13 May 2009

The Royal Sussex Regiment - 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion

The 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment was formed in 1908. Men who had previously served with the battalion’s natural predecessor, the 3rd Militia Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment, were allowed to retain their militia numbers when re-enlisting with the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion.

The 3rd Militia Battalion had reached 9999 by 1907 and then started re-numbering from 1 that same year. Consequently, when looking at enlistments into the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion in 1908 it is quite common to see men with numbers in the 9000s (and lower). They’re all old militiamen who re-enlisted with the 3rd Special Reserve.

The lowest number on my database for the 3rd Special Reserve Battalion is 9579 which was originally issued in September 1906. A cursory glance at medal index cards for this battalion however, reveals numbers a good deal lower than this. 7768 Henry Dine for instance, would have originally joined the 3rd Militia Battalion in May 1898.

For the 3rd Royal Sussex Regiment though, I’ll start the army service numbers sequence in June 1908 with new recruits to the battalion who had no prior militia service.

319 joined on 9th June 1908
670 joined on 7th January 1909
1043 joined on 15th March 1910
1358 joined on 25th April 1911
1640 joined on 17th April 1912
1858 joined on 8th February 1913
2149 joined on 11th June 1914
2190 joined on 7th August 1914

It is common to see the prefix LSR/ or L/SR/ on these numbers issued to Special Reservists of the Royal Sussex Regiment. My data for these men ends in late August 1914 at LSR/2300 but numbering certainly extended into the 2400s and the numbering story for this battalion does not end here.

In August 1914, a second army service number series for General Service Special Reserve recruits was set up, these numbers prefixed with GSSR/.

4 joined on 13th August 1914
224 joined on 1st September 1914
704 joined on 1st October 1914
921 joined on 6th November 1914

My data for this number series ends at GSSR/931 and I believe that both the series, and recruitment directly into the Special Reserve, were abandoned at around the same time.

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Bea said...

My Grandfather was Captain John Watts born Chichester....he was at the Caterham Army Barracks 1910.
I dont know what happened to him.
Would he have been a member of The Royal Sussex Regiment?
Any information would be helpful.
email: beatriceday@netspace.net.au

Anonymous said...

My Grandfather John Watts was born Chichester...he was stationed in Caterham in 1910....would he be a member of The Royal Susses Regiment?
Any information would be helpful.
email: beatriceday@netspace.net.au

Paul Nixon said...

Probably in a Guards Regt if he was at Caterham. Do you have any other information? Date of birth etc? What is your source of information for knowing he was at Caterham in 1910?

Jim Hastings said...

Good morning Paul, hope you are well? Thank you for your help with Royal Sussex men in the past, I'd just appreciate it if you could confirm something for me please. I am researching the relative of a fellow teacher, and her GGF was a Special Reservist with the Royal Sussex. I have found him with the number S/9957 and LSR/9957 (I know both prefixes were interchangeable), but if I read the information correctly with a 9957 number he would have initially been in the 3rd Militia Battalion, joining in late 1906, before the Haldane Reforms brought in the Special Reserve in 1908. Is this right? His name was James Martin, a Brighton man killed at 1st Ypres in November 1914. Appreciate your guidance, Jim

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Jim

Sorry for the delay, I have been away at a genealogy show. Yes, you're correct on all counts. I'm not sure when the number dates to precisely but it will be late 1896 or early 1897. The man would have signed on again as a Special Reservist but carrying his militia number forward.

Best wishes

Jim Hastings said...

Thank you so much Paul, so would his time with the Militia have counted towards his service, or would a six year term of service started again when he went into the Special Reserve? Thank you so much for your time and expertise. At 42 years of age James Martin nearly missed going to war I think - as I understand it Special Reservists could extend their service by 4 years after their first 6, but only to the age of 40. Had the war not been declared he would have been required to have left the SR in late 1914 early 1915 (if I understand the system right). Thank again


Paul Nixon said...

I have seen plenty of attestations where men simply committed to the outstanding time left from their militia service but many also signed on for the full six years. There's no real way of telling.

I would need to check the SR regs for terms of service and I may have posted those on here previously.


Jim Hastings said...

Thank you Paul, some things, after 100 years, will remain a mystery to us. I appreciate your help, this has been a very enlightening, interesting and rewarding 2nd Royal Sussex man to research. Very best wishes


Anonymous said...

Hi, My relative was Alfred Greenaway (Private SD/2692 13th Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment. 39th Division. Killed in action on the Rue de Bois 30. 6.16. Aged 24. )

I am trying to find out when he joined up? any help much appreciated

Paul Nixon said...

I've posted quite a bit on the South Down battalions. If you type in South Down in the search box top left you will see previous posts. Nov/Dec 1914 would be my guess without digging into this in detail.

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