This post will look at army service numbers and the dates on which they were issued to men joining the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment between 1881 and April 1914.
In July 1881 when the regiment was formed as part of the Childers Reforms, the 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot became the 1st Battalion and the 81st (Loyal Lincoln Volunteers) Regiment of Foot became the 2nd Battalion.
There are over 44,000 Loyal North Lancashire 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 Loyal North Lancashire 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.
What follows is a snapshot of army service numbers and corresponding joining dates for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. There are sequential anomalies in the data which I'll point out as appropriate.
16 joined on 21st September 1881
482 joined on 26th July 1882
778 joined on 21st June 1883
874 joined on 25th June 1884
1245 joined on 16th July 1885
1574 joined on 26th May 1886
1969 joined on 15th January 1887
2571 joined on 5th September 1888
3064 joined on 20th November 1889
3131 joined on 25th January 1890
3343 joined on 25th January 1891
3671 joined on 23rd April 1892
3869 joined on 4th January 1893
4351 joined on March 1st 1894
Apart from other numbers which fall neatly into the sequence so far, I have three other numbers on my database for this year, which do not. 3915 joined on 17th April, 3919 joined on 22nd June and 3924 joined on 24th September. In the meantime, 4531 had joined on 16th August.
3915 was a serving member of the 3rd Militia Battalion and it's possible that 3915 is his militia number. At least, I can think of no other explanation for the anomaly. Numbers 3919 and 3924 were both boys aged 14. Papers for all three men survive in WO 363 and WO 364, as do records for all the numbers listed here. View these at the National Archives in London or on-line via the Ancestry website. A FREE 14 day trial is currently being offered by Ancestry.
4833 joined on 27th May 1895
5014 joined on 4th January 1896
5502 joined on 6th April 1897
5754 joined on 15th March 1898
6085 joined on 6th June 1899
6316 joined on 15th June 1900
6521 joined on 18th April 1901
6717 joined on 28th January 1902
7037 joined on 6th January 1903
7757 joined on 13th January 1904
8356 joined on 28th March 1905
8515 joined on 12th February 1906
8215 Thomas Beardsworth also joined in 1906, on 9th March. This is another anomaly which I can't explain. Sequential logic would suggest that his number belongs to early 1905 rather than spring 1906. His attestation papers state that he was a serving member of the 3rd Militia Battalion and its possible, as it is also possible with 3915 above, that 8215 is his militia number. It shouldn't be of course; both men should have been given a new number from the regular series on enlisting with the 1st or 2nd Battalion.
8926 joined on 2nd July 1907
9353 joined on 9th June 1908
9863 joined on 15th July 1909
9904 joined on 26th January 1910
10114 joined on 6th January 1911
10312 joined on 14th March 1912
10502 joined on 9th January 1913
10752 joined on 1st April 1914
When Britain went to war with Germany four months later, numbering in the regular battalions was in the low 10800s and the new service battalions, when they began forming, used the same number series that had been in use by the regulars. But that's the subject of another post.
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Further reading from The Naval & Military Press:
The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment 1914-1919
During the First World War, the Loyal North Lancs served in virtually every theatre of war and this book tells the story of them all.
The 1st Battalion took part in the defence of Ypres at Langemarck and Gheluvelt in 1914, fought at the battles of Neuve Chapelle and Aubers RIdge in 1915; the Somme in 1916; and the battles of Arras and Passchendaele in 1917. In 1918 it helped to break the HIndenburg Line.
The 2nd Battalion was sent to East Africa and took part in the disastrous attack on Tanga and the subsequent frustrating campaign against the guerilla leader General Von Lettow-Vorbeck. Towards the end of the war, the battalion served in Egypt, Palestine and on the Western Front.
The book is fully illustrated with maps and photos, and with appendices covering awards, uniforms, colours and honours.
The Story of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division