2 July 2009

King's Shropshire Light Infantry - 1st & 2nd Battalions

The King's Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI) was formed in July 1881. The old 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot became the 1st Battalion and what had been the 85th (King's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot became the 2nd Battalion.

This post will look at army service numbers issued to men joining the regular battalions of the KSLI between the regiment's formation in 1881 and the outbreak of war in August 1914. As with all my other posts on army service numbers, what follows should be considered a snapshot of numbering in the Shropshire Light Infantry; a series of break points published here to help researchers determine when their own KSLI relative joined the regiment.

I've compiled the list below as a result of looking at service records in the WO 363 and WO 364 series (and the majority of these records are in WO 364). These are held at the National Archives on microfilm and are now also available via the Ancestry website. Ancestry is also currently offering a FREE 14 day trial.

In fact, there are over 27,000 King's Shropshire Light Infantry service and pension 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 Shropshire Light Infantry 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.

35 joined on 25th July 1881
496 joined on 15th May 1882
1098 joined on 3rd July 1883
1203 joined on 3rd January 1884
1613 joined on 16th June 1885
1940 joined on 19th March 1886
2215 joined on 11th March 1887
2758 joined on 1st March 1888
2982 joined on 4th February 1889
3158 joined on 4th January 1890
3413 joined on 25th February 1891
3703 joined on 9th June 1892
3999 joined on 27th January 1893
4264 joined on 5th March 1894
4753 joined on 5th January 1895
5001 joined on 18th January 1896
5204 joined on 11th February 1897
5523 joined on 3rd January 1898
5894 joined on 4th January 1899
6288 joined on 1st March 1900
6653 joined on 27th May 1901
7026 joined on 22nd July 1902
7175 joined on 2nd January 1903
7598 joined on 11th January 1904
7944 joined on 18th May 1905
8084 joined on 30th January 1906
8409 joined on 18th February 1907
8732 joined on 1st January 1908
9091 joined on 29th January 1909
9375 joined on 19th February 1910
9615 joined on 24th January 1911
9908 joined on 22nd March 1912
10167 joined on 8th January 1913

I don't have any data for the first half of 1914 but by August 6th, George Middleton who joined up for 7 & 5 with the regiment, was given the number 10480. The newly forming service battalions too (5th - 9th Battalions) would also allocate numbers from the same series that had originally been used by the regular battalions.

I've borrowed the photograph on this post from the excellent Roll of Honour website, and more accurately, that part of the site which deals with memorials and rolls of honour in Shrosphire. The image shows KSLI Territorial Force soldiers (4th Battalion) outside their billets in 1914.

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

Literature from The Naval & Military Press

Click on the book covers for more information.

The 85th King's Light Infantry
In 1881, the 8th Regiment of Foot became the 2nd Battalion, The King's Shropshire Light Infantry. This volume deals with the 85th from its incarnation in 1759 until its demise in 1881. Includes many fine illustrations including 11 colour plates illustrating the evolution of regimental uniforms; five appendices listing officers of the regiment; and many maps, drawings and sketches.

History of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry in The Great War 1914-1918
"On the outbreak of war in 1914 the regiment consisted of four battalions: the 1st (Ireland), 2nd (India), the 3rd and the 4th (Territorial) were in Shrewsbury. During the course of the war the establishment of the regiment was raised to thirteen battalions, eight of them (1st, 2nd, 1/4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th) went on active service while the remainder furnished drafts and took part in home defence. Fifty-two battle honours and one VC were awarded; 4,710 died."


AHJ said...

Paul, I recently picked up a medal to a 10275 Pte A.E. Cole, 1st Btn KSLI. His service record doesn't seem to have survived but his entry on the Silver War Badge roll gives his date of enlistment as 28 July 1913. I did wonder when first I saw it whether that was a typo for -14 but actually based on your number sequence above it looks quite probable. Wouls you agree?

Paul Nixon said...

Yep, that looks spot on.

AHJ said...

Thanks Paul, good to have that validation! And thank you also for all your effort in maintaining this blog; it really is an amazing resource.

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks, AHJ; appreciate your feedback. Paul.

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