23 April 2022

Findmypast knocks 50% off 1921 Census views

 


Those of us with an interest in the First World War and earlier will have eagerly awaited the release of the 1921 Census by Findmypast. I have enjoyed finding soldiers who served in the First World War back in their civilian environments - usually - by 1921.

Now, in what could be termed a 'flash' sale, Findmypast has slashed the cost of viewing the census by 50%. However, you'll need to be quick because this offer ends at 9am BST on Tuesday 26th April. The normal cost to view a census image is £3.50, and to view a transcription it's £2.50. However, these prices have been halved and so it will now cost just £1.75 and £1.25 respectively.

Make the most of this offer. Remember, the sale ends at Tuesday at 9am BST. Click on this 1921 Census sale link to go straight to the Findmypast website. If you are not already registered with the site you will need to register first.

Remember too, that you can also conduct a 1921 Census address search and a 1921 Census Employer search. So not only can you now see where your ancestor worked, but who he or she worked with.

4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment)


This post will look at regimental numbering in the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, King’s (Liverpool Regiment) between 1908 and August 1914. 

Men signed up for six years' service on the understanding that they were "liable to be called out or detained whilst called up for training, in case of imminent national danger, or great emergency, on permanent service in the United Kingdom, or elsewhere..." and furthermore that they "could be detained in army service for the unexpired portion of [their] term of service in the Army Reserve and for a further period not exceeding 12 months..." And when Britain went to war in August 1914 that is exactly what happened. Men in the Extra Reserve were called up and were soon forming drafts to replace casualties in the regular battalions which, in the case of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment), were the 1st and 2nd Battalions. 

The regimental numbering sequence used by the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion was entirely separate from the numbering series used by the 1st and 2nd Battalions and separate also from the numbering system in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalions. Both the 3rd and the 4th Battalions had been created in April 1908 with the demise of the 3rd and 4th (Militia) Battalions. Use these sample regimental numbers to ascertain when a man would have joined the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, King’s (Liverpool Regiment). 

7072 joined on the 19th July 1908 
4/8153 joined on the 20th January 1909 
8423 joined on the 6th April 1910 
8652 joined on the 13th March1912 
8810 joined on the 25th July 1913 
8909 joined on the 18th March1914 
9103 joined on the 4th August 1914 

The 4/ prefix was used inconsistently and it can therefore be confusing at times when it comes to trying to ascertain, from a man's regimental number alone, whether he was a regular soldier or a man who had originally joined the Extra Reserve. For instance, whilst the number 9103, above, was issued to an Extra Reservist in August 1914, the same number would have been issued to a man signing up as a regular in 1904.

For photos of King's (Liverpool Regiment) soldiers don't forget to check out my British Army Ancestors website.

3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment)


This post will look at regimental numbering in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, King’s (Liverpool Regiment) between 1908 and November 1914. 

Men signed up for six years' service on the understanding that they were "liable to be called out or detained whilst called up for training, in case of imminent national danger, or great emergency, on permanent service in the United Kingdom, or elsewhere..." and furthermore that they "could be detained in army service for the unexpired portion of [their] term of service in the Army Reserve and for a further period not exceeding 12 months..." And when Britain went to war in August 1914 that is exactly what happened. Men in the Special Reserve were called up and were soon forming drafts to replace casualties in the regular battalions which, in the case of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment), were the 1st and 2nd Battalions. 

The regimental numbering sequence used by the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion was entirely separate from the numbering series used by the 1st and 2nd Battalions and separate also from the numbering system in the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalions. Both the 3rd and the 4th Battalions had been created in April 1908 with the demise of the 3rd and 4th (Militia) Battalions. Use these sample regimental numbers to ascertain when a man would have joined the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, King’s (Liverpool Regiment). 

9272 joined on the 30th June 1908 
9542 joined on the 24th June 1909 
9732 joined on the 4th March 1910 
9851 joined on the 18th April 1911 
10030 joined on the 5th January1912 
10290 joined on the 19th February 1913 
3/10628 joined on the 6th August 1914 
3/11991 joined on the 12th September 1914 
3/12339 joined on the 1st October 1914 
3/12628 joined on the 2nd November 1914 

The 3/ prefix was used inconsistently and it can therefore be confusing at times when it comes to trying to ascertain, from a man's regimental number alone, whether he was a regular soldier or a man who had originally joined the Special Reserve. For instance, whilst the number 9851, above, was issued to a Special Reservist in April 1911, the same number would have been issued to a man signing up as a regular in 1907.

