17 June 2009

Loyal North Lancashire Regiment - 1st & 2nd Battalions

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.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

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


Anonymous said...

Hi, I have a BWM & VM to 34704 Pte Edwin J Wells, this is his full medal entitlement, do you have any idea which battalion he belonged to please.
Many Thanks

Paul Nixon said...

Sorry for the late response on this. I have no idea I'm afraid. This number could have been issued to any of the service battalions or the regular battalions. You can rule out the 4th, 5th and 12th Battalions but that's about it. Maybe the medal roll will give you some information. Have you looked for a service record on Ancestry?

Anonymous said...

No problems always appreciate your thoughts & replies on this subject. MID states he also served in the Labour Corps, no service records for him I'm afraid, will have to get to the National Archive to see his Medal Roll to see if that helps.
Regards Mark

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul, Got to see the medal roll for Private Wells today & unfortunately it does not mention his battalion. This roll was under his second unit the Labour Corps (No.441102).Other than finding his full name is Edwin James Wells there was nothing else. It has been suggested to me he might have been in the 8th Bn ( no reason given though) I've looked through surviving service records on Ancestry .com & come up with a Pte John Lightfoot from Widnes No 34708- so only 4 away from my man & it was the 8th Bn he served in, the other one near Well's number was 34776 Pte James Medows in the 2nd Bn. What do you think? Possible 8th Bn ? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention, the 8th Bn was disbanded in Feb 1918 & the troops dispersed so maybe that's when he was transferred to the Labour Corps.

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for posting again, Mark. Difficult to say with any certainty, isn't it. The man would have been allocated his number at the regimental depot and then posted to whatever battalion needed him. So although 34708 went to the 8th Battalion that's no guarantee that 34704 would have gone to the same battalion. Their numbers indicate that they joined up at around the same time - possibly the same day - but after that their training programmes and paths to an active service might have been completely different. It's all going to be conjecture in the absence of some hard fact in the shape of surviving paperwork - either military documents or a mention in a newspaper or even an Absent Voters' List if one survives.


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul, Hope you are well. Still trying to narrow down my man Pte Wells without any success though. Tried the absent voters list for Preston & drew a blank though I suppose there's no certainty he even came from Lancashire. Is there any way of knowing even if roughly when his number would have been issued to give an idea of when he enlisted? Thanks

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Mark

From the information I have it looks as thought the number dates to early 1917. I could try and narrow this down further but please note that due to the volume of comments and requests on this blog and my other commitments, I no longer have the time to undertake research on a no-cost basis. Please have a look at the research tab on this blog for more information:

I would be happy to dig further but there would be a nominal fee associated with this.

Best wishes


David Wilson said...

My maternal Grandfather, Thomas Vincent Ryan, was a 12 year veteran of the Loyals (A Company 1st Battalion number 6530 ) who enlisted at Fulwood Barracks on 30 April 1901, age 15, as a drummer. His term expired 29 Apr 1913 but was transferred to the Reserve for 7 years. Called up, I think ,on the 24 Aug 1914 and was in France, (having landed at Le Havre) the next day. He was wounded and captured at Gheluvelt on 31st Oct and spent the remainder of the war as a POW. I have very little further information.

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for the imformation, David Please see here: http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.co.uk/p/research.html or click on the RESEARCH tab above.


Bob said...

Hello. I'm trying to find information on my great grandfather Robert llewellyn clairmonte keays

He was apparently a captain, born 1893. I don't know anything else about him.


Robert Keays, gold coast australia.

Paul Nixon said...

I can't see a service record for him but he should appear in army lists, London Gazette etc, and he has a medal index card and medal roll entries. Contact me via the research tab if you want me to research him for you.

Unknown said...

Hi Paul trying to find out what action PTE George Lennon 36230 was involved in from 1914 onwards

Paul Nixon said...

Re George Lennon, that regimental number is a much later issue than 1914, so presumably saw service with other units in the UK prior to joining the LNL.

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