28 May 2009

The 12th Royal Sussex Regiment (2nd South Down)


This post will look at army service numbers issued to original members of the 12th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment; also known as the 2nd South Down Battalion.

As with the 11th Royal Sussex (1st South Down), men were - for the most part - grouped alphabetically by the first letter of their surname and then numbered. This system of mostly alphabetical grouping was in operation up to and including number SD/2199. From SD/2200 to to SD/2453 there appears to be no alphabetical patterning and the numbers were issued sequentially between approximately December 1914 and June 1915.

There are plenty of surviving service and pension records for men of the 2nd South Down battalion and a lot of these are available on-line via Ancestry. I've also given links to the Ancestry landing page on some names / numbers below.

12th (2nd South Down) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
November 1914

SD/1200 - SD/1213
Almost certainly men with prior service. SD/1200 John Bishop, the lowest numbered 12th Battalion man, died in England on 5th December 1914. He is buried at Worthing's Broadwater cemetery. SD/1206 Private Jesse Wilde had seen prior service with the Territorial Force and I'm assuming that the other men within this number range also had some prior military service.
SD/1214 - SD/1215
Unknown
SD/1216 - SD/1244
Alphabetical A to W. Bognor and Bexhill enlistments.
SD/1244 - SD/1247
Unknown
SD/1248 - SD/1511
Alphabetical A to W. A variety of Sussex enlistment locations.
SD/1512 to SD/1561
Alphabetical A to W. Principally Hastings and Bexhill enlistments.
SD/1562 - SD/1571
Probably men with prior military experience. For instance, SD/1571 RSM Frederick John Bartlett was a Boer War veteran.
SD/1572 - 1574
Unknown
SD/1575 - SD/1629
Alphabetical A to W. Principally Eastbourne enlistments.
SD/1630
Unknown
SD/1631 - SD/1647
Alphabetical B to W. Principally Lewes and Brighton enlistments. SD/1633 Private William Jared Brooks is pictured (above) on this post. He was born in Newick, Sussex and he and his younger brother, Sydney Arthur Brooks, joined up together at Brighton on the 11th November 1914. Another local man, SD/1643 Ernest William Plummer possibly joined up with the two Brooks brothers. Sydney Brooks was killed in action on 30th June 1916 and Ernest Plummer was killed in action on 3rd September 1916. William Brooks survived the war and you can read his story and Ernest Plummer's, on my Chailey 1914-1918 website.
SD/1648 - SD/1653
Possibly men with prior military experience. At least three of these six men enlisted at Melton Mowbray and all three lost their lives during the Great War.
SD/1654 - SD/1742
Alphabetical A to W. Mostly Worthing enlistments but also from elsewhere in Sussex and, curiously (for me at this point in time), more from Melton Mowbray.
SD/1743
Unknown
SD/1744 - SD/1753
Possibly men with prior military experience.
SD/1754
Unknown
SD/1755 - SD/1784
Alphabetical A to W. A variety of Sussex enlistment locations.
SD/1785
Unknown
SD/1786 - SD/1827
Alphabetical A to W. A variety of Sussex enlistment locations but the majority enlisting at Eastbourne.
SD/1828 - SD/1829
Unknown
SD/1830 - SD/1837
Alphabetical A to W. A variety of Sussex enlistment locations.
SD/1838 - SD/1848
Alphabetical B to T. Hastings enlistments.
SD/1849
Unknown
SD/1850 - SD/1859
Alphabetical C to S. Mostly Hastings, Bexhill and Crawley enlistments.
SD/1860 - SD/1923
Alphabetical A to W. Mostly Hastings and Bexhill enlistments.
SD/1924
Unknown
SD/1925 - SD/1936
Alphabetical A to W. Mostly Horsham and Eastbourne enlistments.
SD/1937
Unknown
SD/1938 - SD/1945
Alphabetical B to T. Mostly Eastbourne enlistments.
SD/1946 - SD/2005
Alphabetical A to W. A variety of enlistment locations both from within Sussex but also from London and Suffolk and possibly other counties.
SD/2006 - SD/2022
Alphabetical B to W. Hove and Brighton enlistments, possibly other Sussex locations.
SD/2023
Unknown
SD/2024 - SD/2069
Alphabetical B to W. A variety of enlistment locations.
SD/2070 - SD/2074
At least three of these men enlisted in Northumberland and had connections with Ashington in that county. All three were killed in action on 10th May 1916.
SD/2075 - SD/2131
Alphabetical A to W. A variety of Sussex enlistment locations but with the majority enlisting at Bexhill and Hastings. SD/2118 Private Alfred Rice was killed in action on 21st October 1916 in the attempt by the battalion to capture the Schwaben Redoubt. He was one of four brothers killed during WW1.
SD/2132 - SD/2199
There appear to be various alphabetical sequences within this range although they are less clearly defined. The last man on my database within this range is SD/2177 John Benjamin Henry Pearson who joined the battalion on 11th November 1914. (Note however that other men with lower numbers than him, joined later in the month).

