26 August 2008

2nd (City of London) Bn, The London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)

This battalion had its origins in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Royal Fusiliers.

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for the 2nd London Regiment as follows:

340 joined on 6th May 1908
670 joined on 22nd March 1909
988 joined on 23rd March 1910
1068 joined on 19th January 1911
1209 joined on 4th March 1912
1452 joined on 8th January 1913
1775 joined on 13th May 1914
1912 joined on 10th August 1914
2472 joined on 7thy September 1914
3169 joined on 20th October 1914
3248 joined on 17th November 1914
3277 joined on 2nd December 1914
3475 joined on 20th January 1915
3636 joined on 15th February 1915
4205 joined on 2nd March 1915
4337 joined on 10th April 1915
4429 joined on 10th May 1915
4605 joined on 5th June 1915
4829 joined on 21st July 1915
4918 joined on 28th August 1915
5004 joined on 7th October 1915
5092 joined on 1st November 1915
5203 joined on 20th December 1915
5224 joined on 17th January 1916
5552 joined on 1st February 1916
5631 joined on 20th March 1916
6423 joined on 3rd April 1916
6605 joined on 15th May 1916
6628 joined on 3rd June 1916
6667 joined on 18th July 1916
6802 joined on 1st August 1916
8176 joined on 11th September 1916
8266 joined on 14th October 1916
8434 joined on 4th November 1916

When the battalion re-numbered in 1917, it did so using numbers within the block 230001 to 250000. Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates within the six digit range.

230001 originally joined in April 1908 (and was almost certainly an old 2nd Volunteer Battalion man)
230092 originally joined on 4th March 1912
230315 originally joined on 6th August 1914
230562 originally joined on 1st September 1914
230997 originally joined on 19th October 1914
231072 originally joined on 15th December 1914
231136 originally joined on 12th January 1915
231423 originally joined on 19th February 1915
231708 originally joined on 20th April 1915
231842 originally joined on 7th June 1915
231985 originally joined on 31st July 1915

I'll add to this list in due course.

Search for 2nd City of London men on line with a FREE 14 day trial to Ancestry.co.uk - Click here!

It is wrong to assume that numbering sequences in battalions always followed a sequential pattern. They didn't. As the war progressed and casualties grew, large numbers of men were often transferred from one battalion to another and allocated numbers within blocks which did not fit the sequential patterning seen to date. This becomes particularly evident in most battalions from 1916 onwards. For an example of this, see my posts on the 5th London Regiment and the 23rd London Regiment.


This from the Naval & Military Press:

"The 1/2nd was with the 1st London Brigade, 1st London Division when war broke out, and a month later the brigade was sent to Malta to replace the regular battalions. In February 1915 they in turn were replaced by their second line battalions (the 2/2nd had been formed in September 1914) and left for France where the 1/2nd was posted to 17th Brigade 6th Division at Armentieres and for the rest of the war it remained on the Western Front. In October 1915 the brigade was transferred to the 24th Division and in February 1916 it was moved again - to the re-formed 56th (previously 1st London) Division, part of 169th Brigade, and there it stayed to the end. After Malta the 2/2nd was sent to Gallipoli where it arrived on 13 October and was attached to the 2nd Naval Brigade. In January 1916 it went to France where it was disbanded and the 3/2nd (formed in December 1914), which was in the UK at the time with 173rd Brigade, 58th Division, was renamed 2/2nd. The division landed in France in January 1917 and the battalion fought its first major action at Bullecourt in May; it, too, remained with the brigade throughout the fighting to the end of the war. Finally there was a fourth line battalion, 4/2nd, which was formed in May 1915 but did not serve overseas; its function was to supply drafts for the two overseas battalions.

"The Roll of Honour lists 1,345 dead and the summary of awards shows 65 British decorations to officers and 246 to other ranks, excluding MiD."

