29 January 2017

7th (Princess Royal's) Dragoon Guards - PoW Other Ranks 1914


Some of the Imperial War Museum regimental rolls of other ranks captured by the Germans on or before 25th December 1914 are very thin indeed, and the 7th Dragoon Guards' roll falls into this category. There are just five men listed on two sources: B.O. 2 1/39 and B.O. 2 1/52. 

The information below records the men's names and regimental numbers, date of capture and home address.

6671 Corporal P F Cosgrave, captured 21st December 1914; 62 Pimlico, Dublin 
6857 Private C Lewis, captured 24th August 1914; 10 Dacre Street, Old Town, Eastbourne 
6924 Sergeant G W Naylor; captured 21st December 1914; 132 Russel Street, Hills Road, Cambridge 
6576 Private John Plain, 30th October 1914; 18 Cambridge Street, Brighton, Sussex 
6287 Private Herbert Wright, captured on 21st December 1914; 8 Grove Road, North Walsham, Norfolk 

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21 January 2017

4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers


The 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers came into being in 1908 with the demise of the militia. Rather than start a new regimental number series from 1, the newly formed 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion simply continued with the series which had been used by the 4th (Militia) Battalion.  The battalion was headquartered at Enniskillen.

2311 joined on 29th June 1908 albeit he had originally been given this number when he joined the 4th (Militia) Battalion on the 4th April 1902
2430 joined on 27th October 1909
2474 joined 10th January 1910
4/2583 joined on 6th March 1911
4/2706 joined on 10th January 1912
2840 joined 4th October 1912
2875 joined 28th November 1912
2896 joined 11th January 1913
2925 joined 20th February 1913
2941 joined 1st April 1913
3023 joined 30th July 1913
3097 joined 3rd October 1913
4/3121 joined 15th October 1913
3126 joined 17th October 1913
3148 joined 19th November 1913
3181 joined 30th December 1913
3231 joined 11th March 1914
4/3261 joined 17th April 1914
4/3338 joined 28th July 1914
4/3374 joined 7th August 1914

Note that men with numbers lower than 2311 will all have seen prior service with the militia. Note too that this particular regimental numbers series was distinct form the series used by the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, and the series used by the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions. Some attempt at distinguishing the series was made by prefixing the regimental number series with the battalion number, thus 4/2583 etc. However, this convention was inconsistently applied and still, over a hundred years later, leads to confusion when researching military ancestors in British infantry regiments.

My thanks to AJH, whose comment on my 1st & 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers post, together with many of the regimental numbers and enlistment dates posted above prompted today's addition to this regimental numbers' blog.

I've borrowed the image on this blog post from the very interesting British Army Medical Services and the Malta Garrison 1799-1979.


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).

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14 January 2017

Shropshire Yeomanry enlistments 1908-1914


This post will look at numbering in the Shropshire Yeomanry between April 1908 and October 1914. The regiment can trace its history back to the French Wars with the raising of the Wellington Troop in 1795.

By August 1914 its disposition was as follows:

Headquarters: 

Shrewsbury
A Squadron: 

Shrewsbury, with drill stations at Baschurch, Pontesbury, Pulverbeach and Wem.
B Squadron: 

Oswestry, with drill stations at Whitchurch and Ellesmere.
C Squadron: 

Ludlow, with drill stations at Craven Arms, Ross, Hereford, Leominster, Tenbury and Kington.
D Squadron: 

Wellington, with drill stations at Much Wenlock, Shifnal, Market Drayton, Newport and Bridgnorth

The Shropshire Yeomanry formed part of the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade. 

923 Alfred Jones joined on 22nd April 1908
1256 Albert Beaton joined on 6th February 1909
1365 Wilfred Weaver joined on 1st January 1910
1485 John Frank Martin joined on 27th March 1911
1580 J H Thomas joined on 2nd April 1912
1639 George William Johnson joined on 5th March 1913
1721 Thomas Sydney Preston joined on 9th March 1914
1732 John Frederick Downes joined on 5th August 1914

1836 Thomas Beech joined on 14th September 1914
1987 Robert William Bach joined on 2nd October 1914 

A 2/1st regiment was formed in September 1914 as a second-line unit to train and supply men to the 1/1st Battalion, and a  3/1st unit would be formed in May 1915. Read more about the Shropshire Yeomanry on The Long, Long Trail website. The three formations all shared the same number sequence. 

