9 December 2010

Northamptonshire Regiment - 4th Battalion


This post will look at numbering in the 4th (Territorial Force) Battalion of The Northamptonshire Regiment between 1908 and 1916. It is respectfully dedicated to the two officers and 88 other ranks who died as a result of operations on Gallipoli.

The 4th Northants Regiment was formed on the 1st April 1908, its initial composition largely drawn from men who had previously served with the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. There seems to have been an enthusiastic take-up in Northamptonshire with close to a thousand men joining the battalion by the end of that year. Numbering began at 1 in 1908.

73 joined on 8th April 1908
1045 joined on 17th February 1909
1339 joined on 16th February 1910
1478 joined on 24th January 1911
1670 joined on 31st January 1912
1889 joined on 21st January 1913
2276 joined on 5th August 1914
2407 joined on 10th September 1914
2618 joined on 1st October 1914
3215 joined on 10th November 1914

A reserve battalion was formed at Northampton on the 27th November and this became the 2/4th Battalion whilst the original 4th Battalion now became the 1/4th.

3684 joined on 14th December 1914

As well as recruits into the 2/4th Battalion, I have men in my Northants database who were also signing up for service with supernumerary companies. These men were also numbered in the same number series as the regular TF recruits, albeit their four digit numbers were converted to five digit numbers in 1915 by prefixing their original numbers with a 2. So for instance, 3893 George Gossage who joined on the 2nd March 1915, was later re-numbered 23893.

3761 joined on 5th January 1915
3851 joined on 8th February 1915

A second reserve battalion - designated the 3/4th Battalion - was formed at Northampton on the 12th February 1915.

3908 joined on 15th March 1915
4005 joined on 16th April 1915
4135 joined on 3rd May 1915
4369 joined on 7th June 1915
4475 joined on 2th July 1915
4531 joined on 7th August 1915
4712 joined on 10th September 1915
4762 joined on 8th October 1915
4917 joined on 8th November 1915
5059 joined on 2nd December 1915
5275 joined on 28th January 1916
5341 joined on 8th February 1916
5463 joined on 3rd March 1916
5473 joined on 4th April 1916
6210 joined on 24th June 1916
6549 joined on 3rd July 1916
6994 joined on 29th September 1916
7319 joined on 14th November 1916

A word of warning. Whilst the numbers presented here run in a sequential order, there are gaps and it is quite possible that blocks of numbers within this sequence of 7000 numbers were taken out of sequence and issued overseas to men transferring in from other regiments.

All of the number / enlistment date information above has come about as a result of trawling through service records, pension records and medal index cards. These can be viewed at the National Archives or accessed on line via Ancestry.co.uk. Other acknowledgements due on this post are to The Long, Long Trail website for information regarding the formation of the second and third line battalions, and to Martin Kender whose correspondence suggested this post.

The photo of the young second lieutenant on this post comes courtesy of Martin Kender and shows Alban Goderick Arthur Hodges photographed in 1915 shortly before his departure for Gallipoli. He was born in 1893 and happily survived the war and a good many years after that. His medal index card notes that he arrived overseas as a lieutenant with the Northants Regiment in August 1915 and later transferred to the RAF. He received the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals and silver war badge. The latter was sent to him at 10 St Barnabas Street, London SW1.

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