As I mentioned at the start of this post, from SD/2200 to to SD/2453 there appears to be no alphabetical patterning and the numbers were issued sequentially between approximately December 1914 and June 1915. Here are some sample army service numbers and joining dates for this range.

SD/2200 joined on 25th January 1915
SD/2274 joined on 8th February 1915
SD/2305 joined on 6th March 1915
SD/2379 joined on 6th May 1915
SD/2421 joined on 10th June 1915

All of the above five men have surviving pension records in the WO 364 series. Now on-line.

The last number on my database for original enlistments into the 12th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment is SD/2426 Frederick Wilkins, and he joined up on 16th June 1915.

Also see:

Paul Reed's page on the 12th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (2nd South Downs) and the South Downs Battalions website.


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

27 May 2009

The 11th Royal Sussex Regiment (1st South Down)


This post will look at army service numbers issued to original members of the 11th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment; also known as the 1st South Down Battalion.

There was method in the general numbering madness when it came to numbering the volunteers of the South Down battalions. Men were grouped alphabetically by surname (but only broadly alphabetically by the first letter of their name) and then numbered sequentially. Those men who had previous soldiering experience and were probably deemed to be good NCO material, appear to have been grouped separately. I'll explain.

Numbers SD/1 to SD/22 follow no alphabetical pattern and at least six of the men with numbers in this range were old soldiers, including at least three time-expired Royal Sussex Regiment men (one of whom had originally enlisted in 1897), a Royal West Kents regular (discharged for misconduct) and two men with prior service with the RGA and the RFA Territorials. One of these men - SD/4 Nelson Victor Carter - would go on to win the Victoria Cross and would later be killed in action. His service record can be viewed on-line.

Read the service record of a Sussex Regiment VC - SD/4 Warrant Officer 2nd Class Nelson Victor Carter VC.

SD/23 to SD/132 are, with a few blips, ordered alphabetically by the the first letter of the man's surname. SD/25 George Braiden's medals, his memorial plaque and his brother's medals were sold on eBay in March 2007, probably for a hefty sum.

As far as possible then, I'll group these numbers as accurately as I can but I should stress that my data has been compiled from medal index cards, surviving service records and data on Soldiers Died in the Great War. I have not had access to the medal rolls which would undoubtedly help fill some of the gaps in my data. As always I will be pleased to hear from anybody who can correct any errors in the following list.

11th (1st South Down) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
September 1914

SD/1 - SD/22
Men with prior service. Eastbourne enlistments.
SD/23 - SD/132
Mostly alphabetical, A to W. Eastbourne enlistments.
SD/133 - SD/137
Unknown
SD/138 - SD/264
Mostly alphabetical, A to W. Mostly Eastbourne enlistments.
SD/270 - SD/273
Four sergeants. SD/270 Sgt Robert Budd would later win the DCM. SD/272 Alfred Simmons was a time-expired militiaman. Eastbourne enlistments.
SD/274 - SD/378
Mostly alphabetical, A to W. Mostly Eastbourne enlistments.
SD/379
Unknown
SD/380 - SD/387
Probably men with prior military experience. SD/386 Frank Harmer who would be killed in action in August 1916, had previously seen service with the Royal Sussex Volunteers.
SD/388 - SD/493
Mostly alphabetical, A to W. Mostly Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells enlistments.
SD/494 - SD/498
Men with prior military experience. There are at least two sergeants and a Warrant Officer 2nd Class in this sequence. One of these men was ex DLI, invalided from India, and another was a National Reservist and time expired Ox and Bucks regular.
SD/499
Unknown
SD/500 - SD/562
Mostly alphabetical, A to W. Worthing enlistments.
SD/563 - SD/570
Men with prior military experience. SD/568 CSM Thomas Coleman was an Army Pensioner in 1914 and had served in India, holding the Indian General Service medal with clasps for the Punjab and Tirah campaigns. He attested with the 11th Battalion on the 9th September 1914, was quickly promoted to Colour Sergeant on 29th September and then to Company Sergeant Major on the 14th October. A hardened old soldier, he was was tried for drunkeness by a Field General Court Martial on 26th April 1916, found guilty and reduced to the ranks the following day. Remarkably, he then worked his way back up the military ladder. He was appointed lance-corporal on 3rd July 1916 (three days after the battalion's heavy losses at The Boar's Head), promoted to corporal on 7th July 1916 and then to sergeant three days later. By the time he went missing in action on 3rd September 1916 he held the rank of acting CSM and it is this rank which is inscribed on his medals. These were received by his former widow in 1921. Thomas Coleman's body was never found and his date of death is officially recorded as 3rd September 1916. Read his record on Ancestry. The touching letter below is included in Thomas Coleman's surviving papers:





SD/572 - SD/635
Mostly alphabetical, A to W. Hurstmonceux enlistments.
SD/636 - SD/637
Unknown.
SD/638 - SD/646
Men with prior military experience.
SD/650 - SD/755
Mostly alphabetical, A to W. Mostly Horsham enlistments but also including men from outside the county.
SD/758 - SD/769
Men with prior military experience.
SD/770 - SD/872
Mostly alphabetical, A to Y. Mostly Bognor and Brighton and enlistments.
SD/873 - SD/879
Men with prior military experience.
SD/880 - SD/985
Mostly alphabetical, A to Y. A variety of enlistment location including Brighton, Hastings and Lewes.
SD/986 - SD/988
Unknown
SD/989 - SD/999
Men with prior military experience.
SD/1000 - SD/1114
Mostly alphabetical, A to W. A variety of enlistment location including Bexhill, Hastings and Uckfield.
SD/1115 - SD/1199
This last group appears to buck the previous alphabetical trends and there are no discernable patterns that I can make out. Enlistments appear, from the information recorded on Soldiers Died, to be mostly from Bexhill and Worthing.

The original composition of the battalion was as follows:

A Company : Eastbourne
B Company : Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings.
C Company : Worthing, Herstmonceux, Horsham and Newhaven.
D Company : Bognor and Chichester.

The above company information taken from Paul Reed's page on the 1st South Downs. See also, the southdown battalions website which, at the time of writing, is till in development but promises to be a very useful resource.

This concludes numbering for the initial intake of men to the 11th (1st South Down) Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment. I'll deal with the 12th Royal Sussex, 13th Royal Sussex and 14th Royal Sussex - as well as subsequent drafts to the South Down battalions - in future posts.


The image used on this post comes courtesy of the trustees of Seaford Museum and is also reproduced on my Chailey 1914-1918 website.

Find South Down battalion service records on the Ancestry website. CLICK HERE.


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

25 May 2009

Supernumerary Companies - Army Order 187 - May 1915

My thanks again to Graham Stewart who never disappoints and who this weekend has sent me through some splendid information via Army Order 187 of May 1915 (below). This Army Order relates to the formation of the Supernumerary Companies, paragraph nine dealing with numbering in these companies.

Click on the scans below for a readable version of this Army Order.











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

20th Hussars


Here are some army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for the 20th Hussars, a British cavalry regiment of the line. Numbering in individual cavalry regiments was unaffected by the 1881 Army Reforms and so I'm going to start at 1878 - where my data currently begins - and end in 1906 when a new system of numbering line cavalry by corps was introduced.

1513 joined on 24th May 1878
1845 joined on 15th April 1880
1897 joined on 4th February 1881
1967 joined on 3oth June 1882
2104 joined on 29th January 1883
2347 joined on 17th June 1884
2517 joined on 27th February 1885
2590 joined on 20th February 1886
2802 joined on 3rd September 1887
2883 joined on 2nd February 1888
2938 joined on 4th May 1889
2988 joined on 3rd January 1890
3257 joined on 18th March 1891
3644 joined on 9th December 1892
3694 joined on 27th February 1893
3794 joined on 19th July 1894
3871 joined on 13th February 1895
4167 joined on 23rd October 1896
4257 joined on 21st September 1897
4315 joined on 7th December 1898
4372 joined on 23rd February 1899
4677 joined on 8th October 1901
4746 joined on 7th October 1902
4834 joined on 12th February 1903
5056 joined on 12th May 1905
5326 joined on 5th September 1906

Also see these related posts:

The King's & Queen's Regulations - Regimental numbers
Cavalry numbering - 1906
Corps of Dragoons - Recruitment 1881-1906


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

22 May 2009

The Royal Sussex Regiment - 6th (Cyclist) Battalion

The 6th (Cyclist) Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment, was a Territorial Force battalion which was formed in 1911. Its headquarters and all of its eight companies were located in Brighton, Sussex.

