4 February 2010

8th Royal Scots

The 8th Battalion of the Royal Scots Regiment was a Territorial Force battalion administered by three separate County Associations. In order to differentiate between each, three separate number series were used for this single battalion.

The Territorial Year Book for 1909 reports:

"Hon Col Sir G D Clerk VD; O.C. Lt-Col Master of Polwarth VD; Adj Captain N K Charteris, Royal Scots; Hdqrs Haddington; strength 29 officers, other ranks 787. Former Volunteer units, 6th and 7th V Bns, R Scots; Camp 1908, number trained for 8 days 355, for 15 days 295. South Africa 1901; uniform scarlet, facings blue."

In February 1914, the battalion, headquartered at Haddington, was distributed as follows:

A Company: Haddington
B Company: Tranent
C Company: Prestonpans
D Company: North Berwick
E Company: Dalkeith
F Company: Loanhead
G Company: Peebles
H Company: Innerleithen

Men joining companies A, B, C and D were issued with sequential numbers from the series 1-3999. These four companies (and one squadron of the Lothians and Border Horse Yeomanry)were administered by the Haddington County Association .

Men joining companies E and F were issued with sequential numbers from the series 4000 through to 6999. These two companies were administered by the Midlothian County Association (which also administered the 7th Battalion, Royal Scots and the Midlothian Battery of the 1st Lowland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery).

Men joining companies G and H were issued with sequential numbers from the series 7000 through to, presumably 9999. These two companies were administered by the Peebles County Association. In 1909, according to the Territorial Year Book published that year, the strength of these two companies was eight officers (establishment: seven) and 128 men (establishment 235).

In early 1915 the Territorial Force infantry battalions were doubled up and reduced from eight to four. Nevertheless, the county associations still maintained their respective number series up until 1917 when the Territorial Force as a whole, was re-numbered. When this exercise took place, the 8th Royal Scots was allocated six digit numbers within the range 325001 to 350000 and within this, again, the three county associations were differentiated as follows:

Haddington: 325001 - 330000
Midlothian: 330001 - 335000
Peebles: 335001 - 340000 (presumably)

What all of this means to the modern day researcher is that it should be possible to at least narrow down the company to which an 8th Royal Scots soldier must have belonged; a potentially useful tip.

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3 comments:

Graham said...

A very useful exercise and we now seem to getting somewhere with these oddball numbering sequences which semm to occur in some Territorial Battalions.

However there is a slight flaw when talking of the 1917 series and the company allocation. You still have eight companies i.e. 'A' through to 'H', whereas all Territorial Battalions were reduced to four companies in early 1915, when they were doubled-up.

'A' to 'D' Companies probably became 'A' & 'B' Companies; 'E' & 'F' Companies possibly 'C' Company and 'G' & 'H' Companies possibly 'D' Company. Battalion war records would have to be checked for this to be verified.

Paul Nixon said...

Graham, yes you're right of course; thanks for pointing that out. I'll edit that part of the post to make that point.

Peter Ross said...

Do the Territorial Year Books just list the number of men and associated regimental numbers, or are names associated to the regimental numbers?

My Grandfather (Adam Watson WILLIAMS) was with the Royal Scots Territorials in 1910, he was from Edinburgh / Peebleshire.

Peter.Kenneth.Ross@gmail.com