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7 January 2017

Naval & Military Press - Winter Sale



It's that time of year again. Grab 20% off Naval & Military Press titles in the company's annual Winter Sale. Seeing the advertisement above reminds me that I must frame my own original copy of this recruitment poster which was the last one to be issued by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee in September 1915. The original version, by Lucy Kemp-Welch, is below:


Border Regiment - PoW Other Ranks 1914


The vast majority of the 107 Border Regiment men listed below were captured on the 26th October 1914. This list, which is almost certainly incomplete, was compiled as a six-page typed list and sent to Sir Ernest Goodhart in March 1919. It resides today at The Imperial War Museum under the catalogue reference B.O.2 1/93. My full transcription also includes the date of capture and the man's home address. All of these men were serving with the 2nd Battalion which had been in France since the 4th and 5th October.

By my reckoning, the longest serving man here was 5391 William Kimber whose number indicates that he joined the regiment in early June 1897. He served as a drummer with the 1st Battalion during the Boer War, and received the Queen's and King's South Africa Medals. So too did 5480 James Sherlock and 6017 Charles Harrison. To still be serving in 1914, all three of these men must have either re-engaged to complete 21 years with the colours or, more likely, were Section D Reservists when Britain went to war.

At the other end of the experience scale are men like 10675 George Lockerby and 10600 John Palmer whose regimental numbers indicate that they had joined the regiment in 1913. In peace time they could have expected further training in the UK before being posted to the overseas' battalion - the 1st Battalion - which was stationed in Burma. As it was, with around a year's experience under their belts, they found themselves sent out to France with the 2nd Battalion, shouldering their rifles along with other young soldiers and recalled men.

Here is the list of 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment men captured on or before the 25th December 1914.