Here are some army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for the 6th Sussex Regiment:

22 joined on 14th February 1912
261 joined on 7th May 1913
335 joined on 22nd July 1914
542 joined on 8th August 1914
797 joined on 5th November 1914
1477 joined on 18th February 1915
1586 joined on 3rd May 1915
1733 joined on 4th June 1915
1890 joined on 7th August 1915
1960 joined on 25th September 1915
2024 joined on 23rd October 1915
2063 joined on 1st December 1915
2266 joined on 15th January 1916
2389 joined on 3rd February 1916
2648 joined on 1st March 1916
2777 joined on 3rd April 1916
2851 joined on 2nd May 1916
2991 joined on 13th June 1916
3043 joined on 16th July 1916
3109 joined on 10th August 1916
3194 joined on 13th December 1916

When the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917, the 6th Battalion, the Royal Sussex Regiment, was allocated numbers within the block 265001 to 290000.


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

19 May 2009

The Royal Sussex Regiment - 5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion


Pictured above, Lieutenant Ivor Grantham, 1/5th Sussex, flanked by members of his platoon in October 1917. Read Ivor's story on my Chailey 1914-1918 website.

The 5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment, was a Territorial Force battalion formed in April 1908. Its natural heir was the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.

The battalion was headquartered at Hastings and in February 1914, the disposition of its eight companies was as follows:

A Company: Hastings; drill station at Eastbourne and Hailsham
B Company: Battle; drill stations at Dallington, Sedlescombe, Staplecross, Robertsbridge and Bexhill
C Company: Wadhurst; drill stations at Burwash, Flimwell, Hurst Green, Ticehurst and Frant
D Company: Lewes; drill stations at Glynde and Stanmer
E Company: Rye; drill stations at Icklesham, Winchelsea, Peasmarch and Northiam
F Company: Uckfield; drill stations at East Hoathly, Hadlow Down, Nutley, Buxted, Newick and Heathfield
G Company: Crowborough; drill stations at Blackham, Hartfield, Groombridge, Mayfield and Rotherfield
H Company: Ore; drill station at Westfield

Company information above courtesy of Ray Westlake's, The Territorial Force 1914.

Here are some sample army service numbers and joining dates for the 5th Royal Sussex.

686 joined on 16th October 1908
767 joined on 3rd February 1909
1118 joined on 12th February 1910
1346 joined on 5th April 1911
1450 joined on 5th February 1912
1606 joined on 5th February 1913
1716 joined on 5th January 1914
1865 joined on 6th August 1914
2356 joined on 5th September 1914
2752 joined on 25th November 1914
3123 joined on 4th December 1914
3231 joined on 31st January 1915
3305 joined on 28th June 1915
3343 joined on 31st July 1915
3396 joined on 18th August 1915
3440 joined on 28th October 1915
3533 joined on 17th November 1915
3680 joined on 11th December 1915
3727 joined on 5th January 1916
3871 joined on 4th March 1916
4147 joined on 18th May 1916
4240 joined on 25th July 1916
4672 joined on 8th August 1916
6015 joined on 28th September 1916

Service records for ALL of the numbers noted above survive in the burnt documents (WO 363)and pension (WO 364) series and can be viewed on-line via ANCESTRY.

When the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917, the 5th Royal Sussex Regiment was allocated numbers within the range 240001 to 265000. Here are some numbers and dates from the six digit series:

240003 originally joined on 1st April 1908 (and was serving with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion prior to this)
240080 originally joined on 27th February 1912
240127 originally joined on 28th January 1913
240250 originally joined on 17th June 1914
240302 originally joined on 8th August 1914
240523 originally joined on 7th September 1914
240643 originally joined on 10th October 1914
240814 originally joined on 5th December 1914
240860 originally joined on 31st January 1915
240933 originally joined on 22nd July 1915
240977 originally joined on 26th October 1915
241005 originally joined on 13th November 1915
241153 originally joined on 4th March 1916
241363 originally joined on 16th June 1916

Also see Paul Reed's website and information about the 1/5th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.


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

15 May 2009

The Royal Sussex Regiment - 4th Battalion

The 4th Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment, was a Territorial Force battalion formed in April 1908. Its natural heir was the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.

The battalion was headquartered at Horsham and in February 1914, the disposition of its eight companies was as follows:

A Company: Haywards Heath; drill station at Cuckfield
B Company: Hurstpierpoint; drill stations at Burgess Hill and Henfield
C Company: East Grinstead; drill stations at Crawley and Forest Row
D Company: Petworth; drill stations at Midhuurst and North Chapel
E Company: Horsham; drill station at Warnham
F Company: Arundel; drill stations at Ashington, Littlehampton and Storrington
G Company: Chichester; drill stations at Bognor and Eastergate
H Company: Worthing

Company information above courtesy of Ray Westlake's, The Territorial Force 1914.

Here are some sample army service numbers and joining dates for the 4th Royal Sussex.

