31 January 2011

Royal Scots - 3rd (militia) Battalion 1895-1908

My records for the 3rd (militia) Battalion of the Royal Scots Regiment are incomplete but I publish below a sample run between 1895 and 1908.

6194 joined on 21st October 1895
6301 joined on 21st January 1896
6657 joined on 4th January 1897
7062 joined on 4th January 1898
7520 joined on 3rd January 1899
8146 joined on 4th January 1900
8622 joined on 2nd January 1901
9014 joined on 3rd January 1902
9381 joined on 5th January 1903
9706 joined on 12th January 1904
9997 joined on 11th October 1904

A new numbers series commenced when the battalion reached 9999

1 joined on 13th October 1904
94 joined on 4th January 1905
447 joined on 3rd January 1906
827 joined on 23rd January 1907

The militia gave way to the Special Reserve in 1908 and men who had been serving with the militia and who wanted to join the Special Reserve, retained their old militia numbers. Thus, when you look at the numbers of men joining in 1908, there is a real mixture of old militia numbers and new numbers issued for the first time. So for instance, 1193 Alexander Burnett and 120 Samuel Gaw both joined the Special Reserve in 1908. Alexander was a new recruit who joined in January that year, whilst Samuel, who joined eight months later, was a seasoned old hand who was joining up to complete his six years' service which had begun with the 3rd (militia) Battalion in 1905.

As for the number series used by the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, it was simply a continuation of the same series which had been used by the 3rd (militia) Battalion; a practice which appears to have been widely adopted throughout the British Army.

With the exception of Burnett and Gaw whose records survive in WO 364, all the other records referenced above survive in the WO 96 militia series, which are, since I published this post, now online courtesy of  Find My Past .

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

12 January 2011

The Militia Reserve

I've just picked up a copy of Scarlet into Khaki which is really a most excellent book, detailing as it does, the British Army at the turn of the 19th Century. I was particularly interested to read the short paragraph on the Militia Reserve and quote from it below. I had always thought that this body of men was a reserve for the Militia. Not so:

"The militia reserve is not, what it's name seems to imply, a reserve for the militia, but for the regular army. It consists of militia-men, whose number must not exceed a quarter of the establishment of a battalion of infantry, or a third of a battalion of garrison artillery; and who bind themselves, in return for a bounty of £1 a year, to remain with the militia either 6 years or the whole time of their service. In case of war they enter the regular army on the same terms as the army-reserve men and can be employed in every quarter of the world. On entering the militia-reserve the men must be between 29 and 34 years of age, and must have passed through two drill periods of the militia; they are liable to be called out to a yearly practice of 56 days. Service in the militia-reserve cannot be extended beyond the age of 34. If called out to continuous service they are to be regarded as regular soldiers, and are discharged earlier or later on the same terms as the men of the army-reserve. In times of peace the men of the militia reserve stand on the same footing as the other militia men, and join in the yearly practice of their militia district."

All very interesting but it's the italicised sentence (my italics) that I'm particularly interested in. A man recalled from the Army Reserve retained his army number but what about the Militia Reserve man? What number did he use? Did he use his original militia number when fighting with a regular battalion, for argument's sake, of his county regiment?

The Militia Reserve for each regiment appears to have maintained its own separate series of numbers and whilst records for these men can be difficult to find in WO 363 and WO 364, they do exist. Later this year however, Find My Past will be publishing the complete WO 96 series of Militia records on-line; an event which looks certain to keep me pre-occupied for some time.

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