numbers

I've added to my post on the 6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders with additional information about army service numbers prior to 1914.

In common with some Territorial Force battalions in some other Scottish Regiments - see the Royal Scots for example - the 6th A&S Highlanders appears to have allocated blocks of numbers within its series to the eight different companies that were in existence up until the First World War. However, whereas differentiating between the number blocks is a relatively straightforward matter with the 8th Royal Scots for instance, with the 6th A&S Highlanders, it's an entirely different matter.

Also see my posts regarding army service numbers issued to men in the following Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders battalions:

1st & 2nd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders 1881-1914
3rd (Special Reserve) & 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion A&S Highlanders
5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
9th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders service battalions 1914-1917


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

21 February 2009

Understanding army service numbers


The images reproduced on this post are both Crown Copyright, but I show them here to illustrate one man's war service and the allocation of army service numbers. Click on them both for larger views.

Claudius Beavins attested under the Derby Scheme on 11th December 1915. He was called up for service on the 26th April 1916 and posted to the 3/6th London Regiment the following day. It was at this point that he would have been issued with his first number, 5389.

On the 18th August 1916 he was transferred to the reserve battalion of the 23rd London Regiment; ie the 2/23rd Londons. At this point in time he would have been issued his second army service number, 6788.

Claudius was posted to the 1/23rd Londons on 3rd December 1916 (no change of number here) and was still serving with this battalion when the Territorial Force was renumbered in 1917. He was given the new number, 703068.

On 14th April 1917, he was transferred for a second time, this time to the 13th Londons. His number, 505004, falls within a separate series of numbers issued to 23rd London men transferring to the Kensingtons. (There were also transfers from other London Regiment battalions and other regiments for that matter who received a six digit number within the 505*** range).

It is worth pointing out that at the time Claudius was transferred, in France, to the 13th Londons, the battalion was issuing six digit numbers in England in the 494*** range. The 505*** range therefore illustrates the point I have made on several posts that it is wrong to assume that numbers were always issued sequentially. They weren't.

Claudius transferred for a final time, to the Royal Engineers, on 14th June 1918. He was issued a new number, 361118. He survived the war. Interestingly, his medal index card mixes the order of his numbers up somewhat. As I have explained, 5389 was the first number he was issued with, not 6788.



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

20 February 2009

6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders


Above, Renfrewshire in the 1840s. Click on the image to see a larger version of it.

The 6th (Renfrewshire) Battalion, Princesss Louise's Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders was a Territorial Force (TF) battalion which, at the beginning of 1914, was headquartered at 66 High Street, Paisley. A, B and C Companies drew men from Paisley, D Company from Renfrew, E Company from Johnstone, F Company from Thornliebank, G Company from Barrhead and H Company from Pollokshaws. (Source: The Territorial Force 1914 - Ray Westlake).

In April 1908, upon the formation of the new Territorial Force, men who were serving with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, were now asked to attest with the newly created 6th Battalion. Many did so.

It appears that although one series of numbers was used for the battalion as a whole (certainly I have not come across any duplicate numbers), different sequences within this series were allocated to specific companies. I list below, for comment as much as anything, army service numbers for this battalion by company headquarters. In most cases, albeit with blips here and there - see G Company as an example - the numbering is largely sequential.

Paisley - A, B & C Companies
1029 - Apr 30th 1909
1089 - Apr 6th 1909
1350 - Jun 21st 1909
1483 - Nov 4th 1910
1505 - Feb 15th 1911
1512 - Mar 15th 1911
1526 - Apr 27th 1911
1583 - May 26th 1911
1601 - Jun 1st 1911
1665 - Apr 5th 1912
1673 - Apr 19th 1912
1699 - Jun 11th 1912
1708 - Jun 25th 1912

Renfrew - D Company
1145 - Mar 15th 1909
1646 - Feb 27th 1912
1648 - Mar 1st 1912
1650 - Jan 16th 1912
1860 - May 23rd 1912
1932 - Jun 30th 1913