For photos of King's (Liverpool Regiment) soldiers don't forget to check out my British Army Ancestors website.

29 March 2022

The British Army in the 1921 Census

Findmypast’s recent release of the 1921 Census of England & Wales provides an ideal opportunity for a quick sanity check on where the British Army was located in June 1921. With the singular exception of Scotland, the census returns for which are expected to be released later this year, if your British Army Ancestor was in uniform in June 1921, you should find him in the 1921 Census of England & Wales.  

 

As with the 1911 Census, the 1921 Census of England & Wales also enumerated men who were stationed overseas, and Findmypast provides some great detail about where you’ll find these men.

 

There are 35 separate volumes (‘pieces’ is the archival term) for the British Army overseas, 11 pieces for the Royal Navy and a single piece for the RAF. It is possible to search by piece number on the main 1921 Census search page and doing so will quickly enable you to filter out irrelevant results. Here are the piece numbers and locationd for the British Army overseas in June 1921:

 

28107: Mesopotamia

28108: Mesopotamia

28109: Hong Kong, China, Aden, South Africa, Singapore, Bermuda, troop ships at sea

28110: Constantinople

28111: Egypt, Sudan & Cyprus

28112: Egypt & Sudan

28113: Egypt & Sudan

28114: France & Flanders, Jamaica, Southampton Water

28115: Trinidad, Gibraltar, Mauritius, troop ship at sea, Poland, Sierra Leone

28116: India

28117: India

28118: India

28119: India

28120: India

28121: India

28122: India

28123: India

28124: India

28125: Ireland

28126: Ireland

28127: Ireland

28128: Ireland

28129: Ireland

28130: Ireland

28131: Ireland

28132: Ireland

28133: Ireland

28134: Malta

28135: Mesopotamia & Persian Gulf

28136: Mesopotamia

28137: Palestine

28138: Germany

28139: The British Upper Silesian Force

28140: Guernsey & Alderney

28141: Jersey

 

Be aware that regiment names may not always be spelled out on the actual pages which list soldier names. Instead, expect to find the words ‘Army’ or ‘Infantry’, ‘Cavalry’ etc. However, if you find the first page of the return, you will usually find that the officer making that return also includes the regiment name.


Remember too, that many men who had served during the First World War may still have been in uniform in 1921. Some would have been career soldiers who had joined the army before 1914 or during the war; others may have re-enlisted for limited periods of engagement after the war. It's worth checking the 1921 Census to see if your ancestor was still in uniform and, if he was, his service record will almost certainly still survive with the Ministry of Defence and can be ordered by clicking the link. Be aware though, that at the time of writing it is taking the MoD up to 12 months to fulfil requests.


24 October 2021

West Yorkshire Regiment - 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion

West Yorkshire Regiment colours

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment between 1908 and 1914. T
he Special Reserve and the Extra Reserve were the natural heirs to the militia battalions which, for the most part they replaced in 1908. My 2009 article on the Creation of the Special Reserve in 1908 may be helpful here.

Both West Yorkshire Regiment militia battalions survived in all but name when the Special Reserve was created in 1908. Men who were then serving with the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, were asked if they wanted to continue to serve with the newly formed 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, and men who were then serving with the 4th (Militia) Battalion, were asked if they wanted to contunue to serve with the newly formed 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion. 

Men joining the militia and special/extra reserve were not career soldiers. The Army Book for the British Empire, published in 1893 provided a useful summary of the militia when it noted:

"Its object is to maintain in the United Kingdom a trained body of men available "in case of imminent national danger or great emergency" to supplement the regular army in the defence of the country.

"It offers military service to the class of men willing to give it for a month in the year for training of for the term of their engagement on emergency, but whose avocations do not lead them to become either regular soldiers or volunteers."

Most 1914 Star rolls show plenty of evidence of Special Reserve and Extra Reserve men who served alongside career soldiers. Sometimes their numbers are prefixed by the number of their battalion - typically a 3/ or 4/ in most line infantry regiments - but just as often there will be no prefix.

