7 May 2009

Gloucestershire Regiment - service battalions

This post will look at army service numbers in the Gloucestershire Regiment service battalions from 1914 until the end of 1915.

Numbering in these battalions is not at all straightforward and often, not at all sequential. It would appear, that when Britain went to war, initially at least, the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Gloucestershire Regiment drew numbers from a separate block. Thus 10044 issued on 9th August 1914, 10051 on 24th, 10060 on 25th, 10070 on 5th October 1914, 10090 on 25th November 1914, 10094 on 1st December 1914 and 10125 on 8th January 1915. In fact it would be tempting to suggest that all numbers beginning 100** went to regular enlistments. Tempting, but incorrect because 10027 was issued to a war-time enlistment on 10th August.

In any event, to the best of my ability, here's an approximation of numbers issued to men serving in the service battalions (and in the regular battalions as well from March 1915 and possibly earlier).

I should say at the outset that the range of numbers between these dates is approximately 16,000 and I have only looked at a relatively small sample of these; probably no more than 500 records or less than five per cent. The information below comes from service records held in the WO 363 and WO 364 series. To that extent it's accurate but, as the data I have is incomplete, it should be regarded at best, as a rough guide.

100** to 116** issued August 1914
117** to 120** issued August and September 1914
121** to 150** issued September 1914
151** issued October 1914
152** issued August and September 1914
153** to 155** issued November 1914
156** to 157** No data
158** issued October 1914
159** to 160** No data
161** issued September and December 1914
162** to 163** issued December 1914
164** issued August and December 1914
165** to 166** issued December 1914
167** issued March and April 1915
168** to 170** No data
171** issued November 1914
172** to 173** issued December 1914
174** issued August 1914
175** issued January 1915
176** No data
177* issued January 1915
178** issued March 1915
179** to 180** No data
181** issued January & February 1915
182** to 186** issued February 1915
187** to 188** issued March 1915
189** to 190** issued January 1915
191** to 195** issued March 1915
196** issued March and April 1915
197** issued March 1915
198** issued May 1915
199** issued June 1915
200** issued April 1915
201** issued May 1915
202** issued June 1915
203** to 205** issued April 1915
206** to 214** issued May 1915 (except 210** and 213** issued May and June)
215** to 217** No data
218** issued July and August 1915
219** issued August 1915
220** to 221** No data
222** issued February 1916
223** to 224** No data
225** issued June 1915
226** to 228** issued in September, October and November 1915
229** to 232** issued June 1915
233** issued July 1915
234** numbers in this range appear in July and November 1915
235** numbers in this range appear in July and November 1915 and January 1916
236** issued July 1915
237** to 238** issued in August 1915
239** issued August & September 1915
240** issued September & October 1915
241** issued October 1915
242** issued August 1915
243** to 244** issued August & September 1915
245** issued September 1915
246** issued October 1915
247** numbers in this range appear in September, October and November 1915 and January 1916
248** issued October & November 1915
249** issued November 1915
250** issued January 1916
251** issued January 1916 and November 1915
252** to 255** issued November 1915
256** issued November and December 1915
257** to 259** No data
260** issued November and December 1915
261** to 262** issued January 1916

In conclusion, whilst sequential army service number patterns certainly appear for at least some months, and overall there is an evident sequential progression ending at 262** in January 1916; it would be unwise to date with certainty a man's number without further study of either other numbers in the same immediate range, or the original medal rolls held at the National Archives.

Also see my other posts on the Gloucestershire Regiment:

1st and 2nd (Regular) Battalions, 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

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

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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 the Western 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."


Ivor Beale said...

I have the medal record for Thomas S Beale which shows the following:

Corps. Rank Regtl. No.

Glouc. R. (not clear) #38154
Lab. b #514147

I would be pleased if you would comment on the numbers as they do not seem to fall within the sequences shown in your blog.

Thank you

Ivor Beale

Paul Nixon said...


Glouc R Pte 38154
Lab Co[rps] 514147

The Glous Regt number looks to date to between Oct 1917 and Mar 1918. Not sure about the Labour Corps.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the information. I cannot comment about the soldier...he may be my Grandfather. I have no other information.

Ivor Beale

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