8 September 2019

Border Regiment - 5th Battalion (TF) - 1908-1914


This post will look at regimental numbering in the 5th (Cumberland) Battalion (TF), Border Regiment between 1908 and 1914.

The 5th Battalion was formed on the 1st April 1908 and prior to this had been the 3rd Volunteer Battalion (Cumberland). The Territorial Year Book for 1909 recorded that the battalion strength was 25 officers and 685 men and at the annual camp at Peel, Isle of Man in 1908, 585 officers and men had attended for eight days whilst 171 officers and men had attended for 15 days.


The following year, The Territorial Year Book for 1910 recorded that the strength was 26 officers and 969 men and at the annual camp in 1909 (at Conway), 273 officers and men had attended for eight days whilst 629 officers and men had attended for 15 days.


In August 1914 the battalion was headquartered at Workington and the battalion's companies drew men from the following areas.


A Company: Whitehaven
B & C Companies: Workington
D Company: Cockermouth
E Company: Egremont, with drill stations at St Bees and Cleator
F Company: Wigton
G Company: Frizington
H Company: Aspatria, with drill stations at Dearham and Bullgill

Understanding the company distribution is important if you know where your 5th Battalion soldier lived as it would likely suggest the company he served with. For instance, men living in Wigton and wishing to join this battalion would have logically been assigned to F Company. (Note that this logic was abandoned after 4th August 1914).


Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the 5th Battalion, Border Regiment.


63 joined from the Volunteer Force on the 1st April 1908

762 joined on the 25th February 1909

Like the 4th Battalion, Border Regiment, the 5th Battalion had recruited steadily (and a little faster than the 4th Battalion) since its inception and by the 12th May 1909 was issuing the number 940 to its latest recruit. Recruitment hereafter slowed down dramatically, as can be seen from the pattern of numbers issued in the ensuing years to August 1914.

1148 joined on the 28th February 1910
1262 joined on the 15th February 1911
1365 joined on the 12th February 1912
1553 joined on the 10th February 1913
1728 joined on the 20th March 1914
1925 joined on the 4th August 1914

Use the regimental numbers above to estimate when a man would have joined this battalion between 1908 and August 1914. For example if your man's number was 1234 he would have joined the battalion between February 1910 and February 1911. 


Note that the 4th (Cumberland & Westmorland) Battalion of the Border Regiment had its own separate regimental number sequence which had also all started with the number 1 in April 1908.



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To search for photos of your Border Regiment ancestors, check my British Army Ancestors website.


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