Confusingly, for those with an interest in West Yorkshire Regiment regimental numbers, the series used by the 4th Battalion pretty much kept pace with the series used by the 3rd Battalion, but both were distinct series and that is important to remember. Also important to note is that when these men were called up as drafts for the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions from August 1914, they retained their original 3rd and 4th Battalion regimental numbers.

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment:

5727 joined on 27th June1908, but this number had originally been issued to this man when he joined the 4th (Militia) Bn in 1903
6886 joined on 1st June 1909
7322 joined on 31st January 1910
7411 joined on 16th February 1911
7656 joined on 2nd May 1912
7845 joined on 26th February 1913
8067 joined on 25th February 1914
8277 joined on 5th August 1914

Do also read of some of the articles towards the bottom of the Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 index
Remember. I research soldiers!

To search for West Yorkshire Regiment photos, check my British Army Ancestors website 

West Yorkshire Regiment - 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion

West Yorkshire Regiment colours

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment between 1908 and 1914. T
he Special Reserve and the Extra Reserve were the natural heirs to the militia battalions which, for the most part they replaced in 1908. My 2009 article on the Creation of the Special Reserve in 1908 may be helpful here.

Both West Yorkshire Regiment militia battalions survived in all but name when the Special Reserve was created in 1908. Men who were then serving with the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, were asked if they wanted to continue to serve with the newly formed 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, and men who were then serving with the 4th (Militia) Battalion, were asked if they wanted to contunue to serve with the newly formed 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion. 

Men joining the militia and special/extra reserve were not career soldiers. The Army Book for the British Empire, published in 1893 provided a useful summary of the militia when it noted:

"Its object is to maintain in the United Kingdom a trained body of men available "in case of imminent national danger or great emergency" to supplement the regular army in the defence of the country.

"It offers military service to the class of men willing to give it for a month in the year for training of for the term of their engagement on emergency, but whose avocations do not lead them to become either regular soldiers or volunteers."

Most 1914 Star rolls show plenty of evidence of Special Reserve and Extra Reserve men who served alongside career soldiers. Sometimes their numbers are prefixed by the number of their battalion - typically a 3/ or 4/ in most line infantry regiments - but just as often there will be no prefix.

Confusingly, for those with an interest in West Yorkshire Regiment regimental numbers, the series used by the 3rd Battalion pretty much kept pace with the series used by the 4th Battalion, but both were distinct series and that is important to remember. Also important to note is that when these men were called up as drafts for the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions from August 1914, they retained their original 3rd and 4th Battalion regimental numbers.

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment:

6207 joined on 27th June1908, but this number had originally been issued to this man when he joined the 3rd (Militia) Bn in 1902
7695 joined on 22nd February 1909
7907 joined on 13th January 1910
8108 joined on 31st May 1911
8363 joined on 12th July 1912
8533 joined on 27th May 1913
8703 joined on 26th January 1914
8869 joined on 12th August 1914
9723 joined on 2nd September 1914
10198 joined on 3rd October 1914

Do also read of some of the articles towards the bottom of the Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 index
Remember. I research soldiers!

To search for West Yorkshire Regiment photos, check my British Army Ancestors website 

Connaught Rangers - 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion

Connaught Rangers regimental insignia

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion of the Connaught Rangers between 1908 and 1914. T
he Special Reserve and the Extra Reserve were the natural heirs to the militia battalions which, for the most part they replaced in 1908. My 2009 article on the Creation of the Special Reserve in 1908 may be helpful here.

Both Connaught Rangers militia battalions survived in all but name when the Special Reserve was introduced in 1908. Men who were then serving with the 4th (Militia) Battalion, were asked if they wanted to continue to serve with the newly formed 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, and men who were then serving with the 5th (Militia) Battalion, were asked if they wanted to contunue to serve with the newly formed 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion. 

Men joining the militia and special/extra reserve were not career soldiers. The Army Book for the British Empire, published in 1893 provided a useful overview of the militia when it noted:

"Its object is to maintain in the United Kingdom a trained body of men available "in case of imminent national danger or great emergency" to supplement the regular army in the defence of the country.

"It offers military service to the class of men willing to give it for a month in the year for training of for the term of their engagement on emergency, but whose avocations do not lead them to become either regular soldiers or volunteers."

Most 1914 Star rolls show plenty of evidence of Special Reserve and Extra Reserve men who served alongside career soldiers. Sometimes their numbers are prefixed by the number of their battalion - typically a 3/ or 4/ in most line infantry regiments - but just as often there will be no prefix.

