23 July 2009

Northamptonshire Regiment - 1st & 2nd Battalions

This post will look at army service numbers and the dates on which these were issued to men joining the regular (1st and 2nd) Battalions of the Northamptonshire Regiment between 1882 and July 1914.

The Northamptonshire Regiment was formed in July 1881 out of the old 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot (which became the 1st Battalion), and the 58th (Rutlandshire) Regiment of Foot (which became the 2nd Battalion).

There are over 35,000 Northamptonshire 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 Northamptonshire 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.

150 joined on 4th April 1882
580 joined on 14th August 1883
932 joined on 1st June 1884
1314 joined on 24th May 1885
1660 joined on 1st May 1886
1952 joined on 5th June 1887
2132 joined on 19th January 1888
2415 joined on 9th March 1889
2631 joined on 23rd January 1890
3059 joined on 5th April 1891
3676 joined on 11th January 1892
3976 joined on 19th July 1893
4309 joined on 5th April 1894
4524 joined on 10th January 1895
4842 joined on 23rd March 1896
5228 joined on 7th August 1897
5370 joined on 6th January 1898
5902 joined on 10th August 1899
6053 joined on 2nd January 1900
6313 joined on 28th January 1901
6556 joined on 24th March 1902
6828 joined on 7th January 1903
7504 joined on 8th August 1904
7759 joined on 7th September 1905
7971 joined on 21st April 1906
833o joined on 1st January 1907
8672 joined on 6th February 1908
8927 joined on 21st January 1909
9084 joined on 5th January 1910
9279 joined on 11th January 1911
9478 joined on 1st April 1912
9615 joined on 1st January 1913
9906 joined on 3rd July 1914

One month and one day later, Britain went to war with Germany, and when new Northamptonshire Regiment service battalions started forming shortly afterwards, they continued with the same number series above.

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Northamptonshire Regiment titles fromThe Naval & Military Press

The Northamptonshire Regiment 1914-1918

This history is almost entirely taken up with the two regular battalions on the Western front, though there is a chapter on the 4th (TF) Battalion which fought at Gallipoli and in Palestine, and there are a few pages on the 5th, 6th and 7th (Service) Battalions, all three of which were also in France and Flanders. Of the six VCs awarded, four were won by the 6th Battalion, including an officer from the Bedfords and one from the ASC attached to the battalion, though in the latter case that is not made clear.

Fifty-eight battle honours were awarded and the book is dedicated to the six thousand and forty soldiers of all ranks who gave their lives. The 1st Battalion was among the first to go overseas, arriving in France on 13th August 1914 with 2nd Brigade, 1st Division. The first three chapters are devoted to the battalion and its actions at Mons, the retreat, the Marne, the Aisne and First Ypres. The 2nd Battalion was in Egypt when war broke out, came home and joined the newly formed 24th Brigade of the 8th Division, arriving in France in November 1914. Both battalions remained in the same brigades throughout the war, though for a period of nine months (October 1915-July 1916) the brigade was exchanged with the 70th Brigade of the 23rd Division.

The narrative contains plenty of descriptive detail about the fighting with officers casualties named and individuals acts of gallantry recorded. Appendices list the battle honours gained by the regiment and also the Honours and Awards, less the foreign ones. There is a good index. CLICK HERE TO ORDER.

Northamptonshire & The Great War 1914-1918

A thorough and well-illustrated account of the efforts of Northamptonshire Regiment servicemen during the Great War. The regiment was amongst the first in France with the BEF in 1914, taking part in the retreat from Mons and the first battle of Ypres. 1915 was a year of disasters with the Northamptons taking heavy casualties in the catastrophic attacks at Aubers Ridge and Loos and enduring what the book calls ‘a dreadful winter in the trenches’. Meanwhile the regiment’s reserve battalions were serving in the Middle East where they helped to drive the Turks from the Holy Land.

The Northamptons served on the Somme at Trones Wood and Thiepval, where they lost their Colonel; but took part in the final breaking of the HIndenburg Line in 1918. The book has additional chapters on the county’s Victoria Cross winners. CLICK HERE TO ORDER.


Unknown said...

