8 January 2009

20th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Blackheath and Woolwich)

The 20th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Blackheath & Woolwich), had its origins in the 3rd Royal West Kent Volunteer Rifles Corps.

Here are some sample numbers and joining dates for the 20th Londons. This battalion also recruited men to supernumerary companies attached to the 20th Battalion, however I have not included these supernumerary numbers in the following list.

79 joined on 6th April 1908
699 joined on 1st June 1909
890 joined on 26th April 1910
999 joined on 30th May 1911
1075 joined on 25th February 1912
1286 joined on 8th April 1913
1566 joined on 28th April 1914
1645 joined on 7th August 1914
2250 joined on 2nd September 1914
3065 joined on 30th October 1914
3078 joined on 9th November 1914
3136 joined on 21st December 1914
3144 joined on 1st January 1915
3247 joined on 24th March 1915
3290 joined on 5th April 1915
3774 joined on 10th May 1915
4002 joined on 3rd Jun 1915
4305 joined on 20th Jul 1915
4456 joined on 17th August 1915
4497 joined on 29th September 1915
4534 joined on 25th October 1915
4592 joined on 11th November 1915
4831 joined on 12th December 1915
4847 joined on 3rd January 1916
4872 joined on 8th February 1916
5023 joined on 2nd March 1916
5267 joined on 4th April 1916
5642 joined on 20th May 1916
5821 joined on 1st June 1916
6515 joined on 29th July 1916
6815 joined on 15th August 1916
8006 joined on 21st December 1916

When the Territorial Force renumbered in 1917, the 20th Londons did so within the range 630001 to 650000. These six digit numbers start appearing on men's service records and medal index cards in January 1917.

William J Butters was a typical 20th London TF recruit who joined the battalion in 1913. You can read his story on my Chailey 1914-1918 website.

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SECOND TWENTIETH: Being the History of the 2/20th Battalion London Regiment in England, France, Salonica, Egypt, Palestine, Germany

This from the Naval & Military Press:

"The 2/20th Battalion was formed on 3 September 1914 and was allocated to the 180th Brigade of the 60th (2/2nd London) Division with which it served till May 1918. The division went to France in June 1916 and served five months on the Western Front before being transferred to Salonika until June 1917 when it was again moved, this time to Palestine with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. In May 1918 the battalion left the 60th Division in Palestine and returned to France, where it was attached briefly (three weeks) to 66th Division before being transferred to 185th Brigade, 62nd (2/West Riding) Division with which it saw out the war and with which it marched into Germany, the only Territorial division to be part of the Occupation Force.

"The 2/20th Bn’s war service in three different theatres makes this a specially interesting history, culminating as it does with the occupation of the Rhineland. This is an example of an excellent battalion history, intended primarily as a souvenir, an aid to memory for all who served in the battalion, a battalion fortunate enough to keep the same CO throughout the whole of its active service from arrival in France to demob in July 1919.

"The author has provided a comprehensive account of the battalion’s experiences, full of incident and one in which, bearing in mind his primary consideration, he has named many officers, NCOs and men as the story unfolds, an aspect most welcome to family historians, genealogists and medallists. There is a Roll of Honour for each theatre with names of the dead listed chronologically in each, regardless of rank. Total casualties amounted to 49 officers and 1313 other ranks of whom 18 and 331 were dead. Only six members of the battalion were taken prisoner. Appendices give the list of Honours and Awards; the nominal roll of officers who embarked with the battalion in June 1916 and what became of them; the nominal roll of WOs and sergeants who embarked in June 1916 including those started out at a lower rank but subsequently became sergeants - and what became of them; a list of the officers who joined the battalion overseas with date of joining and leaving (if they did) and why they left; and a similar list for WOs and sergeants. A final appendix describes the presentation of a King’s Colour to the battalion by HRH Prince Albert (later George VI) in April 1920, arranged to coincide with the unveiling of the war memorial."

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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

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)
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)


Anonymous said...

My Grand father Herbert William Shipley served in the 2nd (S/No 636094 6/4/18-7/4/18!), 20th (S/No 279153 8/4/18-30/8/18) and finally 3rd London (same S/No) during 1918. I've found his service records but he was wounded during this time and I'm trying to trace, not only exactly which unit he was in but when he was shrapnelled. Any clues where I might tack this down?

Paul Nixon said...

If you have his basic details of service and where he served and with whom, your next course of action should be to download the relevant war diaries from The National Archives here: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/war-diaries-ww1.htm

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