27 September 2010

Lancashire Fusiliers - 6th Battalion (TF)

This post will look at numbering in the 6th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, between 1908 and 1914. All numbers and enlistment / joining dates below have been gleaned from a study of attestation papers in WO 363 and WO 364. These papers are also accessible on-line via Ancestry.co.uk which is currently offering a FREE 14-day trial.

I have previously referred to the 6th Lancashire Fusiliers in an earlier post which sought ot identify those Territorial Force battalions which, when the TF was formed in 1908, continued with the same number series which had been used by their Volunteer predecessors.

For instance, when Harry Jennings Sowray attested with the 6th LF on the 1st April 1908 he was 44 years old, a serving member with the 2nd Volunteer Battlion, Lancashire Fusiliers, and a time-expired regular having served with the 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. His 'new' 6th LF number - 4988 - was the same number he'd been given when he joined the 2nd VB LF on the 2nd April 1892. Similarly, 5314 Abraham Grindrod who signed up with the 6th LF on the 28th April 1908, had originally been given that number when he joined the 2nd VB LF on the 22nd June 1894.

As far as new recruits were concerned, numbering in April 1908 probably started at around 7670, and I base this assumption only on the known enlistment of John Hynes who was given the number 7667 when he joined the 2nd VB on the 27th March 1908 - and carried on using it when he joined the 6th Battalion (TF) shortly afterwards.

7831 joined on 13th January 1909
8166 joined on 1st February 1910
8417 joined on 23rd January 1911
8548 joined on 6th March 1912
8774 joined on 3rd February 1913
9101 joined on 13th March 1914
9143 joined on 4th August 1914
9474 joined on 3rd September 1914
10420 joined on 21st October 1914
10432 joined on 30th November 1914
10466 joined on 3rd December 1914

Interestingly, by the time the TF was re-numbered in 1917, there were around fifty 6th Battalion men still serving who had previously seen service with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion. One of these men was Harry Jennings Sowray who was given the new number 240008 and who would have been, by then, around 53 years old. Nor was he the longest serving man on the 6th Battalion books in 1917. His number suggests that there were seven Other Ranks whose service pre-dated his own.

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10 September 2010

The King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment - 1st & 2nd Battalions

This post will look at numbering in the regular battalions of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment between 1881 and 1914. The regiment was formed on the 1st July 1881 from the 4th (King's Own Royal) Regiment of Foot and was established as the newly formed regiment for North Lancashire. It started numbering from 1 in July 1881.

There are over 33,000 King's Own (Royal Lancaster) 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.

10 joined on 9th July 1881
271 joined on 16th December 1882
397 joined on 2nd June 1883
599 joined on 21st March 1884
1012 joined on 12th March 1885
1632 joined on 22nd July 1886
1923 joined on 1st January 1887
2300 joined on 19th January 1888
2561 joined on 15th January 1889
2981 joined on 11th June 1890
3244 joined on 24th June 1891
3506 joined on 31st January 1892
4061 joined on 24th July 1893
4317 joined on 17th February 1894
4650 joined on 12th January 1895
5019 joined on 29th January 1896
5311 joined on 3rd May 1897
5671 joined on 14th April 1898
5923 joined on 24th March 1899
6288 joined on 2nd April 1900

The 1st Volunteer Battalion, The King’s Own, sent over 150 of its volunteers to South Africa to serve with the 2nd Battalion. Such was the number of men wishing to serve with the Volunteers that a 2nd Volunteer Battalion was formed and its headquarters was set up at Lancaster. Those volunteers who made it to South Africa fought in several actions and guarded prisoners at Ladysmith.

Numbers within the range to 7200 to 7352 were issued to men serving in the 1st VSC. Numbers 7353 to 7448 were issued to men serving with the 2nd VSC. Numbers 7449 to 7468 were issued to men serving with the 3rd VSC and – as stated on the QSA medal roll – the Volunteer Service Section.

6665 joined on 4th January 1901
7003 joined on 17th February 1902
7652 joined on 5th January 1903
8079 joined on 11th January 1904
8489 joined on 9th January 1905
8847 joined on 9th March 1906
9134 joined on 1st January 1907
9800 joined on 20th August 1908
10076 joined on 21st April 1909
10178 joined on 14th February 1910
10439 joined on 20th April 1911
10649 joined on 3rd May 1912
10836 joined on 3rd January 1913
11105 joined on 3rd February 1914

In August 1914, Britain went to war, and the newly forming service battalions all drew their numbers from the same series that had previously been the sole preserve of the two regular battalions. Latterly, service battalions prefixed their numbers with the letter K/, although this practice does not appear to have been used consistently.

All information on this post comes as a result of trawling through service records held in the WO 363 and WO 364 series at the National Archives, and to a lesser extent the WO 97 series, also held at TNA. Ancestry.co.uk is currently offering a 14 day FREE trial (which means you can look at WO 363 and WO 364), whilst an almost complete collection of the WO 97 series is accessible via findmypast.co.uk. Note that pre 1914 pension records are accessible online via Findmypast whilst service and pension records for the First World War have been digitised by Findmypast and Ancestry - separate searches for service records and pension records. Note that there are different versions of these indexes, Findmypast having indexed more records than you'll find on Ancestry.

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