305 joined on 10th April 1908
653 joined on 9th January 1909
1079 joined on 10th May 1910
1164 joined on 6th February 1911
1341 joined on 31st January 1912
1560 joined on 14th January 1913
1808 joined on 26th February 1914
1899 joined on 13th August 1914
2180 joined on 21st September 1914
2314 joined on 5th October 1914
2581 joined on 5th November 1914
3141 joined on 1st December 1914
3161 joined on 4th January 1915
3182 joined on 25th March 1915
3208 joined on 26th April 1915
3246 joined on 10th May 1915
3315 joined on 3rd June 1915
3444 joined on 5th July 1915
3545 joined on 2nd August 1915
3610 joined on 8th September 1915
3643 joined on 18th October 1915
3686 joined on 6th November 1915
3861 joined on 1st December 1915
3929 joined on 8th January 1916
4126 joined on 1st March 1916
4465 joined on 8th April 1916
4653 joined on 5th May 1916
4683 joined on 2nd June 1916
4729 joined on 3rd July 1916
4787 joined on 6th October 1916
5127 joined on 1st November 1916
5187 joined on 22nd January 1917
5262 joined on 17th February 1917

Service records for ALL of the numbers noted above survive in the burnt documents (WO 363)and pension (WO 364) series and can be viewed on-line via ANCESTRY.

When the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917, the 4th Royal Sussex was allocated numbers within the range 200001 to 240000. Here are some sample numbers and dates from the six digit series:

200101 was originally issued on 31st January 1912
200355 was originally issued on 17th August 1914
200477 was originally issued on 4th September 1914
200647 was originally issued on 29th October 1914
200712 was originally issued on 9th November 1914
200921 was originally issued on 10th May 1915
200964 was originally issued on 3rd June 1915
201111 was originally issued on 5th August 1915
201152 was originally issued on 8th September 1915
201211 was originally issued on 13th November 1915
201284 was originally issued on 1st December 1915
201559 was originally issued on 6th October 1916
201715 was originally issued on 22nd January 1917

View Royal Sussex Regiment service records, pension records and medal index cards on-line via ANCESTRY

Also see Paul Reed's website and information about the 1/4th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.


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

13 May 2009

The Royal Sussex Regiment - 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion

The 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment was formed in 1908. Men who had previously served with the battalion’s natural predecessor, the 3rd Militia Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment, were allowed to retain their militia numbers when re-enlisting with the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion.

The 3rd Militia Battalion had reached 9999 by 1907 and then started re-numbering from 1 that same year. Consequently, when looking at enlistments into the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion in 1908 it is quite common to see men with numbers in the 9000s (and lower). They’re all old militiamen who re-enlisted with the 3rd Special Reserve.

The lowest number on my database for the 3rd Special Reserve Battalion is 9579 which was originally issued in September 1906. A cursory glance at medal index cards for this battalion however, reveals numbers a good deal lower than this. 7768 Henry Dine for instance, would have originally joined the 3rd Militia Battalion in May 1898.

For the 3rd Royal Sussex Regiment though, I’ll start the army service numbers sequence in June 1908 with new recruits to the battalion who had no prior militia service.

319 joined on 9th June 1908
670 joined on 7th January 1909
1043 joined on 15th March 1910
1358 joined on 25th April 1911
1640 joined on 17th April 1912
1858 joined on 8th February 1913
2149 joined on 11th June 1914
2190 joined on 7th August 1914

It is common to see the prefix LSR/ or L/SR/ on these numbers issued to Special Reservists of the Royal Sussex Regiment. My data for these men ends in late August 1914 at LSR/2300 but numbering certainly extended into the 2400s and the numbering story for this battalion does not end here.

In August 1914, a second army service number series for General Service Special Reserve recruits was set up, these numbers prefixed with GSSR/.

4 joined on 13th August 1914
224 joined on 1st September 1914
704 joined on 1st October 1914
921 joined on 6th November 1914

My data for this number series ends at GSSR/931 and I believe that both the series, and recruitment directly into the Special Reserve, were abandoned at around the same time.

Find Royal Sussex Regiment service records, pension records and medal index cards on-line via ANCESTRY


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

12 May 2009

The Royal Sussex Regiment - 1st & 2nd Battalions


This post will look at army service numbers issued to regular soldiers of the Royal Sussex Regiment between 1881 and 1916 (where my data currently ends).

From the last quarter of 1902 onwards, numbers issued to the men joining regular battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment were generally, but not always, prefixed with the letter L/. In the sample list or army service numbers and corresponding joining dates below, I have omitted this prefix.

There are over 32,000 Royal Sussex 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 Royal Sussex 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.

