21 October 2008

15th (County of London) Bn, The London Regiment (Civil Service Rifles)

The 15th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Civil Service Rifles), had its origins in the 12th Middlesex (Civil Service) Volunteer Rifles Corps. Its headquarters was at Somerset House, Westminster. Pictured above are officers from the 2/15th London Regiment. This photograph originally appeared on page 41 of part 44 of the Illustrated War News, 5th June 1915. Click on the images above for readable versions. I've also added more 2/15th Londons photographs on a separate post. Clicking the link in the previous sentence will take you there.
The data below comes from service records in the WO 363 and WO 364 series at the National Archives. These records can also be viewed on-line via Ancestry which is offering a FREE 14 day trial.

The good news for you if you have a relative who served in the 15th Londons is that, relatively speaking, the WO363 series is 'awash' with Civil Service Riflemen. I've looked at thousands and thousands of records and in my opinion, the 15th Londons are well represented and appear to have fared rather better than some other regiments.

Anyway, here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for the 15th Londons:

473 joined on 2nd April 1908
1068 joined on 24th March 1909
1185 joined on 23rd February 1910
1286 joined on 22nd February 1911
1387 joined on 19th February 1912
1536 joined on 27th January 1913
1760 joined on 19th January 1914
1983 joined on 4th August 1914
2465 joined on 1st September 1914
3138 joined on 7th October 1914
3179 joined on 7th December 1914
3227 joined on 4th January 1915
3287 joined on 5th February 1915
3349 joined on 4th March 1915
3447 joined on 6th April 1915
3632 joined on 3rd May 1915
3922 joined on 7th June 1915
4247 joined on 13th July 1915
4344 joined on 4th August 1915
4414 joined on 6th September 1915
4481 joined on 6th October 1915
4584 joined on 8th November 1915
5080 joined on 6th December 1915
5515 joined on 24th January 1916
5721 joined on 1st February 1916
6019 joined on 1st March 1916
6445 joined on 5th April 1916
6607 joined on 1st May 1916
6885 joined on 31st July 1916
6904 joined on 4th August 1916
7297 joined on 11th September 1916
7462 joined on 4th October 1916
7681 joined on 17th November 1916
7742 joined on 4th December 1916
7786 joined on 8th January 1917

In January 1917, the 15th London Regiment commenced numbering with the new six figure Territorial Force numbers. It did so within the range 530001 - 550000.
Also see my post on six digit number anomalies in the 15th London Regiment.
Find your London Regiment ancestors today with a FREE 14 day trial to Ancestry.co.uk - Click here!


From the Naval & Military Press:

"This is a great history, one of the best of its kind. Just look at the wealth of information contained in the appendices: the nominal roll of all officers and other ranks who served 1914-1919, identifying those who died (1,227); list of officers of 1/15th who embarked for France in March 1915; casualty details in tabular form showing separately monthly figures for the first line and second line battalions and those attached to other units and distinguishing between killed in action, died of wounds, missing presumed dead, died of illness and died as PoW; list of decorations and awards; staff list showing all COs, adjutants and RSMs from 1860 to 1920 ; list of those who served in the S African War; annual strength states from 1860 to 1914 and even an appendix on the Regimental Plate with photo and identification of the various trophies. This is the heart of a regiment.

"The narrative is as good and informative as the appendices and is arranged in three parts, each by a different member of the Regiment. The first part traces in considerable detail the pre-1914 history from the early days of 1859 to the eve of war by which time the title had become “the 15th (County of London) Battalion the London Regiment. The second part is concerned with the first line battalion, 1/15th, which landed in France on 17th March 1915 with the 4th London Brigade, 2nd London Division (in May these became 140th Brigade 47th Division). It was at Festubert, in May, that the battalion first became acquainted with the realities of war, even though the men were employed throughout in holding the line.

"The story is based not only on the War Diary but also on the Regimental Diary which contained all the “personal gossip” in the unit as well as accounts of tours in the line. The latter was discontinued early in 1918 but the CO decided that to make up for this the War Diary should contain every item of interest to the battalion, not just operational matters. The 2/15th was formed in September 1914 and assigned to 179th Brigade 60th Division and went to France in June 1916; the list of officers, WOs and CQMS’s embarking is given. After four months in the line north of Arras the division was shipped out to the Macedonian theatre, arriving at Salonika in December 1916. Six months later the division moved again, this time to Palestine to join Allenby’s EEF. After a year’s campaigning in Palestine the battalion was one of seven taken from the division and sent back to France where the situation was critical in the wake of the German offensive."

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 Battalions9th (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)
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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