1 September 2008

9th (County of London) Bn, The London Regiment (Queen Victoria's Rifles)

This battalion had its origins in the Victoria and St George's (1st Middlesex) Volunteer Rifle Corps and the St Giles and St George’s (Bloomsbury) 19th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps. It's headquarters was at 56 Davis Street, Berkeley Square.

The photo above dates to around 1905 and shows two Bloomsburys (seated) and, behind them, left to right, a private in the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment, and a Grenadier Guard. My thanks to Andy Spiller for sending me this photograph of his four great uncles.

Also read the transcript of my interview with Leslie Andrew Hase, a 9th Londons veteran whom I met in 1988: World War 1 Veterans: 2120 Pte Leslie Andrew Hase, Queen Victoria's Rifles.

Here are some army service numbers and enlistment / joining dates for Queen Victoria's Rifles:

511 joined on 15th June 1908
569 joined on 11th January 1909
1131 joined on 27th January 1910
1265 joined on 26th January 1911
1410 joined on 5th February 1912
1554 joined on 11th February 1913
1724 joined on 23rd April 1914
1888 joined on 6th August 1914
2604 joined on 1st September 1914
3580 joined on 12th November 1914
3865 joined on 7th December 1914
4085 joined on 12th February 1915
4165 joined on 8th March 1915
4345 joined on 5th April 1915
4647 joined on 4th May 1915
5000 joined on 5th June 1915
5302 joined on 28th July 1915
5611 joined on 15th November 1915
5951 joined on 27th March 1916
6109 joined on 20th May 1916
6233 joined on 10th June 1916
6320 joined on 22nd July 1916
6458 joined on 3rd August 1916
6877 joined on 4th September 1916
6942 joined on 17th October 1916
8215 joined on 8th November 1916
8523 joined on 24th December 1916
8353 joined on 6th January 1917

When the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917, Queen Victoria's Rifles re-numbered within the block 390001 to 420000. Here are some army service numbers and joining dates from the six figure number series:

390054 originally joined on 18th June 1912
390079 originally joined on 27th February 1913
390155 originally joined on 28th May 1914
390181 originally joined on 5th August 1914
390508 originally joined on 1st September 1914
390853 originally joined on 6th November 1914
391250 originally joined on 19th January 1915
391304 originally joined on 10th February 1915
391508 originally joined on 5th April 1915
391705 originally joined on 15th May 1915
391824 originally joined on 1st June 1915
392141 originally joined on 23rd October 1915
392730 originally joined on 2nd August 1916
393122 originally joined on 4th September 1916
393428 originally joined on 27th October 1916
394099 originally joined on 24th November 1916
394516 joined on 8th March 1917
394676 joined on 18th April 1917
394802 joined on 17th August 1917
395021 joined on 20th December 1917
395150 joined on 14th January 1918

Service records and medal index cards for all of the numbers listed above survive at the National Archives in Kew, London and are also available on line via the Ancestry website. Click here for a FREE 14 day trial.


"Unusually," (so says the Naval & Military Press blurb), "this history of the QVRs (as they became known), covers the period from the earliest days up to the Great War in an appendix (185 pages) at the end of the book. According to tradition they were the descendants of The Duke of Cumberland’s Corps of Sharpshooters which was inaugurated in September 1803. In 1859 it became the 1st Middlesex Rifle Volunteers and in 1892 and after a couple of mergers with other Middlesex Rifle Corps it became in 1908, when the TF was created, the 9th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles), allocated to the 3rd London Brigade, 1st London Division.

"Shortly after the outbreak of war in August 1914 a second line battalion was formed and in April 1915 a third line, thus we had 1/9th, 2/9th and 3/9th Battalions. The 1st London Division was broken up to provide reinforcements for the BEF and on 5th November 1914 the 1/4th landed at Havre and joined 13th Brigade, 5th Division. The battalion fought with the 5th Division throughout 1915, at Hill 60, Second Ypres and St Julien. It was at Hill 60 that it gained the distinction of the first VC awarded to a Territorial - 2nd Lieutenant G.H Woolley. Today, there is a memorial to the battalion on Hill 60.