129 joined on 23rd August 1881
542 joined on 3rd January 1882
1181 joined on 12th January 1883
1494 joined on 21st February 1884
1972 joined on 11th July 1885
2197 joined on 26th January 1886
2552 joined on 25th January 1887
2866 joined on 20th July 1888
3122 joined on 20th February 1889
3549 joined on 7th November 1890
3603 joined on 4th January 1891
3902 joined on 2nd January 1892
4246 joined on 19th January 1893
4575 joined on 27th February 1894
4900 joined on 14th June 1895
5090 joined on 17th January 1896
5390 joined on 24th June 1897
5510 joined on 10th January 1898
5887 joined on 24th April 1899
6183 joined on 7th February 1900
6368 joined on 16th February 1901
6740 joined on 4th January 1902
7347 joined on 14th January 1903
7739 joined on 22nd January 1904
8153 joined on 18th January 1905
8407 joined on 9th January 1906
8647 joined on 9th January 1907
9023 joined on 18th February 1908
9210 joined on 5th April 1909
9413 joined on 7th July 1910
9556 joined on 2nd January 1911
9841 joined on 6th January 1912
10085 joined on 2nd January 1913
10276 joined on 3rd February 1914

The First World War
When Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914 and her infantry regiments expanded with new the addition of new war-time “service” battalions, it was common for these new battalions (with the notable exception of the Pals-type battalions) to continue numbering men in the same series that had, up until then, been in use by the regular battalions. Not so The Royal Sussex Regiment. War-time service enlistments – which I’ll cover in more depth in a future posts – were given numbers from a new series beginning with 1 and prefixed with the letter G/, whilst men who, during the war years, continued to join up for regular terms of enlistment with the Royal Sussex Regiment, continued to be numbered from the original series (their numbers for the most part prefixed with L/.) The South Down battalions which were Pals-type battalions also had their own separate number series prefixed with SD/.

Albert Padgham, Pictured above (seated) joined up on regular terms of service during the First World War. His number was L/10419 which means that he must have joined between the 7th and the 19th August 1914. Albert died of wounds on 24th August 1916. You can read more about him on my Chailey 1914-1918 website.

10403 joined on 7th August 1914
10476 joined on 4th September 1914
10543 joined on 26th October 1914
10574 joined on 14th November 1914
10615 joined on 11th December 1914
10630 joined on 4th January 1915
10667 joined on 1st February 1915
10706 joined on 2nd March 1915
10761 joined on 13th April 1915
10812 joined on 17th May 1915
10873 joined on 25th June 1915
10887 joined on 6th July 1915
10936 joined on 4th August 1915
10982 joined on 20th September 1915
10998 joined on 8th October 1915
11037 joined on 15th November 1915
11045 joined on 1st December 1915
11057 joined on 11th January 1916
11088 joined on 18th May 1916

It is important to make the distinction between numbers prefixed with L/ (above) and those which, from August 1914, would be prefixed with G/.

G/10290 joined a service battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment in March 1916 whereas L/10290 would have joined the 1st or 2nd Battalion around March 1914.

Find Royal Sussex Regiment service records, pension records and medal index cards on-line via ANCESTRY


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

11 May 2009

The Royal Fusiliers - Sportsman's Battalions


This post will look at army service numbers issued to volunteers serving with the 23rd (1st Sportsman's) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers, the 24th (2nd Sportsman's) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers, and the 30th (Reserve) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers. It will look at initial recruiting during the period October 1914 to November 1915.

Information contained on this post comes from an examination of surviving records in the WO 363 and WO 364 series held at the National Archives in London and now partially available on-line via the Ancestry website: Royal Fusiliers service records, pension records and medal index cards. The photograph above which shows men of the 23rd RF being inspected at Hyde Park in October 1914 is taken from THE 23rd (SERVICE) BATTALION ROYAL FUSILIERS (FIRST SPORTSMAN'S) - A RECORD OF ITS SERVICES IN THE GREAT WAR, 1914-1919 by Fred W Ward. This book is on-line via The Project Gutenberg and contains a nominal roll.

The 23rd (1st Sportsman's) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers (RF) was formed on 25th September 1914 and a separate numbering series was initiated for the battalion. The lowest number on my database is SP/15 which was issued on 14th October 1914. Numbers were generally, but not always, prefixed with SP or SPTS for "sports".

Almost immediately, it would appear, a need was recognised for a 2nd Sportsman's Battalion and this battalion was formed on the 20th November 1914, numbers appearing that same month. The lowest number on my database for the 24th Battalion is 2014 which was issued on the 26th November 1914.

It would appear from the patterns of numbers appearing in both battalions that the 23rd RF was allocated numbers within the range 1-2000 and the 24th RF in the range 2001-3800s. In August 1915 the 3oth (Reserve) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers was formed and this was a local reserve battalion for the two sportsman's battalions, men joining this battalion being given numbers from the series being used by these battalions.

