15 January 2017

Dorsetshire & Devonshire Regimental numbers



Today's naughty-step nomination goes to The Keep Military Museum - Home of the Regiments of Devon & Dorset - for lifting information from this blog and publishing it on its Army Numbers page without crediting the source. Not only bad manners, but also poor archival practice, I would have thought.

I am quite happy for the information that I publish here to be used  - after all, that's why I publish it in the first place. But I also expect that if information is re-published elsewhere it should be properly credited. A 'thank you' or better still, a link back to the site is not too much to ask, is it?

And whilst I am at it, I need to correct the information that The Keep has published for the Dorsetshire Regiment (which was obviously NOT lifted from this blog).

1. "By 1899 men in the 1st and 2nd Battalions The Dorsetshire Regiment were being allocated numbers in the 4000-5000 range." Oh no they weren't. The number 4000 had been issued back in August 1893 and 5000 had been issued in August 1896 (4999 was issued to George Smith on the 19th August). By January 1899 the regiment was issuing numbers in the 58** range. For example, George Frampton was given the number 5836 when he joined the regiment at Dorchester on the 9th January 1899.

2. "The 4th Battalion (Territorial Army) were reorganised in 1908 and their numbers started with 1 in that year. Those who served overseas were renumbered in 1917 to a 6 digit number. The 4th Dorsets were allocated a batch of numbers starting with 200,000." Not correct. Back in 1914 it was the Territorial Force (TF), rather than Territorial Army, and it wasn't reorganised in 1908, but rather came into being on the 1st April, replacing the old Volunteer Force. When the TF was re-numbered in 1917, ALL serving members were issued with new five or six-digit numbers. This included not only men who were serving overseas, but men serving at home and even men who had been killed in action weeks or months before but who had not been officially confirmed as having been killed. The number block for the 4th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment was 200001 to 225000.

3. "Men in the 5th and 6th Service Battalions of the Dorsetshire Regiment in World War I often had numbers in the 10,000-11,000 range."  Yes they did, but there are also men in the 5th Battalion who had numbers in the late 9,000 range as well. Note too, that many men in these battalions would have had numbers far higher than 11,000. 

It worked like this - and this pattern was replicated across very many line infantry regiments. When new service battalions started to be created in August 1914, the regimental numbers issued to new recruits followed on from the series that had previously been used for men in the regular battalions. The Dorset Regiment had reached 9816 by July 6th 1914, and my lowest August 1914 number is 9828 issued on the 5th August. From this point, men joining the newly formed 5th Battalion (formed in August 1914) would have been issued with numbers in continuation of the regular number series. The 6th Battalion was not formed until September 1914 and by this time the regiment was numbering in the 11000s.

4. "Soldiers with numbers in the 19,000 block were reinforcements sent to the 5th Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment to replace casualties. Many of these came from the 3rd Battalion The Somerset Light Infantry (special reservists) or North Somerset Yeomanry." I didn't know that, and if this is true it's useful information.

5. "The Dorset Yeomanry also had a new figure number system introduced in 1908. In 1916 they too were renumbered using numbers in a batch 230,0001 to 235,000." The Dorset Yeomanry (Queen's Own) started numbering from 1 in April 1908 but they were re-numbered in early 1917, not 1916, and the number block was 230001-235000.

The photo I have used on this post is of Super Nanny Jo Frost and is taken from the BBC News website. (Note to The Keep - that's how you credit someone else's work).

I research soldiers!


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