25 January 2014

With which Territorial Force unit did my ancestor serve?

Responding to a post on the Great War Forum (GWF) tonight, reminds me that what follows might be useful advice to readers of this blog.  The questioner on the GWF was trying to find out information about a man on the war memorial at Buxton who could have served with the Sherwood Foresters and had the number 4666.  Ruling out an enlistment in the regular battalions (because this would have made the man too old in 1914) the follow-on question is, well which battalion of the Notts & Derbys did he serve with?  My response was as follows:

"Let's assume that as he's on the Buxton war memorial he served with the local TF battalion.  C Company of the 6th Sherwood Foresters was based at Buxton and for this battalion, 4666 would indicate an enlistment date of late Nov 1915 or early Dec 1915.  My army service numbers blog does not give details of the TF battalions of the Sherwood Foresters but my database suggests that this would be a likely enlistment date for a man with this number belonging to the 6th Battalion.  Other TF options for 4666 would be October 1915 for the 5th Battalion , April 1915 for the 7th Battalion and late Dec 1915 or Jan 1916 for the 8th Battalion..."

The number information comes from research I have done over the years on this particular regiment.  However, there is much useful information on the composition of the Territorial Force, and the locations of battalions and units to be found in other publications.  Key reference works for me are;

1. His Majesty's Territorial Army by Walter Richards.  Originally published in four volumes in, I think 1909,  this was re-published by Naval & Military Press and gives great detail on not only - what was the then - the new Territorial Force, but also the Volunteer Force. Highly recommended, and Naval and Military Press have it at a reduced price currently - if you're quick.

Naval & Military Press Military History Books

2. The Territorial Force 1914 by Ray Westlake.  Now out of print but expensive second-hand copies can still be picked up.  My volume is well-thumbed and for anyone with an interest in the First World War, this is again essential reading as it gives the locations of all TF units in early 1914.  There is also a useful index of locations.

Both of the above give detail on infantry battalions to company level.

Also well worth the investment if you can find a copy is the Territorial Force Year Book which was published only, I believe, in 1909 and 1910.  I have the 1909 edition and it gives a wealth of information not only on the composition of the TF but also the County Associations.  It's a goldmine of facts and if anyone has a 1910 edition they wish to part with, please get in touch.

The photo used in this post shows men of E Company, Liverpool Scottish and is courtesy of Wikipedia. The Liverpool Scottish was the 10th Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment) which was headquartered at 7 Fraser Street, Liverpool; all eight companies also based in Liverpool.

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