Blenco John Frederick 1895 Kettering Corporal 16426
Death Date: 9 May 1915
Death Location: France & Flanders
Enlistment Location: Rushden, Northants
Rank: Private
Regiment: Northamptonshire Regiment
Battalion: 2nd Battalion
Entered France 22 Apr 1915

Victory, British and Star

Can you please give me an enlistment date and any thing else that might be identified about his battalion unit


Paul Nixon said...

November 1914 for this man, Roger.

Graham said...


I found your site during my research of family history, and this is a bit of a shot in the dark but here goes...
I'm hoping to find out a bit more about my Grandad, and wonder if you could help as you appear to have extensive knowledge on this type of thing.

Let me start with what I know.

Name: Thomas Abbott
Rank: Private
Army Number: 77082
Corps: Given on discharge certificate as Royal Defence Corps - 63rd Protection Company
Born: Northampton 1898
Occupation: Noted as Shoe/Boot trade
Discharge date: August 21st 1918
Reason for discharge: Para 892 Kings Reg - No longer physically fit for War Service

I have a WO discharge paper on which a rubber stamp mark is only partially visible, it says "...antry records office" I assume this is 'Infantry'
I also believe he received a small war office pension, but so far have no evidence of this.

I am really struggling to find out more about this corps, as far as I can make out these troops were only used for domestic guarding duties in the UK

and were not intended to be used on active service, could it be that after recovering from his wounds he was transferred into this regiment thus out

of active service? because I know for a fact he served in the trenches in France, possibly at the battle of Ypres.
He was shot in the chest and crawled back across 1/2 a mile of no-mans land to British lines, he survived, but lost a lung.

I don't know where or when he signed up for the army (or if he was drafted) but my best guess is he would have joined or been placed in the

Northamptonshire Regiment, as he was born and lived in the county with no connections anywhere else.

Sadly I was a young boy when he died and all of his immediate family are now deceased except his daughter, my aunt, who is not able to recollect

any details of his military service, probably because he never talked about what he had seen and done as it used to make him cry.

I understand a great many service records were destroyed during WW2 bombing raids, but if you can shed any light on anything with the resources

you have I would be most grateful for any snippets you can turn up.

Thankyou for your time.

Paul Nixon said...


Sorry for the delay in responding - family holidays and all that.

The medal index card for your grandad also notes 204449 Middlesex Regt which in turn suggests 7th Battalion Middx Regt. He was also awarded a silver war badge and the roll for this award notes that he enlisted on the 19th February 1917. Both the medal index acrd and the silver war badge roll can be accessed on the Ancestry site. You could also check the war diary for the 7th Middx (held at National Archives). He's unlikely to be mentioned by name but you will get an idea of where the battalion was in action.

Hope this helps


Unknown said...

Dear Colleagues
Grateful for advice. I am trying to locate the unit my great-grandfather (JOHN REUBEN BOBIN) served in during WWI. From what i have pieced together from the burnt records his regimental number was 46170 and I understand he transferred from the Royal West Surreys (based in Putney)on 15/05/1917 into the Northants. I suspect he spent the rest of the war in the service/home battalions but i cannot find which one or where. I believe he was on home service as he had no record of a medal being awarded.
Grateful for advice.
Barry Martin

Paul Nixon said...


I have looked at his papers and he was originally 49322 Queen's (RWS Regt), later 46170 Northants, as you say. It also looks as though he might have spent some time with the Labour Corps as "Lab Co" appears in the regimental column on the final page of his very badly deteriorated document. I have no idea which battalion/s he served with, I'm afraid.


Anonymous said...

Can someone point me in the right direction:

I have come across a trench art dog tag made from a silver Turkish or Egyptian coin.

to a:
2Lt D G C Giffard
Northampton Regt

Does anyone know what unit he was in?
Thanks in Advance Jase
email: jkmcronin@hotmail.com

Paul Nixon said...

I couldn't see anything obvious on medal index cards. The CE is Church of England and you have the name and regiment so try looking for service records for this name/regiment combination at The National Archives in London - or hire a researcher to help you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul, I have just come across your website and wondered if you can help me.