23rd (Service) Bn (1st Sportsman's) The Royal Fusiliers

SP/15 joined on 14th October 1914
SP/1273 joined on 21st December 1914
1423 joined on 9th January 1915
1501 joined on 2nd February 1915
1609 joined on 25th March 1915
1658 joined on 10th April 1915
1804 joined on 19th May 1915

In June 1915, numbers in the 4000 range start to appear, the intervening numbers in the range 2001 to 3999 having been taken up by - for the most part - the 2nd Sportsman's Battalion, but also the 30th (Reserve) Battalion. So,

SP/4055 joined on 25th June 1915
Sp/4067 joined on 13th July 1915

24th (Service) Bn (2nd Sportsman's) The Royal Fusiliers

2014 joined on 26th November 1914
2099 joined on 3rd December 1914
2293 joined on 6th January 1915
SP/3076 joined on 10th February 1915
3306 joined on 6th March 1915
3413 joined on 5th April 1915
SP/3524 joined on 5th June 1915
SP/3643 joined on 5th July 1915
SP/3797 joined on 5th August 1915

Numbering in the 24th Battalion certainly extended into the 3800s in August 1915 but by the following month numbers in the 3800s also start appearing in the newly formed 30th (Reserve) Battalion.

30th (Reserve) Bn, The Royal Fusiliers

3893 joined on 1st September 1915
4129 joined on 10th October 1915
4373 joined on 14th November 1915

That same month, 4538 was issued to a man who joined the 24th (Service) Battalion RF and it is at this point, with the two Sportsman's battalions filled with their initial complement of volunteers, that I am going to conclude this post.


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Find Royal Fusiliers service records, pension records and medal index cards on-line at ANCESTRY

Further Reading

Royal Fusiliers - regimental histories

Historical Records of the Seventh or Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
Covers the period form the raising of the regiment in 1685 to 1875. Includes a roll call of every officer who served in the Regiment during these 190 years with his record of service, listed in alphabetical order.

Royal Fusiliers in the Great War
The appendix gives the Roll of Honour of officers (1054 names); a table showing the numbers of Warrant Officers, NCOs and Men on the Roll of Honour, by battalions; a table summarising decorations awarded, including foreign awards; brief biographies or notes on a number of RF general ranking officers; and several accounts of soldiers who took part in the various operations.

2nd City of London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) in the Great War 1914-1919
The Roll of Honour lists 1,345 dead and the summary of awards shows 65 British decorations to officers and 246 to other ranks, excluding MiD.

The War History of the 4th Battalion The London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) 1914-1919
Includes a list of Honours and Awards, including foreign decorations, as well as a list of officers and men of other regiments who won their awards serving with the 4th London Regiment.

The History of the old 2/4th (City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)There is no Roll of Honour nor list of Honours and Awards, all these are noted in the text and the last ninety pages contain the service records of every officer and man of the battalion where such information can be found, including details of any wounds received.

The Kensington Battalion
This books draws on first hand material (diaries, letters and official documents) as well as interviews from the 1980s.

History of the 22nd (Service) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (Kensington)
A Roll of Honour gives dates of death of the officers, and in the case of other ranks, they are grouped by companies for each year of the war without number, rank or date of death. There is also a list of recipients of honours and awards, which includes mentioned in despatches. Names are grouped alphabetically for each medal, but no number, rank or date of award.

Hard as Nails: The Sportsmen's Battalion of World War One
Michael Foley's history of the 23rd (Service) Battalion.

7 May 2009

Gloucestershire Regiment - service battalions

This post will look at army service numbers in the Gloucestershire Regiment service battalions from 1914 until the end of 1915.

Numbering in these battalions is not at all straightforward and often, not at all sequential. It would appear, that when Britain went to war, initially at least, the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Gloucestershire Regiment drew numbers from a separate block. Thus 10044 issued on 9th August 1914, 10051 on 24th, 10060 on 25th, 10070 on 5th October 1914, 10090 on 25th November 1914, 10094 on 1st December 1914 and 10125 on 8th January 1915. In fact it would be tempting to suggest that all numbers beginning 100** went to regular enlistments. Tempting, but incorrect because 10027 was issued to a war-time enlistment on 10th August.

In any event, to the best of my ability, here's an approximation of numbers issued to men serving in the service battalions (and in the regular battalions as well from March 1915 and possibly earlier).

I should say at the outset that the range of numbers between these dates is approximately 16,000 and I have only looked at a relatively small sample of these; probably no more than 500 records or less than five per cent. The information below comes from service records held in the WO 363 and WO 364 series. To that extent it's accurate but, as the data I have is incomplete, it should be regarded at best, as a rough guide.