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

Read my other posts on numbering in the London Regiment battalions:

City of London Battalions

1st (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers)
3rd (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers)
4th (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers)
5th (City of London) Battalion (Rifle Brigade)
6th (City of London) Battalion (Rifles)
7th (City of London) Battalion
8th (City of London) Battalion (Post Office Rifles)

County of London Battalions

9th (County of London) Battalion (Queen Victoria's Rifles)
10th County of London) Battalion (Hackney) [Originally Paddington Rifles]
11th (County of London) Battalion (Finsbury Rifles)
12th (County of London) Battalion (The Rangers)
13th (County of London) Battalion (Kensington)
14th (County of London) Battalion (London Scottish)
15th (County of London) Battalion (Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles)
16th (County of London) Battalion (Queen's Westminster Rifles)
17th (County of London) Battalion (Poplar & Stepney Rifles)
18th (County of London) Battalion (London Irish Rifles)
19th (County of London) Battalion (St Pancras)
20th (County of London) Battalion (Blackheath & Woolwich)
21st (County of London) Battalion (First Surrey Rifles)
22nd (County of London) Battalion (The Queen's)
23rd (County of London) Battalion
24th (County of London) Battalion (The Queen's)
25th (County of London) Cyclist Battalion
28th (County of London) Battalion (Artists Rifles)


Unknown said...

I really must congratulate you on such a useful and interesting website. I have a query which I hope you can help with. My grandfather, Cpl Walter Bale was a baker and joined the ASC 1914 (S/4/035946) and went to France in Jan 1915. According to the medal roll, he transferred to the 2nd London Regt. (probably the 2/2nd) on 27/6/1918. What confuses me is that his medal roll gives his number as G/92246 which is a pre-1917 number. On the MIC it reads first 2nd London Regt. 241833, then underneath in different ink/handwriting G/92246.

On the medal roll there are 3 other ASC transfers on the same date, all of which have similar 5-digit numbers without the G prefix (92248, 92251 and 92253).

I have two theories, one that he transferred to the battalion before 1918 and got the G/ number or secondly that he transferred in 1918 and got the 6-digit number but for some reason was re-numbered after the war between demob and the medal roll being prepared in 1920.

I realise that you don't tackle ASC numbers but given that his records don't survive I wanted to see what I could deduce from his service numbers.

Look forward to any light you can shed on this mystery.

Happy New Year


Paul Nixon said...

Mark, thanks for your compliments and Happy New Year to you too.

The 241*** number is certainly 2nd Bn RF but my numbers don't go as high as that. I'd guess he was transferred overseas and the range of numbers that 241833 falls into was probably within a block of numbers kept aside for men transferring into the 2nd Battalion from other units. The G/ number would appear to be a Royal Fusiliers number - as opposed to a 2nd London Regt number - and I'm pretty sure that at some point in time, late on in the war, those London Regt battns that were affiliated to other line infantry regiments, took on the numbering in those regiments. I have chapter and verse on iut somewhere but I just can't lay my hands on it at the moment.

The G/ prefix though is definitely RF rather than ASC. There is a note on his card that says he was incorrectly carded.

It might be worth you posting a query on the Great War forum under the section, Interpreting Medal Index cards, and in the meantime I'll cointact an RF expert friend of mine who may be able to shed a little more light.

Best wishes


Unknown said...

I too must thank you for this list as I am researching my uncle's service in the Regiment. I am curious though of the original source for the dates etc as the Regimental archives denied having a record of dates when numbers were issued. Thanks.

Paul Nixon said...


Thank you. My database - a fraction of which appears on these blog posts - has been compiled as a result of spending thousands of hours recording enlistment dates and numbers on surviving attestation papers in WO 363, WO 364 and WO 97. Some medal index cards have also yielded similar information.


Martin Young said...

I have a number of G/82638 for a Private Chinery of the 2nd Battalion, London Regiment, taken from the London Gazette 24 Jan 1919. Obviously this is a five digit number which doesn't seem to correspond to the list above. He was a Conscientious Objector who had previously been in the Army pre WW1 (service history unknown), and became a stretcher bearer in WW1. He was awarded the MM and bar. He had his tribunal in 1916 so I assumed he was enlisted shortly after then. Would a CO be issued with a number marking him out as such?