I have found the WW1 medals record cards for my great grandfather, but no other information, his service number was 16762 badge number B/256882. All it says is Northamptonshire regiment, do you know how I could go about finding out which battalion he was in so I can find out more about what they did during the war?

Any guidance would be greatly received.

Many Thanks

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Caroline

The badge number is a reference to the silver war badge and the entry on the roll for this number notes 16762 Pte Thomas Sidney Sharp, enlisted 17th Dec 1914, discharged 14 Dec 1918 King's Regulations Para 392 xxva, Para 2a. Para 392 xxv is for "service no longer required" and 2a suggests that this was applied to men serving "at home and abroad". There is no indication of the battalion though and I could not see that a service or pension record survives. The Northamptonshire Regt raised three service battalions (the 5th, 6th and 7th) and an 8th (Reserve) Battalion during the war and all of these battalions had been raised by the time your great grandfather joined the army. The number is not specific to a particular battalion and so I'm afraid he could have served with any of those battalions or indeed been sent as a draft to the 1st or 2nd (regular) Battalions. You can rule out service (when he joined) with the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, or the 4th (Territorial Force) Battalion, but that's about it I'm afraid. Try local newspapers to see if there is a mention of him. If there is a reference to medals you could try chercking the medal rolls (I couldn't find a card that mentioned medal entitlement, just the one for the silver war badge) and if that is the case, that suggests that he did not serve overseas (although family anecdotes may suggest otherwise).


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul, thank you so much for this information, I couldn't find a pension or service record either. All I could find was the silver award badge. I will have a look in the local museum at the newspapers maybe next weekend. I was told that he suffered from being gassed during the war. So assumed he was fighting overseas. He died in 1935. We have a photograph of him on a horse in his uniform somewhere I must look for it maybe this would shed some light.

Thank you again for your help.
Kind Regards

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul
We have recently come across a great uncle on a roll of honour.
We know that his name was Fred Scotney Northamptonshire Regiment
19430; Labour Corps 600228; enlisted 13 7 16
he was born April 1900 and did Nov 1978.
If you can point us in the right direction about his service record I would be grateful

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Paul

Assuming one survives you'd need to check on findmypast or ancestry or go to The National Archives where you can view the records free of charge. If a record does not survive then you'll be looking at other sources. Please note the research service that I offer should you need it: http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.co.uk/p/research.html


Colin said...

My Great Grandads medal card has him down as being in the Northamptonshire Rgt and the Labour Corps his service number for the Northants is 33164. On his discharge certificate it also has him down for the Royal West Surrey Rgt but I think that would be his reserve rgt as he lived in Brighton so why was he in the Northhants. Family talk has him at Ypres, any info would help.

Paul Nixon said...

Colin, regret I am unable to give you an answer now as I would need to research this. Please see the RESEARCH tab at the top of this page for how this works.


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

I'm researching my grandfather Leonard Charles FARMER.

His medal roll gives his service number as 3/9942 Special Reserve, Northants Regt. I assume that this means that he was called up from the 3rd Battalion to serve in the 2nd.

He was captured on 27 May 1918 at Craonne, Aisne during the German Spring Offensive. I have his medal roll card (and medal roll), but unfortunately his service record is not one of those that survived.

I recently discovered his POW record at the IRC site and it indicates that he was sent to Czersk in East Prussia (now Poland).

The service number sequence above is for the 1st & 2nd Battalions, but if they hold for him, it would suggest that he enlisted shortly after 3 July 1914.

I'm not sure when he would have been mobilised.

Any info appreciated. Thanks


Name: Leonard Charles FARMER
Rank: Private
Army Number: 3/9942
Regiment 2nd Northants (Special Reserve)
Born: Northampton 12 Apr 1886
Discharge date: 27 May 1919

Paul Nixon said...

Peter, don't be misled by the Special Reserve number which belongs to a different number series from that used by the regular battalions. In fact this number series was originally used by the 3rd Militia Battalion and the Special Reserve just continued with it when the militia died a death in 1908. Your man's number probably dates to late 1913 or early 1914.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul,

I thought that may be the case, but your site did not have any information about the Special Reserves. I haven't been able to find much online about them or how the reserves were mobilised into 1 & 2 Battalion. Any pointers that you can suggest?