Johnstone - E Company
1587 - Nov 4th 1910
1804 - Dec 21st 1911
1812 - Jan 18th 1912
1821 - Jan 23rd 1912
1830 - Apr 8th 1912
1839 - Jun 13th 1912
2061 - Mar 17th 1913

Thornliebank - F Company
1377 - Mar 2nd 1910
1576 - Apr 11th 1911

Barrhead - G Company
1633 - Jul 6th 1911
1723 - Jun 5th 1912
1729 - Mar 30th 1912
2050 - Dec 1st 1912
2039 - Jan 28th 1913
2090 - May 23rd 1913

Pollokshaws - H Company
1760 - Jan 18th 1912
1790 - Apr 18th 1912
1882 - May 28th 1912
2029 - May 6th 1913
3097 - Dec 9th 1913

I am guessing - but I'd like to know for sure - that at some point in mid to late 1913, somebody in authority said words to the effect of, "Look, can we please stop all this messing around with blocks of numbers and just start issuing them in sequence?" There's certainly a leap from the 2000s to the 3000s in 1913 and thereafter, numbering for the battalion as a whole, appears to calm down somewhat.

Incidentally, service records for ALL of the army service numbers listed on this post, survive in the WO 363 and WO 364 series at the National Archives. They can all be accessed on-line via Ancestry.co.uk

Here is a further sample of army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for the 6th A&S Highlanders, starting the day after Britain declared war on Germany.

3307 joined on 5th August 1914
3426 joined on 1st September 1914
4344 joined on 26th October 1914
4437 joined on 4th November 1914
4712 joined on 18th January 1915
4789 joined on 27th March 1915
4830 joined on 1st April 1915
4896 joined on 1st May 1915
5248 joined on 4th June 1915
5367 joined on 12th July 1915
5386 joined on 2nd August 1915
5496 joined on 8th September 1915
5538 joined on 23rd October 1915
5558 joined on 3rd November 1915
5603 joined on 15th December 1915
5615 joined on 14th January 1916
5658 joined on 17th March 1916
5744 joined on 29th April 1916
6109 joined on 3rd May 1916
6495 joined on 25th July 1916
6611 joined on 24th August 1916
6817 joined on 26th September 1916
6915 joined on 6th October 1916


I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.
 
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders service battalions 1914-1917

BEWARE!

As I hope I have illustrated above, 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.

When the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917, the 6th A&S Highlanders were issued numbers within the range 250001 to 275000.

Links:

19 February 2009

5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

This Territorial Force (TF) battalion was headquartered at Finnart Street, Greenock. The Annual TF Return for 1913, amended to February 1914 reveals that A, B, C, D, F & G Companies drew recruits from Greenock; E Company from Port Glasgow and H Company from Gourock. There was a drill station at Inverkip. (Source: The Territorial Force 1914 - Ray Westlake)

The 5th (Renfrewshire) Batttalion, Princess Louise's Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders was created in 1908 out of what had previously been the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. Close to 600 men from this battalion chose to join the new Territorial Force battalion (and were re-numbered from 1) and around 30 of these men were still on the battalion rolls when the Territorial Force was re-numbered nine years later in 1917.

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for the 5th A&S Highlanders.

675 joined on 11th June 1908
795 joined on 23rd March 1909
1033 joined on 14th March 1910
1136 joined on 15th February 1911
1287 joined on 26th January 1912
1476 joined on 17th February 1913
1812 joined on 26th May 1914
1846 joined on 6th August 1914
2107 joined on 3rd September 1914
2392 joined on 21st October 1914
2423 joined on 3rd November 1914
2483 joined on 12th January 1915
2528 joined on 3rd February 1915
2578 joined on 6th March 1915
2643 joined on 27th April 1915
2677 joined on 13th May 1915
2703 joined on 1st June 1915
2836 joined on 5th July 1915
2941 joined on 4th August 1915
2999 joined on 12th October 1915
3135 joined on 2nd November 1915
3213 joined on 21st January 1916
3643 joined on 30th March 1916
3777 joined on 1st June 1916
3854 joined on 4th July 1916
4158 joined on 8th November 1916

Also see my posts regarding army service numbers issued to men in the following Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders battalions:

1st & 2nd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders 1881-1914
3rd (Special Reserve) & 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion A&S Highlanders
6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
9th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders service battalions 1914-1917


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

BEWARE!