"In February 1916 the 1st London Division was reformed in France as the 56th Division and the QVRs rejoined it in 169th Brigade. It fought with this division on the Somme, Arras, Third Ypres and Cambrai till transferring to the 58th Division in February 1918 where it joined with the 2/9th to become the 9th Battalion. The 2/9th came to France with 58th Division in Feb 1917 and fought at Bullecourt and Third Ypres before amalgamating with the 1/4th. The 9th Battalion remained with the 58th Division and took part in the 1918 battles till the armistice. The 3/9th Battalion did not leave the UK but provided drafts for the other two battalions.

"This is a good history with plenty of detail and with many names, which is a very good thing for such histories. It covers each battalion in turn - 1/9th, 2/9th, the amalgamated 9th and finally 3/9th. There is the Roll of Honour and a list of Honours and Awards, including Mentions in Despatches."

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

Also 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)
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

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)


Dan Howells said...

Thanks for a great service, it has been very helpful tracking the dates that my Great Uncle was attested and later transferred.

I have one question. I now have an idea of a date within a 3 month period but is there any way to find a more accurate date. I believe his records have been burnt.

His service numbers are:
1819 - 25th London Regiment (Cyclists)
7058 (renumbered to 393275)- 9th London Regiment (QVR).

Any help or info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again for a great resource.

Paul Nixon said...

Dan, thanks for your message and apologies for the delay in responding to your query.

1819 for the 25th Londons dates to around November 1914. 7058 looks to be around October 1916. I'll do some more digging and see if I can find any service records close to your Great Uncle's 9th Londons numbers but from my information, the numbering gets a little more chaotic around this time with, what appears to be, drafts of men from other London Regiment battalions transferring into the 25th. Leave it with me and I'll post additional information if I can turn up something helpful.

Paul Nixon

Lars Ahlkvist said...

Hi, I have come across number 7703, Harry Smith, who is listed as died at Leuze Wood on 9/9/16 with the 9th. If I read your information on service numbers correct, this number could indicate a later enlistment? He was earlier 5040 in the 20th.
Kind regards,

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Lars

5040 for the 20th Londons dates to the first week of March 1916. 7703 looks to belong to a block of numbers which would have been issued in France, but I can't tell you the precise date. I would imagine though, that he was transferred almost immediately on arrival overseas the sequence being something like, 20th Loindons - France - Infantry Base Depot - 9th Londons. I wouldn't imagine he would have been overseas very long before he was killed. If I find out any information about numbers in this block, I'll post it here.

Thanks for visiting.

Phil said...

I'm trying to track my Grandfather Charles Edward Colmer. I can't find his service record. A medal card for him gives the following:
9th London Regiment, regimental numbers 4843, 391746.
From the great information you provided, that should mean he signed up between 15th May and 1st June 1915. What would be the best way to try to establish where he fought. I know he was gassed at sometime.

Paul Nixon said...


I can narrow it down a little more for you. 4846 (later 391749) joined on the 24th May 1915 but did not go overseas until March 1917.

Your best bet would to check the war diaries for the 9th Londons, probably from October / November 1915 onwards, but you'll be exceptionally lucky to find him mentioned by name.

Anonymous said...

I am researching 4716 Cpl Jack Ernest Towlson 9th Bn London Regt. I can see from your excellent site that he enlisted sometime in May 1915, but is there anything else that you can tell me about him from the service number, please?
Thanks in advance

Paul Nixon said...

Jack Towlson's number indicates that he joined up between the 8th and the 12th May 1915. There's nothing else I can glean from he number I'm afraid.

Sarah Carson said...

I have 2 medals for Henry A Smith 1318 (the Victory Medal and a Territorial Efficiency Medal). I would dearly love to reunite these with living family members but I'm having trouble finding any info about him other than his WW! medal card. Nay ideas/thoughts/hints/suggestions would be fantastic!

Paul Nixon said...

Sarah, Henry Albert Smith was born in about 1886 (he was 33 years old in February 1919) and lived at 21 Fermoy Road, Maida Vale during the First World War. His mother was Mrs SA Smith. I would have thought the chances of reuniting the medals now will be remote, particularly given the common surname.

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