6843 Private Daniel Airey
8647 Private Albert Aitkenhead
9224 Private Thomas A Allen
7375 Private Thomas William Ames
8896 Private Edward Andrew
7415 Pte Edward Ayers
8739 Lance-Corporal Horace Edwin Bellamy
10435 Private Reginald Bennett
8947 Lance-Corporal Sidney Bettis
8063 Private Charles William James Bewley
8653 Private Harry Bollam
6794 Private Charles Bowyer
7851 Private William Frederick Brackenborough
6823 Private Ishmael Braithwaite
9455 Sergeant Horace Charles Bray
7411 Private Bernard Briggall
6920 Private Thomas Brindle
8026 Private George Brooke
10558 Lance-Corporal Frank Brooker
6984 Lance-Sergeant Francis George Buchanan
9818 Private Harold Blanchard Bull
8295 Private Alfred Bunyan
8225 Private William Charles Burgess
9979 Private Robert Fredrick Burnes
8606 Private Charles Casey
7807 Private James Edward Chignell
7641 L/Cpl Walter Clark
10379 Private William Clarke
7796 Private Alfred Clay
7160 Private William Charles Clift
8620 Private Arthur Coates
8904 Private Robert Coatsworth
9454 Private Percy Percival John Cox
6886 Private Joseph Crossby
7309 Private Oswald Cunliffe
8215 Sergeant John Davidson
9345 Private Arthur Dawes
8249 Private Charles Henry Dayman
7163 Private Percy George Dewey
6831 Lance-Corporal John Watson Dickinson
7387 Private Harry Dodds
7456 Private John Douglas
8205 Private G H Dyer 
8657 Private Henry Edwards 
7731 Private William Edwards 
10353 Private Charles Alfred Ely 
7119 Private Peter Faughey 
10361 Private Edmund Fitton 
8648 Private Robert Fletcher 
10093 Corporal Richard Fotheringham 
7156 Pte Joseph Gray 
8908 Private James Gregory 
8591 Private Arthur Edgar Hahn 
8555 Private George Harris 
6017 Private Charles Harrison 
9566 Private Henry Hatcher 
6803 Private Joseph Ingham 
8238 Pte Robert Irving 
8458 Lance-Corporal Frank Jarvis 
6115 Private John Kemp 
6928 Private Thomas Kemp 
8611 Private James Kennedy 
5391 Lance-Corporal William David Kimber 
9411 Corporal William Kinghorn 
7126 Private William Kirkpatrick 
7110 Private William John Knox 
10519 Private Stanley Lee 
10675 Private George Frederick Lockerby 
10474 Private John Maloney 
10324 Private Thomas Matthews 
10500 Private Walter McKellar 
7991 Lance-Corporal James Meagan 
10322 Private Ernest Merrifield 
6774 Private James John Messer 
7504 Private John Neville 
9880 Private Cecil Charles Nicholls 
6919 Private Richard Norris 
7374 Private George Oakes 
7723 Private William Henry O'Key 
8672 Private William Stanton Orchard 
10600 Private John Edwin Palmer 
7099 Pte William Parkinson 
7561 Private Charles Lewis Pegram 
8977 Lance-Corporal Victor Price 
10468 Private Harold Pullan 
8346 Private Thomas William Purdon 
6873 Private Fred John Pye 
8996 Private T E Radley 
8686 Private George Read 
7152 Private John Frederick Richardson 
6923 Private Fred Rogers 
7784 Private David Rollason 
6851 Private Reginald Rudden 
9307 Private J Shepherd 
5480 Private James Sherlock 
7951 Private Edward Stalham 
8326 Private Herbert Stanley 
8927 Private Thomas Swaddle 
9889 Private Herbert Thompson 
8660 Private Edgar Reuben Tindall 
7601 Private Samuel Alfred Usher 
8708 Private James Edward Vincent 
8198 Private Alfred Whitehead 
9390 Private John Whitfield 
10491 Private Reuben Wilmot 
10495 Private James Wilson 
7939 Private Henry Wiltshire

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1 January 2017

2017, a look ahead... and a glance back


2017 will mark my tenth year of posting information on this army service numbers blog.  If I could go back ten years I'd probably have called this blog Regimental Numbers 1881-1918 because, actually, this is all about regimental numbers rather than army service numbers which were introduced in 1920.

If you are a regular visitor to this site, thank you for dropping by. If you are a new visitor to this blog, thank you too, and please use the search bar at the top left of this page, or click on the INDEX to find what you're looking for. On this blog you will find information on regimental number sequences for ALL British line infantry, ALL British Household Cavalry, ALL British Line Cavalry, and various sundry units besides. The majority of the regimental number sequences published here start in 1881 and end in 1914.  Use these as a rough guide to when your own ancestor might have joined up.

The information I have published here is a fraction of what I have on my databases. I am always happy to answer general questions, and indeed, some of these have prompted blog posts in their own right. However, with a full time career, as well as a family, multiple blogs and various military interests and research projects to run / support / undertake, I simply do not have the time to dig down into individual service histories. I do offer a research service and so if your enquiry is about a particular soldier you'll need to contact me directly: paulcanixon@yahoo.co.uk.

I see that last year I posted on this blog 39 times; a little down on 2016 but up on other years. Expect more of the same in 2017.

I should also take this opportunity to advise you of some of the other blogs I run concurrently:

Army Ancestry Research: research tips and case histories (38 posts last year)

Army Forms and Attestations: sample forms and brief explanations (8 posts last year)

British Army Medals: information on the medals plus medal auctions (13 posts last year)

Chailey 1914-1918: The story of a community response (37 posts last year)

World War 1 Veterans: Men I met or corresponded with in the 1980s and 90s (6 posts last year)

WW1 Remembrance (18 posts last year)

My best wishes to you all for 2017. The image on this post is by cartoonist Bert Thomas and was published in Punch in April 1917.