Confusingly, for those with an interest in Connaught Rangers regimental numbers, the series used by the 4th Battalion pretty much kept pace with the series used by the 3rd Battalion, but both were distinct series and that is important to remember. Also important to note is that when these men were called up as drafts for the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions from August 1914, they retained their original 3rd and 4th Battalion regimental numbers.

Extra Reserve numbering appears to begin in August 1908 with numbers below circa 3800 all being men who formerly served with the 5th (Militia) Battalion and simply re-used their old militia regimental numbers. 

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the 4th Connaught Rangers:

3325 joined on 2nd August 1908 (but this number had originally been issued to this man when he joined the 5th (Militia) Bn in April 1905
4082 joined on 6th January 1909
4218 joined on 1st January 1910
4423 joined on 18th February 1911
4606 joined on 2nd April 1912
4663 joined on 8th January 1913
4769 joined on 23rd January 1914
4857 joined on 3rd September 1914
5078 joined on 28th December 1914

Do also read of some of the articles towards the bottom of the Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 index
Remember. I research soldiers!

To search for Connaught Rangers photos, check my British Army Ancestors website 

Connaught Rangers - 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion

Connaught Rangers, Gale & Polden


This post will look at regimental numbering in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the Connaught Rangers between 1908 and 1914. The Special Reserve and the Extra Reserve were the natural heirs to the militia battalions which, for the most part, they replaced in 1908. My 2009 article on the Creation of the Special Reserve in 1908 may be helpful here.

Both Connaught Rangers militia battalions survived in all but name when the Special Reserve was introduced in 1908. Men who were then serving with the 4th (Militia) Battalion, were asked if they wanted to contunue to serve with the newly formed 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, and men who were then serving with the 5th (Militia) Battalion, were asked if they wanted to contunue to serve with the newly formed 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion. 

Men joining the militia and special/extra reserve were not career soldiers. The Army Book for the British Empire, published in 1893 provided a useful overview of the militia when it noted:

"Its object is to maintain in the United Kingdom a trained body of men available "in case of imminent national danger or great emergency" to supplement the regular army in the defence of the country.

"It offers military service to the class of men willing to give it for a month in the year for training of for the term of their engagement on emergency, but whose avocations do not lead them to become either regular soldiers or volunteers."

Most 1914 Star rolls show plenty of evidence of Special Reserve and Extra Reserve men who served alongside career soldiers. Sometimes their numbers are prefixed by the number of their battalion - typically a 3/ or 4/ in most line infantry regiments - but just as often there will be no prefix.

Confusingly, for those with an interest in Connaught Rangers regimental numbers, the series used by the 3rd Battalion pretty much kept pace with the series used by the 4th Battalion, but both were distinct series and that is important to remember. Also important to note is that when these men were called up as drafts for the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions from August 1914, they retained their original 3rd and 4th Battalion regimental numbers.

Speical Reserve numbering appears to begin in August 1908 with numbers below circa 3000 all being men who formerly served with the 4th (Militia) Battalion and simply re-used their old militia regimental numbers. 

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the 3rd Connaught Rangers:

2523 joined on 2nd August 1908 (but this number had originally been issued to this man when he joined the 4th (Militia) Bn pre-1899
3559 joined on 3rd November 1908
3669 joined on 11th September 1909
3699 joined on 1st February 1910
3869 joined on 1st February 1911
4093 joined on 29th August 1912
4155 joined on 21st January 1913
4261 joined on 12th January 1914
4311 joined on 10th September 1914
4483 joined on 7th October 1914
4740 joined on 2nd November 1914
5118 joined on 1st December 1914

Do also read of some of the articles towards the bottom of the Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 index
Remember. I research soldiers!

To search for Connaught Rangers photos, check my British Army Ancestors website 

30 August 2021

Devonshire Regiment, 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion


This post will look at regimental numbering in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the Devonshire between 1908 and 1914. The Special Reserve and the Extra Reserve were the natural heirs to the militia battalions which, for the most part they replaced in 1908. My 2009 article on the Creation of the Special Reserve in 1908 may be helpful here.

