16 March 2009

The Gloucestershire Regiment - 1st and 2nd Battalions

The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Gloucestershire were born on 1st July 1881 and were formed from the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot and the 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot, respectively. 

There are over 38,000 Gloucestershire Regiment pension and service records (for this regiment - and its antecedents) in various War Office series held at the National Archives. Clicking on the link will take you to the results on Findmypast but you will need a subscription or Pay-Per-View credits to actually view the records. Some of these records can also be viewed on-line on Ancestry although Findmypast has by far the most comprehensive service record collection.

Use the regimental numbers and dates on which these were issued, below, to determine parameters for when your own Gloucestershire Regiment ancestor would have joined up. Note though that these numbers are only for regular enlistments. Special Reserve and Territorial Force battalions operated completely separate regimental number sequences.

The regiment started numbering from 1 from 1st July July 1881. Here are some sample army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for regular soldiers enlisting with the Gloucestershire Regiment between July 1881 and August 1914.

39 joined on 17th October 1881
134 joined on 25th March 1882
572 joined on 7th July 1883
704 joined on 6th March 1884
1287 joined on 5th March 1885
1528 joined on 22nd June 1886
2093 joined on 21st March 1887
2391 joined on 28th August 1888
2599 joined on 5th March 1889
3050 joined on 15th November 1890
3098 joined on 23rd January 1891
3598 joined on 15th June 1892
3988 joined on 9th June 1893
4268 joined on 24th January 1894
4641 joined on 13th August 1895
4852 joined on 14th August 1896
5129 joined on 21st October 1897
5256 joined on 9th March 1898
5502 joined on 13th January 1899
5752 joined on 3rd January 1900
6088 joined on 11th January 1901
6415 joined on 23rd April 1902
6737 joined on 9th February 1903
7480 joined on 12th March 1904
8070 joined on 24th November 1905
8266 joined on 21st August 1906
8484 joined on 8th April 1907
8686 joined on 20th January 1908
9231 joined on 13th October 1909
9259 joined on 24th January 1910
9501 joined on 21st April 1911
9697 joined on 17th August 1912
9808 joined on 13th March 1913
9937 joined on 17th February 1914
10044 joined on 9th August 1914

Although I have no documentary evidence to support this, looking at number patterns for the newly formed Gloucestershire Regiment service battalions in August and September 1914, it appears that men joining these battalions were - for the most part - allocated numbers in the 101** range and above. Certainly, men joining up for regular terms of enlistment post August 1914 and into early 1915 were given numbers which continued in the 100** range. Thus 10070 joined on 5th October 1914, 10090 on 25th November 1914 and 10094 on 1st December 1914.

The theory is not foolproof. 10027 Albert Elliott (a Boer War veteran with the 5th Warwickshire Militia Battalion) joined up for three years with the colours on 10th August 1914 and there are undoubtedly others too who confound my attempted logic above.

Search British Army WW1 Records HERE!

Also see my other posts on the Gloucestershire Regiment:

3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment

4th (Territorial Force) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment
5th (Territorial Force) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment
6th (Territorial Force) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment

The Service Battalions, The Gloucestershire Regiment

View Gloucestershire Regiment service records, pension records and medal index cards on-line.

The Naval and Military Press has re-published this work and has this to say about it:

"As the subtitle states these are the records of the 1st (28th Foot), 2nd (61st Foot)), 3rd (Special Reserve) and 4th, 5th and 6th (First-Line T.A.) Battalions, in other words this is the history of the battalions of the regiment which existed prior to the outbreak of war. The one appendix lists the twenty-four battalions that existed during the war, indicating the theatre of war in which they served and in which division. Eight of these battalions did not serve overseas, and of the rest only one (7th Service Battalion) did not serve on the Western Front, it went with 13th Division to Gallipoli, Mesopotamia and Persia. Total losses amounted to 8,100, 72 battle honours were awarded and in the appendix is shown which honours were awarded to which battalion.

"In August 1914 the 1st Battalion was stationed in Bordon, part of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Division, and was among the first British troops to disembark in Le Havre, on 13th August. The first quarter of this book is concerned with the doings of the 1st Battalion which saw action in the early battles of the war - Mons and the retreat, the Marne, the Aisne, First Ypres and Givenchy.

"The 2nd Battalion was in China when war broke out and came home to join the newly formed 81st Brigade, 27th Division which arrived in France in December 1914 and in November 1915 was transferred to Salonika, where it remained for the rest of the war. Three chapters of the book deal with the operations in that theatre of war.

"The three Territorial battalions were in the South Midland Division, later the 48th which crossed to France at the end of March 1915 and fought on theWestern front till November 1917, when it was sent to Italy where it remained till the armistice. The final chapter gives the account of operations in that theatre.

"The author, a well known military historian, was probably the most prolific among the writers of regimental and divisional histories, some thirteen in all, and this account reflects the skill of the writer in producing a very readable narrative, which draws on the Battalion Diary, on individual accounts of actions, some quite lengthy, and makes use of footnotes to give casualty details in addition to those contained in the text, various comments, and items of information from other sources to confirm or add to the main text. The maps are good. There is no Roll of Honour nor list of honours and awards."

Search British Army WW1 Records HERE!

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