19 February 2009

5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

This Territorial Force (TF) battalion was headquartered at Finnart Street, Greenock. The Annual TF Return for 1913, amended to February 1914 reveals that A, B, C, D, F & G Companies drew recruits from Greenock; E Company from Port Glasgow and H Company from Gourock. There was a drill station at Inverkip. (Source: The Territorial Force 1914 - Ray Westlake)

The 5th (Renfrewshire) Batttalion, Princess Louise's Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders was created in 1908 out of what had previously been the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. Close to 600 men from this battalion chose to join the new Territorial Force battalion (and were re-numbered from 1) and around 30 of these men were still on the battalion rolls when the Territorial Force was re-numbered nine years later in 1917.

Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for the 5th A&S Highlanders.

675 joined on 11th June 1908
795 joined on 23rd March 1909
1033 joined on 14th March 1910
1136 joined on 15th February 1911
1287 joined on 26th January 1912
1476 joined on 17th February 1913
1812 joined on 26th May 1914
1846 joined on 6th August 1914
2107 joined on 3rd September 1914
2392 joined on 21st October 1914
2423 joined on 3rd November 1914
2483 joined on 12th January 1915
2528 joined on 3rd February 1915
2578 joined on 6th March 1915
2643 joined on 27th April 1915
2677 joined on 13th May 1915
2703 joined on 1st June 1915
2836 joined on 5th July 1915
2941 joined on 4th August 1915
2999 joined on 12th October 1915
3135 joined on 2nd November 1915
3213 joined on 21st January 1916
3643 joined on 30th March 1916
3777 joined on 1st June 1916
3854 joined on 4th July 1916
4158 joined on 8th November 1916

Also see my posts regarding army service numbers issued to men in the following Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders battalions:

1st & 2nd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders 1881-1914
3rd (Special Reserve) & 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion A&S Highlanders
6th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
9th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (TF)
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders service battalions 1914-1917

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


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.

Search for 5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders' service records, pension records and medal index cards on Ancestry.co.uk - Click here!


Between 24th April 1915 and 25th August 1918, the 1/5th A&S Highlanders formed part of the 157th Brigade in the 52nd (Lowland) Division. The Naval & Military Press has re-printed the divisional history and I quote directly from their review below:

The Lowland Division was a pre-war Territorial division which, in May 1915, was numbered 52nd with brigades 155th, 156th and 157th. In the same month the division embarked for service in Gallipoli. The fighting on Gallipoli is described in detail as is the evacuation, and from time to time tables of casualties are given . During the Gallipoli campaign the division lost by battle casualties at least seventy percent of its officers and over fifty percent of its other ranks.

The second part of the book deals with the two and a half years the division spent in the Middle East, in Sinai and Palestine. In the summer of 1916 the advance into the Sinai desert began, to Romani to El Arish and from there into Palestine where, under Allenby, the division fought in all three battles of Gaza and in operations through to the end of 1917. In April 1918 the 52nd Division was transferred to the Western Front, taking over a sector of the front at Vimy. During the remaining months of the war the division was in action on the Somme, the Scarpe, the Drocourt-Queant line, the Canal du Nord, ending the war not far from Mons.

This is a very full record of the 52nd Division’s part in the Great War with plenty of general interest in addition to active operations, from small patrols to major attacks, acts of bravery and initiative. There is a comprehensive 25-page index but no roll of honour or list of honours and awards and although there are numerous casualty lists in the text there is no final total.

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