100** to 116** issued August 1914
117** to 120** issued August and September 1914
121** to 150** issued September 1914
151** issued October 1914
152** issued August and September 1914
153** to 155** issued November 1914
156** to 157** No data
158** issued October 1914
159** to 160** No data
161** issued September and December 1914
162** to 163** issued December 1914
164** issued August and December 1914
165** to 166** issued December 1914
167** issued March and April 1915
168** to 170** No data
171** issued November 1914
172** to 173** issued December 1914
174** issued August 1914
175** issued January 1915
176** No data
177* issued January 1915
178** issued March 1915
179** to 180** No data
181** issued January & February 1915
182** to 186** issued February 1915
187** to 188** issued March 1915
189** to 190** issued January 1915
191** to 195** issued March 1915
196** issued March and April 1915
197** issued March 1915
198** issued May 1915
199** issued June 1915
200** issued April 1915
201** issued May 1915
202** issued June 1915
203** to 205** issued April 1915
206** to 214** issued May 1915 (except 210** and 213** issued May and June)
215** to 217** No data
218** issued July and August 1915
219** issued August 1915
220** to 221** No data
222** issued February 1916
223** to 224** No data
225** issued June 1915
226** to 228** issued in September, October and November 1915
229** to 232** issued June 1915
233** issued July 1915
234** numbers in this range appear in July and November 1915
235** numbers in this range appear in July and November 1915 and January 1916
236** issued July 1915
237** to 238** issued in August 1915
239** issued August & September 1915
240** issued September & October 1915
241** issued October 1915
242** issued August 1915
243** to 244** issued August & September 1915
245** issued September 1915
246** issued October 1915
247** numbers in this range appear in September, October and November 1915 and January 1916
248** issued October & November 1915
249** issued November 1915
250** issued January 1916
251** issued January 1916 and November 1915
252** to 255** issued November 1915
256** issued November and December 1915
257** to 259** No data
260** issued November and December 1915
261** to 262** issued January 1916

In conclusion, whilst sequential army service number patterns certainly appear for at least some months, and overall there is an evident sequential progression ending at 262** in January 1916; it would be unwise to date with certainty a man's number without further study of either other numbers in the same immediate range, or the original medal rolls held at the National Archives.

Also see my other posts on the Gloucestershire Regiment:

1st and 2nd (Regular) Battalions, The Gloucestershire Regiment
3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment
4th (Territorial Force) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment
5th (Territorial Force) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment
6th (Territorial Force) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment

View Gloucestershire Regiment service records, pension records and medal index cards on-line.


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

GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT IN THE WAR 1914-1918

The Naval and Military Press has re-published this work and has this to say about it:

"As the subtitle states these are the records of the 1st (28th Foot), 2nd (61st Foot)), 3rd (Special Reserve) and 4th, 5th and 6th (First-Line T.A.) Battalions, in other words this is the history of the battalions of the regiment which existed prior to the outbreak of war. The one appendix lists the twenty-four battalions that existed during the war, indicating the theatre of war in which they served and in which division. Eight of these battalions did not serve overseas, and of the rest only one (7th Service Battalion) did not serve on the Western Front, it went with 13th Division to Gallipoli, Mesopotamia and Persia. Total losses amounted to 8,100, 72 battle honours were awarded and in the appendix is shown which honours were awarded to which battalion."In August 1914 the 1st Battalion was stationed in Bordon, part of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Division, and was among the first British troops to disembark in Le Havre, on 13th August. The first quarter of this book is concerned with the doings of the 1st Battalion which saw action in the early battles of the war - Mons and the retreat, the Marne, the Aisne, First Ypres and Givenchy.
"The 2nd Battalion was in China when war broke out and came home to join the newly formed 81st Brigade, 27th Division which arrived in France in December 1914 and in November 1915 was transferred to Salonika, where it remained for the rest of the war. Three chapters of the book deal with the operations in that theatre of war.

"The three Territorial battalions were in the South Midland Division, later the 48th which crossed to France at the end of March 1915 and fought on the Western Front till November 1917, when it was sent to Italy where it remained till the armistice. The final chapter gives the account of operations in that theatre."The author, a well known military historian, was probably the most prolific among the writers of regimental and divisional histories, some thirteen in all, and this account reflects the skill of the writer in producing a very readable narrative, which draws on the Battalion Diary, on individual accounts of actions, some quite lengthy, and makes use of footnotes to give casualty details in addition to those contained in the text, various comments, and items of information from other sources to confirm or add to the main text. The maps are good. There is no Roll of Honour nor list of honours and awards."