Paul Nixon said...

It's nothing to do with his status as a CO, Martin, rather reflects the number series in use by the Royal Fusiliers to which the 2nd London Regt was affiliated. More here: http://www.1914-1918.net/TF_renumbering_infantry.htm


Elaine said...

Thanks for such an informative site. I have a query regarding 2nd Batt Royal Fusilier Sgt Edward Albert Davies, my great uncle, who died at Gallipoli 18 Oct 1915. According to your research on RF Army numbers, his number 4768 suggests he was assigned this between the dates 5/6/15 and 21/7/15. However, according to his service records (Medal card under A E Davies and Medal Award Rolls he entered the Balkans Theatre of War on 16/6/15 (A E Davies' Medal card) and 24/5/15 on the Service Medal Roll. I also have a copy of his will 8/5/15. What might this indicate as I am trying to trace his service history prior to being sent overseas.

Paul Nixon said...


Bear in mind that the information I have published does not cover all number series for all battalions and so it's likely that he belonged to another battalion other than those I've covered on this blog. If you'd like me to research him further please see the RESEARCH tab on this blog.


Martin Deamer said...

Hi Paul,

This is fascinating stuff indeed. i am researching some family Military History, and with times moving on, I am the oldest surviving Male, so no-one to ask! My Greandfather was 2nd Londoin Regiment, 233499, do you records indicate an enlistment date? Many thanks for your work, it is brilliant.

Regards, Martin.

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Martin, thank you for your comments. No, there is no surviving record that would give you the date when he enlisted. However, it would be possible to work out when he joined the 2nd London Rgeiment, possibly when he proceeeded overseas, and when he transferred to the Bedfordshire Regiment. It may also be possible to determine the battalion of the Beds Regt that he served with - or at least second guess it. Drop me a line if you would like me to research this for you: paulcanixon@yahoo.co.uk

Stephen carlier said...

Hi Martin Dreamer, my G/Father Was 233861 who was in the 2nd London Reg, he was captured in France in April 1918 spending the rest of the war in power camp working in salt mines in Germany, when I first tried to find his military details I was told no as was destroyed in ww2 blitzed, however as when he was released he applied for a war disability pension his docs or a copy of was sent to the army pensions depth, and that's where my sons many years later found a copy of all his military service records, it's worth a try for anyone out there looking records relating to those that served during the period of hostilities front Aug 14 to Nov 18,Regards..

Martin Deamer said...

Thank you for your replies, I apologise for not getting back earlier, I saved this page in my bookmarks, and I was just reading through again, and saw your replies. I have found him in the National Archives, I knew that he was Beds and Herts (TF), so he obviously joined the Bedfords straight after the War, and he reamined in Territorial Service up and including WW2, obviously not deploying. I have his medals. Were the Medal Rolls destroyed in the Blitz too? WW1 era research is quite complicated, as Soldiers changed Pers No:s with transfer of Corps. He was 233499 (1/2nd Lond Regt) 51902 (Bedfordshire Regt) and 5943493 (Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regt) He was awarded the TFEM. Quite a coincidence, my last 3 was also 493!

Paul Nixon said...

Martin, no problem. The medal rolls are extant and you can view them on Ancestry.

Martin Deamer said...

Hi Paul,

I have just been browsing another soldiers records (BWM & Victory). I found on the next page, a space where my Grandfather 233499 Pte HL Deamer would have been, and can also work out, by the number sequencing, that originally, he would have been given the London Regt Army number 8040, although this doesn't appear on his MIC, only 233499, and his Bedfordshire Regt 51902 which is on his authority for BWM/VM, and at the end of the War.

Regards, Martin.

Paul Nixon said...

Satisfying when it slots into place isn't it, Martin? Thanks for posting.

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