With the creation of the Special Reserve in 1908, the Devonshire Regiment effectively lost a battalion. Prior to this date, as well as its two regular battalions, it also fielded two militia battalions, the 3rd and 4th Battalions. Wiht the creation of the Special Reserv, the 4th Battalion was abandoned, men now being given the option to sign up to the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion. As far as regimental numbering in the battalion was concerned. Men who were still serving with the 3rd (Militia) Battalion simply joined the 3rd (Speical Reserve) Battalion with their old regimental numbers. 4th (Militia) Battalion men who now opted to join the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion were given new numbers from the 3rd Battalion series which was, itself, a continuation of the militia number series. There are many examples in surviving service records of serving militia men joining the Special Reserve in 1908 but only signing up for the unexpired portion of their militia service.

Men joining the militia and special/extra reserve were not career soldiers. They were men who had completed a period of training alongside career soldiers at the regimental depot but they then went back to their homes, turning out annually for drills and camp. Men of the Militia and the Special Reserve signed up for six years' service and knew, in the event of war, that they would be called upon to fill gaps in the regular battalions. A glance at most 1914 Star rolls will show plenty of evidence of Special Reserve men who served alongside career soldiers. Sometimes their numbers are prefixed by the number of their battalion - typically a 3/ or 4/ in most line infantry regiments - but just as often there will be no prefix.

The first 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion number I have on my database - and there will be many earlier ones thatn this - is 4893 Samuel Rowe who was a time-expired soldier with 12 years' service under his belt. He was also a serving member of the 4th (Militia) battalion and when he joined the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion on the 27th June 1908 he only signed up for 2 years and 200 days which was the unexpired portion of his militia service. The new number he was issued with was from the series which had been in use for the 3rd (Militia) Battalion. 

Here then, are some sample numbers for the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment:

4956 joined on the 27th June 1908 
3/5749 joined on the 12th May 1909
5947 joined on the 24th January 1910
6206 joined on the 18th April 1911
3/6597 joined on the 29th October 1912
3/6679 joined on the 12th February 1913
3/7040 joined on the 15th August 1914
3/7180 joined on the 1st September 1914
3/7743 joined on the 7th October 1914

The regimental number series was unique to the 3rd Miltia/Special Reserve Battalion but care needs to be exercised when determining if a man's number belongs to this series or to the series that was issued from the regimental depot to men joining as career soldiers. For example, looking at the sequence above, it can be seen that the number 7000 would have been issued to a 3rd Bn man between February 1913 and August 1914 (and more likely to have been July or August 1914 for that matter). However, the same number would have been issued to a career soldier who joined the regiment in July 1902. See my article on regimental numbering in the 1st & 2nd Battalions of The Devonshire Regiment.

And if all of this is still confusing, have a read of some of the articles towards the bottom of the Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 index

Remember. I research soldiers!

To search for Devonshire Regiment photos, check my British Army Ancestors website 

The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) - 3rd (Special Reserve) Bn


This post will look at regimental numbering in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the Buffs (East Kent Regiment) between 1908 and 1914. The Special Reserve and the Extra Reserve were the natural heirs to the militia battalions which, for the most part they replaced in 1908. My 2009 article on the Creation of the Special Reserve in 1908 may be helpful here.

As far as the Buffs was concerned, it was the 3rd (Militia) Battalion which it lost with the creation of the Special Reserve in 1908 and those concerned with such matters appear to have simply shrugged their shoulders and carried on with the same regimental number series that had been in use for the militia. 

Men joining the militia and special/extra reserve were not career soldiers. They were men who had completed a period of training alongside career soldiers at the regimental depot but they then went back to their homes, turning out annually for drills and camp. Men of the Militia and the Special Reserve signed up for six years' service and knew, in the event of war, that they would be called upon to fill gaps in the regular battalions. A glance at most 1914 Star rolls will show plenty of evidence of Special Reserve men who served alongside career soldiers. Sometimes their numbers are prefixed by the number of their battalion - typically a 3/ or 4/ in most line infantry regiments - but just as often there will be no prefix.

The first 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion number I have on my database - and there will be many earlier ones thatn this - is 7196 Ernest William John Brooks who had been issued with that number when he joined the 3rd (Militia) Battalion on the 3rd June 1904. He was still a serving member of the 3rd (Militia) Battalion when the Special Reserve was created, and he signed on for a further six years in July 1908, his old militia number being re-activated. Other men who joined at the same time and who were not already serving with the militia were issued with new regimental numbers which began where the old militia regimental series had ended. This pattern is seen in very many special and extra reserve battalion attestation papers for 1908.

