26 August 2008

3rd (City of London) Bn, The London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)

This battalion had its origins in the 3rd Volunteer Battalion Royal Fusiliers.

Army Service Numbers and enlistment dates for the 3rd London Regiment as follows:

162 joined on 26th May 1908
639 joined on 18th May 1909
900 joined on 2nd June 1910
959 joined on 12th January 1911
1079 joined on 9th January 1912
1446 joined on 4th February 1913
1947 joined on 3rd May 1914
2114 joined on 4th September 1914
3058 joined on 28th October 1914
3097 joined on 30th November 1914
3148 joined on 18th December 1914
3408 joined on 18th January 1915
3669 joined on 10th February 1915
3883 joined on 9th March 1915
4104 joined on 29th April 1915
4229 joined on 27th May 1915
4350 joined on 2nd June 1915
4781 joined on 7th July 1915
4917 joined on 2nd August 1915
5008 joined on 30th September 1915
5047 joined on 20th October 1915
5107 joined on 10th November 1915
5174 joined on 15th December 1915
5339 joined on 25th January 1916
5628 joined on 25th February 1916
5697 joined on 22nd March 1916
6235 joined on 1st April 1916
6656 joined on 10th May 1916
6725 joined on 16th August 1916
8030 joined 2nd November 1916
8185 joined 10th January 1917

When the battalion re-numbered in 1917, it did so using numbers within the block 250001 to 280000. Here are some sample numbers and joining dates for the six digit series (original numbers, where known, in brackets):

250011 originally joined on 1st April 1908 (and was almost certainly a 3rd VB RF man)
250036 originally joined on 8th June 1909
250044 originally joined on 8th February 1910
250124 originally joined on 14th March 1912 (1208)
250227 originally joined on 11th March 1913 (1508)
250356 originally joined on 6th January 1914 (1831)
250457 originally joined on 22nd August 1914
250646 originally joined on 4th September 1914 (2377)
250967 originally joined on 16th October 1914
250998 originally joined on 30th November 1914 (3097)
251849 originally joined on 14th June 1915 (4577)
251969 originally joined on 9th July 1915 (4785)
252056 originally joined on 15th August 1915 (4935)
252169 originally joined on 10th November 1915 (5107)
252355 originally joined on 25th January 1916 (5339)
253636 originally joined on 8th January 1917 (8177)

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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 post on the 23rd London Regiment.

My thanks to Tony Ring in New Zealand for supplying the photograph on this post.

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

City of London Battalions

1st (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers)
2nd (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)

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for your informative info but can you please clarify if the 25000 series numbers for the 3rd City of London Regiment were allocated more-or-less at random or if they were the result of adding 25 to the front of the old number? E.g. did private 253731 (for example) join between 10 Feb and 9 March 1915? DaveL

Paul Nixon said...


It wasn't always the case, but certainly as far as the 3rd Londons were concerned, the new six digit numbers were issued in order of seniority. So number 250001 would have been issued to whoever was still serving and had the lowest original number. 250002 would have been issued to the next lowest original number and so on.

New six digit numbers were also issued to men who were missing in action but not confirmed dead. So it's quite common to see men killed in 1916 (or earlier) who still have a six digit number.

The number you quote - 253731 - dates to 1917, although at the moment I can't be more precise than, "later than Jan 1917 but earlier than Nov 1917."

Keep popping back because I will be updating the London battalions with the six digit numbers.

Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Paul Nixon said...

Incidentally, number 3731 would have been issued towards the end of February 1915. Number 3728 was issued on 24th Feb 1915, so 3731 would have been issued either the same day or very shortly afterwards.

Anonymous said...

I have compiled a relatively detailed database of the 3rd London Regiment, still ongoing and currently about 6,000 names. The 6-fig number mentioned (253731 James Morris)joined 23rd or 24th January 1917, coming between 253708 Ronald Morrish (joined 23rd Jan 1917) and 253742 Reginald Argent (joined 24th Jan)
All the best,

Paul Nixon said...

Lidzy, thanks very much for this; another one for the database.


lukel1988 said...

Im confused, im currently trying to research private w a gayler (251716) who i beleive joined quite early as he served at loos and ypres. Any help would be great.

Paul Nixon said...

The number definitely dates to late May or early June 1915. I couldn't see a medal index card for a W A Gayler with that number. There is a 3138 William A Gayler of the 6th Londons who arrived overseas in August 1915 and was killed at Loos the following month, but he's the only London Regt Gayler with those initials.

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