23 March 2009

The Bedfordshire Regiment - 3rd & 4th Battalions

The 3rd (Special Reserve) and the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment were the natural heirs of the 3rd and 4th Bedfordshire Militia Battalions and men transferring from the Bedfordshire Militia to the newly formed Bedfordshire Special and Extra Reserve Battalions in 1908, retained their old numbers.

Men attested with the Special Reserve on Army Form B.59: ARMY RESERVE (SPECIAL RESERVISTS) and they did so for six years' service. Question 11. of the attestation form asked:

"Have you ever served in the Army, the Marines, the Reserve Forces, the Territorial Force, the Militia, the Militia Reserve, The Imperial Yeomanry, or the Royal Navy. If so, state which and cause of discharge."

An asterisk against the question pointed towards a further note:

"If so, the Recruit is to be asked the particulars of his former service, and to produce, if possible, his Parchment Certificate of Discharge and Certificate of Character which should be returned to him conspicuously endorsed in red ink as follows: Name, Re-enlisted in the (Regiment), on the (Date)."

Men joining the Special Reserve or Extra Reserve straight from the Militia fell into none of the eight categories outlined in question 11. and so it is usual in their cases to see the answer given as, "No, except for the Militia in which I am still serving" or words along those lines.

Here are some Army Service numbers and corresponding joining dates for men attesting with the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment:

The 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment

4305 joined on 21st June 1908

As I mentioned earlier, men joining the 3rd & 4th Battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment from the old Bedfordshire Militia battalions retained their old Militia numbers. Neither the 3rd nor the 4th Battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment started numbering from 1 in 1908. Number 4305 was a 3rd Militia Battalion man who had originally been issued his number when he joined the Militia in September 1901. Certainly by the time the Militia ceased to exist, both the 3rd and the 4th Bedfordshire Militia battalions were numbering in the 5900s and possibly higher (although I don't currently have the data to prove that).

6086 joined on 30th June 1908 (no prior Militia service)
6170 joined on 5th January 1909
6518 joined on 25th April 1910
6835 joined on 8th August 1911
6994 joined on 29th January 1912
7258 joined on 11th February 1913
7486 joined on 6th July 1914
7511 joined on 8th August 1914
7932 joined on 10th September 1914
8608 joined on 2nd October 1914
8756 joined on 2nd November 1914

My data for the 3rd Battalion currently ends at this point.

4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment

6092 joined on 2nd November 1908
6141 joined on 20th January 1909
6267 joined on 17th January 1910
6602 joined on 30th December 1911
6694 joined on 28th August 1912
6772 joined on 4th January 1913
6908 joined on 8th January 1914
7101 joined on 7th August 1914
7326 joined on 5th September 1914

My data for the 4th Battalion currently ends at this point.

Although I've not included prefixes in the numbers above, it was usual to prefix 3rd battalion numbers with a 3/ and 4th Battalion numbers with a 4/; usual but by no means universal.

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Martin said...

Do you have any info on other Battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment?

Specifically which Battalion 33782 would have been in? Join date of 5 June 1914.

Paul Nixon said...

Martin, numbers in the 337** range date to Jan/Feb 1917 and all the ones I have on my database are men who were posted from the 5th Bedfordshire (TF) Battalion into Beds Regt service battalions.

So I'd guess that your man probably joined the 5th TF Battalion in June 1914 (when numbers would have been in the 368* range) and was then posted to a service battalion much later in the war and probably when he was already overeseas.

Unknown said...

Paul, I have a William Blencoe enlistment recorded on medal card and SWB list as 29 Sept 1914 medal card gives Regt # 47248

SWB listing
Name: William Blencoe
Discharge Unit: Bedford Regt.
Regiment Number: 47248
Rank: Private
Badge Number: B63856
Unit: Infantry (Warley)
Piece: 3107
List Number: K 0801/2-1030/1
Record Group: WO
Record Class: 329

Would the Warley be the Military hospital in essex do you think?

First time used your blog and it was very useful!


Paul Nixon said...

Hello Roger

The SWB roll gives his enlistment date as 29th September 1914. However, the Bedfordshire Regt dates to much later in the war; 1917 at least. The Warley reference simply refers to No 2 Infantry Record Office which was located at Warley. So this man enlisted with A N Other Regiment in September 1914, later transferring to the Beds Regt. He was 25 years old when discharged on the 7th December 1918.

Glad you like the blog!


Paul Nixon said...

Roger - meant to say "Bedfordshire Regt NUMBER dates to much later..." etc

Unknown said...

I have a relative whose number is 861 at the time of the Boer War in the 4th Bedford Regiment. Would that mean he was in another Regiment before that? On his notes it says he was transferred on 1st Sept 1902 to the "9th Prov: Battn" any idea what that was? Thanks in advance. Denise

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Denise

I'm really not sure. He was a col-sgt with the 4th (Militia) Bn, Beds Regt and so one assumes he'd seen quite a bit of service prior to this. Not sure what the 9th Provisional Battalion relates to but could be Imperial Yeomanry. Try posting the same query on The Victorian Wars Forum.


Tony Briggs said...

My Grandfather, Edmund Frederick Hudson, joined the 4th Bedfordshire on 15 February 1909. His number was 6162.

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks Tony, that fits.


Unknown said...

my great grand father john Jarvis from luton enlisted in the 5th beds battalion on the 10.9.1914 and was discharged on the 23.12.1914. having served for 10 years with the 3rd batt. beds militia. he later served with the royal defence corps around 1916 trying to fill in the gaps any ideas his regimental no. was3855. many thanks.

Paul Nixon said...

Re John Jarvis, this would be a research project. Please see my RESEARCH tab.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul
I don't know if this is classed as research, but it's puzzling me and I wonder if it's easy for you to help.
I have the service record for an ancestor of mine by the name of Ballantyne Beautymine Blake (crazy name). He enlisted in 1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regt on 23/08/1916 with Regimental Number 9082 and joined his unit in the field on 07/01/1917.
In February and early March his casualty form shows that he was suffering from Myalgia, but that he returned on 08/03/1917. However, he was given a new regimental number 269159.
I believe that in 1917, 1st Battalion Herts was renumbered BUT.....my problem is that his medal card ascribes this number to the Bedfordshire Regiment.
So I don't know if he returned to Herts or to Beds. He was killed on 31/07/17 on the first day of 3 Ypres during the attack on Pilckem Ridge, but this doesn't help me because 1 Herts and 2 Beds both took part in that attack.
I'm hoping that that this will have a simple explanation

Yours sincerely

Paul Campbell

Paul Nixon said...

Paul Campbell, thanks for your comment. The number 269159 belongs to the series used by the Herts Regt. The Soldiers' Effects Register also notes Herts Regt.

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