Here then, are some sample regimental numbers for the 3rd Buffs (East Kent Regiment):

8104 joined on 28th June 1908 
9382 joined on 21st April 1909
9623 joined on 21st February 1910
9941 joined on 20th February 1911
10179 joined on 1st January 1912
10486 joined on 14th May 1913
3/10669 joined on the 8th July 1914
S/10703 joined on 8th August 1914

The regimental number series was unique to the 3rd Miltia/Special Reserve Battalion but care needs to be exercised when determining if a man's number belongs to this series or to the series that was issued from the regimental depot to men joining as career soldiers. For example, looking at the sequence above, it can be seen that the number 10000 would have been issued to a 3rd Bn man between February 1911 and January 1912. However, the same number would have been issued to a career soldier who joined the regiment in April or May 1913. See my article on regimental numbering in the 1st & 2nd Battalions of The Buffs (East Kent) Regiment.

In addition to this main regimental number sequence for the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, there was a second number series which was begun in August 1914 and which appears to have been short-lived. These numbers began at 1 and were prefixed with - on attestation papers at least - SREKGS, which was shorthand for Special Reserve East Kent General Service. If your man has a number with this prefix, then this mini series may be helpful:

SREKGS/102 was issued on the 14th August 1914
SREKGS/229 was issued on the 5th September 1914
SREKGS/828 was issued on the 27th October 1914

This is the last number I have on my database but I'd be interested to hear of later numbers issued in this series.

And if all of this is still confusing, have a read of some of the articles towards the bottom of the Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 index. The photo on this post was published in The Tatler on the 20th January 1915 and shows officers of the 3rd Battalion, The Buffs.

Remember. I research soldiers!

To search for Buffs (East Kent Regiment) photos, check my British Army Ancestors website 

7 August 2021

Fill yer boots! It's the Naval & Military Press summer sale!


Grab some bargains with the Naval & Military Press Summer Sale 2021. There's a flat 20% discount applied to all titles in the extensive Naval & Military Press catalogue inlcuding titles which have already been heavily discounted.

Clicking the link above will take you straight to the Naval & Military Press website where you can browse to your heart's content. However, to make it even easier for you, here are some links to specific categories which you might find useful:


        First World War regimental histories - over 230 titles
        Rolls of Honour, casualty lists and genealogy - over 140 titles


Remember, this is a time-limited discount and some stocks of titles on the Naval & Military Press website may be running low. Don't miss out. Grab yourself a bargain today.

 

29 July 2021

Border Regiment - regimental numbering in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion 1908-1914


This article will look at regimental numbering in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the Border Regiment between 1908 and 1914. As I have written before, the Special Reserve and the Extra Reserve were the natural heirs to militia battalions which, for the most part they replaced. My 2009 article on the Creation of the Special Reserve in 1908 may be helpful here.

As far as the Border Regiment was concerned, it was one of the regiments which lost a militia battalion with the creation of the Special Reserve in 1908. Up until that time it had recruited for the 3rd and 4th militia battalions. However, from 1908 it was just the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion which replaced both militia battalions. Men who were still serving with these miltiia battalions in 1908 were invited to join the new 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion.

Men joining the militia and special/extra reserve were not career soldiers. They were men who had completed a period of training alongside career soldiers at the regimental depot but they then went back to their homes, turning out annually for drills and camp. Men of the Militia and the Special Reserve signed up for six years' service and knew, in the event of war, that they would be called upon to fill gaps in the regular battalions. A glance at most 1914 Star rolls will show plenty of evidence of Special Reserve men who served alongside career soldiers. Sometimes their numbers are prefixed by the number of their battalion - typically a 3/ or 4/ in most line infantry regiments - but just as often there will be no prefix.

The lowest 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion number I have is 2585 for Thomas Walker who joined the newly formd battalion on the 12th July 1908. His number though, dates to the time when he had joined the 3rd (Militia) Battalion on the 8th June 1899. In common with many newly forming special reserve and extra reserve battalions, the 3rd Border Regiment just continued with the same numberv series that had been used for the 3rd miltiia battalion and old militiamen now joining the new special reserve simply brough their old militia numbers with them.

