8 January 2009

21st (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (First Surrey Rifles)

The 21st (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (First Surrey Rifles), had its origins in the 1st Surrey (South London) Volunteer Rifles Corps (or simply the 1st Surrey Rifles to those who served with it).

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for the 1st Surrey Rifles:

16 joined on 1st April 1908
425 joined on 8th February 1909
1088 joined on 10th January 1910
1211 joined on 24th March 1911
1350 joined on 30th September 1912
1385 joined on 1st February 1913
1550 joined on 30th January 1914
1677 joined on 6th August 1914
2417 joined on 1st September 1914
3211 joined on 1oth November 1914
3246 joined on 29th December 1914
3257 joined on 11th January 1915
3282 joined on 3rd February 1915
3352 joined on 22nd March 1915
3369 joined on 7th April 1915
3711 joined on 3rd May 1915
4131 joined on 3rd June 1915
4341 joined on 2nd July 1915
4407 joined on 2nd August 1915
4459 joined on 8th September 1915
4567 joined on 11th October 1915
4629 joined on 2nd November 1915
4765 joined on 14th December 1915
4796 joined on 28th January 1916
4837 joined on 22nd February 1916
4905 joined on 1st March 1916
5066 joined on 1st April 1916
5488 joined on 2nd June 1916
6333 joined on 7th July 1916
6848 joined on 31st August 1916
7052 joined on 7th October 1916
7229 joined on 5th November 1916
8463 joined on 5th January 1917

There are anomalies in sequential numbering in this battalion so care should be taken when trying to determine joining dates solely from the information above. For instance, 8007 joined on 4th September 1916 and was later renumbered 654280. 8007 does not fit into the sequence above and the 654*** belongs to May 1917.

When the Territorial Force renumbered in 1917, the 21st Londons did so within the range 650001 to 680000.

The photo on this post is that of 6883 Rifleman Zachariah Patmore who was killed in action on 23rd January 1917. The photograph is taken from the excellent WW1 Cemeteries website. Rifleman Patmore's number indicates that he joined the 21st London Regiment on the 31st August 1916 (and he was possibly transferred to this battalion from the East Surrey Regiment, soon after arriving overseas). His medal index card also shows the number 653350 which is the new number he would have been issued with when the TF was re-numbered in early 1917.

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This from the Naval & Military Press website:

"The 21st Battalion, London Regiment, was a pre-war Territorial battalion in the 6th London Brigade, 2nd London Division, based at Camberwell. In 1915 the brigade was numbered 142nd and the division 47th. As with other TF battalions a second line battalion (2/21st) was raised soon after the outbreak of war and allocated to the newly formed 2/6th London Brigade, 2/2nd London Division - subsequently numbered 181st Brigade, 60th Division.

The 1/21st went to France in May 1915 and fought on the Western Front in the same brigade and division till February 1918 when, following the reorganisation of the BEF from four to three-battalion brigades, it was transferred to 140th Brigade, still in 47th Division, and soldiered on to the armistice.

"The 2/21st went to France in June 1916 and in November that year its division (60th) was sent to Salonika and fought in that theatre till June 1917 when it was transferred to Palestine. In June 1918 the battalion was disbanded and personnel were posted to other battalions of the division. In all 26 Battle Honours were awarded, reflecting service in three theatres of war, and the total dead numbered 58 officers and 988 other ranks.

"The book is divided in two parts, one for each battalion and at the end there is a consolidated list of honours and awards, including MiD and foreign awards, and a combined Roll of Honour with officers and other ranks shown separately, the latter extracted from Soldiers Died, and there is an index."

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)
20th (County of London) Battalion (Blackheath & Woolwich)
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...

Interesting blog but what about the six digit numbers for these London battalions, do you intend to publish samples from this series as well?

Paul Nixon said...

Yes, in due course, but first let's get the old series of numbers out of the way. Thanks for visiting, and commenting.

Anonymous said...

Recently came across my great Uncle's 'signing up' papers (no. 5125, 4th April 1916 - we believed) online, so was interesting to get confirmation of the date from your blog.

Paul Nixon said...

Very good, glad the theory works; thanks for taking the trouble to leave some feedback.

Anonymous said...

I’ve found a Great War medal for a Pte A J Herbert 21 London Regt - any recommendations to where I could return it to for display or find family ?

Paul Nixon said...

Do the usual searches on Ancestry/Findmypast for medal rolls, service record etc. Then exapnd your search to look at census, electoral rolls etc. The odds are against you.

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