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 5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders' service records, pension records and medal index cards on Ancestry.co.uk - Click here!



FIFTY-SECOND (LOWLAND) DIVISION 1914-1918

Between 24th April 1915 and 25th August 1918, the 1/5th A&S Highlanders formed part of the 157th Brigade in the 52nd (Lowland) Division. The Naval & Military Press has re-printed the divisional history and I quote directly from their review below:

The Lowland Division was a pre-war Territorial division which, in May 1915, was numbered 52nd with brigades 155th, 156th and 157th. In the same month the division embarked for service in Gallipoli. The fighting on Gallipoli is described in detail as is the evacuation, and from time to time tables of casualties are given . During the Gallipoli campaign the division lost by battle casualties at least seventy percent of its officers and over fifty percent of its other ranks.

The second part of the book deals with the two and a half years the division spent in the Middle East, in Sinai and Palestine. In the summer of 1916 the advance into the Sinai desert began, to Romani to El Arish and from there into Palestine where, under Allenby, the division fought in all three battles of Gaza and in operations through to the end of 1917. In April 1918 the 52nd Division was transferred to the Western Front, taking over a sector of the front at Vimy. During the remaining months of the war the division was in action on the Somme, the Scarpe, the Drocourt-Queant line, the Canal du Nord, ending the war not far from Mons.

This is a very full record of the 52nd Division’s part in the Great War with plenty of general interest in addition to active operations, from small patrols to major attacks, acts of bravery and initiative. There is a comprehensive 25-page index but no roll of honour or list of honours and awards and although there are numerous casualty lists in the text there is no final total.


18 February 2009

The creation of the Special Reserve in 1908

Further to comments yesterday regarding the transition in 1908 from Militia to Special Reserve, I've been doing some digging through old Hansard transcriptions for 1907 and 1908. There's a wealth of information (not all of it easily found through Google searches) courtesy of the Hansard Digitisation Project which makes fascinating reading.

This from the Duke of Bedford (who was vehemently opposed to the abolition of the Militia) speaking in a House of Lords Debate that began on 18th February 1908 and continued two days later.

"My Lords, the Army Order of the 23rd December last is one of the most important Orders ever issued by the Army Council. It abolishes the Militia, and attempts to create a new Force which is to be known as the Special Contingent. That force is divided into combatants and non-combatants. The combatants comprise Engineers, Artillery, and Infantry. I propose to deal with the Infantry only, and to begin by reading Paragraph 2 of this Order. Under Section 30 of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act, a man who has not served in the Regular Forces may, under the provisions of the Reserve Forces Act of 1882, enlist into the Army Reserve. These men will in future be known as Special Reservists. A Special Reservist of the Infantry, then, is a man who has never served with the colours of any regiment of the Line, and who under this Order will not even know to which regiment of the Line he may be drafted when the Reserves are called out. It is proposed to form this Special Infantry Reserve partly by direct enlistment, which began on the 15th January last, and partly by asking Militia officers and men now serving to transfer to the Special Reserve on the abolition of the Militia. One hundred and one Militia battalions are to train this year as Militia, and at the end of their training will be asked to transfer to the Special Reserve. Twenty-three battalions of Militia have been disbanded."

But the Duke of Bedford was too late. As he had stated, the Army Order dealing with the "Scheme for the provision, organization, and training of the Special Reserve required to supplement the Regular Army, and the application of the Scheme to the existing Militia" had already been issued the previous December.

I reproduce below, the copy of that Order (15 pages in total) and I do so with grateful thanks to Graham Stewart who kindly sent me this, along with a lot of other useful reference material which I shall post on this blog in due course. Click on each of the images in order to read the text more clearly.

Various appendices are referenced in the Army Order. I have included these on a separate post: 1907 Army Order - Special Reserve - Appendices I - XI.

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