Paul Nixon said...

Peter, I haven't published the number sequence for this battalion. Essentially though the SR acted as a pool to supply drafts to the regular battalions in time of war. There is no identifiable logic that I have seen to the manner in which men from the SR were drafted for overseas' duty albeit recruits to the SR were supposed to undergo six months' training in the UK prior to being sent overseas.


David Ingleby said...

Paul - I am researching William Bowers of 1st Northamptonshire killed on 31 October 1914.

Service number on CWGC site is 3/6736.

I assume the 6736 indicates a joining date of 1902 but does the prefix 3/ have any relevance.

The family thought he served in the Boer War, and he cannot be found on the 1901 census. Did the Northamptonshire serve in S Africa?


Paul Nixon said...

3/6736 indicates service with the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion but his number was a carry-over from the time when this battalion was the 3rd (Militia) battalion. This man is on my database. He originally joined in 1902 and he has a record in WO 363 which you can access via Findmypast or Ancestry.


Unknown said...

Hi Paul
My parents uncovered a large mounted photograph of the Northamptonshire regiment 2nd battalion generals inspection in Aldershot 1899. I wondered if you could advise where best to take this to. If you could recommend any dealers/collectors. It really is quite beautiful with the artwork surrounding it.

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for your comment, Nichola. Can you drop me a line to paulcanixon@yahoo.co.uk please.

Dominic Rumsey said...

Trying to track Charles Edward Rumsey 1St Northants in ww1. Born 1886. At mont St eloi. Don't know army number.

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for your comment, Dominic. I can help you with this man. Please drop me a line to paulcanixon@yahoo.co.uk.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul, i am trying to find out if there are pictures for the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire reg, my great great uncle was Corporal Edward Adams Bennett 7981, he died on the 23/10/1914, he was born in Oundle but moved to Barnwell, i am trying to buy the medals he was awarded but i dont no where to start.. Can you be of any help please, my email is angie2710@hotmail.co.uk.. Thank you Angela Cokk

Paul Nixon said...

Angela, I'd suggest your best starting place would be the Great war Forum. Have a look and consider joining and posting: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/

Unknown said...

I am researching my Great Grandfather George Thomas Goymer. According to his Marriage Certificate of 1917 he was listed as a Private in the 15th Essex Regt but the only record I can find under that name has him in the Northants Regt, no. 41354. I see that some of the Northants Regts were based in Colchester and Bury St Edmunds for time (both within 15 miles of his home town) and I am wondering if he transferred to any of those? Any assistance would be gratefully received.

Paul Nixon said...

Nick, it's quite possible. To prove your theory, find service records for Northants men with numbers close to 41354 and see if any patterns emerge.

Brenda Hicks said...

Hi, I am going to St Omer Souvenir cemetery next Saturday to visit the grave of our great uncle John Cutt, Private 47825, 1st Northamptonshire regiment, who died on 11th April 1918. We know that he was shot on 10th April and was taken to hospital where he died the following day. What we were trying to find out is what battle he was shot in, we are assuming Battle of Estaines at Cambrin, but we also want to know what hospital he may have been taken to. We were wondering if it was the hospital in St Omer as that is where he is buried. We would be grateful for any information.

Paul Nixon said...

Brenda, have a look at the battalion war diary, £3.50 from The National Archives; this will tell you what the battalion was doing on the day he died:


He died at the 7th General Hospital at St Omer (source: Army Register of soldiers' effects).

Unknown said...

Hi, my grandad is wearing a Northamptonshire badge on his hat in portrait but I always thought he was in the Buffs.
Would it be possible they merged?
He was in ww2

Paul Nixon said...

No, the regiments didn't merge. He could have served in both battalions. Try searching for jiom on my British Army Ancestors website here: https://britisharmyancestors.co.uk/

Anonymous said...

Hello, ive been doing research into our village war dead. Charles Thompson 19702 died 25/02/1919. A village document and Findmypast states that he was at first with the 2nd Northhamps, service number 8987. Looking at your site, i gather he joined up in 1909 as a regular. Thanks Lee

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