2 May 2011

East Surrey Regiment - Special & Extra Reserve

From 1908 The East Surrey Regiment fielded a 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion and a 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, both these battalions being the natural heirs of the 3rd and 4th Militia Battalions, respectively. Men who had served with these militia battalions and who wished to complete their service with the newly formed Special and Extra Reserve battalions, retained their old militia numbers. Both of the militia battalions had operated separate number series and these series continued in use with the Special and Extra Reserve battalions into 1915 (and possibly beyond, although my database peters out then).

When Britain went to war in 1914, the East Surrey Regiment created two additional number series for men joining the 3rd and 4th Battalions for wartime service only. These two numbers series, one for the 3rd Battalion and one for the 4th, both started from 1 and both were prefixed SRGS or SR/GS or SR/GS/ES (and probably a good many other combinations as well for that matter). The letters stand for Special Reserve General Service East Surrey.

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Evening Paul,

I have posted about this on the GWF today re:6889 Pte Joseph Merricks of the East Surreys and David Underdown on the forum suggested he may have been a Special Reservist. His MIC says he landed in France on 26th Oct 1914. I am trying to see if this Joseph Merricks is my wife's great -grandfather, a Wandsworth/Clapham area man born in 1891/2. From your 1st and 2nd Bn listings I can see that the number would tally for about 1901, so if that number was used just for the Regs then the man whose MIC I've found cannot the great-grandfather. But wondered if such a number was used by SRs? Any help would be greatly received. Many thanks Jim

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Jim

David could be right. 6689 for the 3rd (Special Reserve) Bn dates to 1910 and for the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, to post April 1913.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much Paul. So I presume he would have taken that number with him into 1st East Surreys on mobilization at the start of the war?

Paul Nixon said...

Yes Jim, that's correct.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much Paul, appreciate your time and expertise, you have helped bring my mother in laws' grandfather's war to light. On another East Surrey point, I have an ES man with the number GS4/33603 (a T Cox), what is GS4? The number seems quite late war to me but I'm no expert. Someone asked me about it, any ideas? Many thanks Jim

Paul Nixon said...

Jim, sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this.

The number indicates a General Service enlistment with the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion of the East Surrey Regt but I'm afraid I can't narrow the date down for you other than to say that it does appear to be later on in the war; 1916 onwards.