Here then, are some numbers for the 3rd Border Regiment.

3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, Border Regiment

2585 joined on 12th July 1908 (but the number dates to 1899)
3987 joined on 14th January 1909
4222 joined on 18th November 1910
4309 joined on 29th May 1911
4434 joined on 3rd January 1912
4887 joined on 4th October 1913
5022 joined on the 31st March 1914
5135 joined on 17th August 1914
5477 joined on the 3rd September 1914
6463 joined on the 19th October 1914

The regimental number series was unique to the 3rd Miltia/Special Reserve Battalion but care needs to be exercised when determining if a man's number belongs to this series or to the series that was issued from the regimental depot to men joining as career soldiers. For example, looking at the sequence above, it can be seen that the number 6000 would have been issued to a 3rd Bn man between September and October 1914. However, the same number would have been issued to a career soldier in the first quarter of 1899 and there were plenty of men who had enlisted as early as this who would still be liable to fight for King and Country in August 1914. See my article on regimental numbering in the 1st & 2nd Battalions of the Border Regiment.

And if all of this is still confusing, have a read of some of the articles towards the bottom of the Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 index.


Remember. I research soldiers!

To search for Border Regiment photos, check my British Army Ancestors website

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) - Regimental numbering in the 3rd (Special Reserve) and 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalions 1908-1914


Having concentrated a lot in recent months on various Territorial Force battalions, I'm going to look at regimental numbering in Special Reserve and Extra Reserve battalions. As I have written before, the Special Reserve and the Extra Reserve were the natural heirs to militia battalions which, for the most part they replaced. My 2009 article on the Creation of the Special Reserve in 1908 may be helpful here.

As far as the Scottish Rifles was concerned, its new 3rd (Special Reserve) and 4th (Extra Reserve) replaced the 3rd and 4th Militia Battalions and the new battalions just continued with the same regimental numbering systems that had been used by their militia predecessors.

Remember, the men joining the militia and special/extra reserve were not career soldiers. They were men who had completed a period of training alongside career soldiers at the regimental depot but they then went back to their homes, turning out annually for drills and camp. Men of the Special Reserve signed up for six years' service and knew, in the event of war, that they would be called upon to fill gaps in the regular battalions. A glance at most 1914 Star rolls will show plenty of evidence of Special Reserve men who served alongside career soldiers. Sometimes their numbers are prefixed by the number of their battalion - typically a 3/ or 4/ in most line infantry regiments - but just as often there will be no prefix.

My summary below shows enlistment into the 3rd (Special Reserve) and 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalions of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). All of these men would have lived locally, within the recruiting area for the Cameronians. 

3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, Scottish Rifles

3/6298 joined on 9th August 1908. This man had already been serving with the 3rd Militia Bn with this number.
3/6965 joined on 27th April 1909
3/7207 joined on 25th January 1910
3/7339 joined on 19th June 1911
3/7439 joined on 1st February 1912
3/7639 joined on 3rd December 1913
3/7753 joined on 11th August 1914

4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, Scottish Rifles

6510 joined on 9th August 1908
6740 joined on 14th February 1909
6979 joined on 12th April 1910
7052 joined on 16th October 1911
7077 joined on 10th January 1912
7094 joined on 6th March 1913
7234 joined on 17th February 1914
7453 joined on 11th August 1914

You can see from the sequences above that there was very little difference between the 3rd and 4th Battalions in terms of when numbers were issued. By the 11th August 1914 the 3rd Battalion had has 7753 men through its books, whilst the 4th Battalion had recruited precisely 300 fewer men. But the regimental number sequences were unique to both battalions and it is important to understand this.

Practically, this means that when looking at medal rolls and trying to work out enlistment dates, if your man had the number 7000 he could have been a 3rd Battalion man who joined between April 1909 and January 1910 or a 4th Battalion man who had joined between April 1910 and October 1911. On the other hand, he could have been a career soldier who had joined between February 1900 and May 1901. (See my post on the 1st & 2nd Battalions, Scottish Rifles).

And if all of this is still confusing, have a read of some of the articles towards the bottom of the Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 index.


Remember. I research soldiers!

To search for Scottish Rifles photos, check my British Army Ancestors websiteThe image shows men of the 1st Cameronians at Portsmouth in 1894 and is reproduced by courtesy of the Cameronians Museum.

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