29 July 2009

Queen's (Royal West Surrey) 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 Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment. The period covered in this post is July 1881 to July 1914.

The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment was formed on 1st July 1881 out of the old 2nd (The Queen's Royal) Regiment of Foot. What follows should be considered a snapshot of army service numbers and joining dates for Queen's regulars - one date and one number per year from 1881 until 1914. Service records for all of the numbers listed below, survive in WO 363 (Burnt Documents) and WO 364 (Pensions) in the National Archives and can also be viewed on-line via the Ancestry.co.uk website.

Findmypast has over 33,000 Queen's (Royal West Surrey) army service records. Click on the link to see the results. 

Here are the Queen's (Royal West Surrey) regimental numbers:

157 joined on 1st December 1881
283 joined on 27th February 1882
413 joined on 17th February 1883
940 joined on 5th July 1884
1266 joined on 22nd June 1885
1724 joined on 19th August 1886
1934 joined on 28th July 1887
2214 joined on 24th January 1888
2639 joined on 20th February 1889
2926 joined on 25th February 1890
3451 joined on 19th February 1891
3795 joined on 1st February 1892
4258 joined on 10th August 1893
4447 joined on 25th June 1894
4722 joined on 10th January 1895
4994 joined on 15th June 1896
5307 joined on 10th May 1897
5669 joined on 8th June 1898
6120 joined on 12th October 1899
6440 joined on 26th April 1900
6833 joined on 18th July 1901
7132 joined on 5th June 1902
7707 joined on 6th January 1903
8001 joined on 21st January 1904
8566 joined on 4th September 1905
8823 joined on 7th March 1906
9019 joined on 5th March 1907
9439 joined on 8th September 1908
9505 joined on 27th January 1909
9778 joined on 11th October 1910
9822 joined on 12th January 1911
10102 joined on 5th February 1912
10330 joined on 23rd January 1913
10641 joined on 27th July 1914

When Britain went to war with Germany a week later, the number series above was continued for men enlisting with the Queen's under regular enlistment terms of service. Recruits to the service battalions, joining up for war-time service only, were given numbers from a new series which began with the number 1 and was prefixed with the letter G/.

The L/ prefix - which appears to have been inconsistently used for regular enlistments up until August 1914, continued to be used (inconsistently) for men enlisting for regular service from August 1914.

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

From The Naval & Military Press:

History of The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment in the Great War

Despite the fact that the book gets off to the worst possible start by placing the brackets on the cover in the wrong place - it's Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment , not Queen's Royal (West Surrey) Regiment - this is good account of the regiment during the First World War. Click on the image above to read the Naval & Military Press blurb.


Trevor Purnell said...


Iam trying to trace a soldier of the Royal West Surreys who had the service number G/15126. His name is L/C John W Grice and he ended up in the Military Police in Egypt where he died in August 1918. Grateful for any info re his early service in surreys



Paul Nixon said...

Hello Trevor

G/15126 for The Queen's appears to date to March 1916 onwards. I can't be more precise than that I'm afraid (and my data is thin for this number series at this point in time).


Unknown said...

Hello I am looking for information on my Great Grandfather Frederick Wilson G/4908. I know he died before my Grandfather was born at the Battle of Loos 25th September 1915. I would like to know when he joined up and where and anything else you may know.
Many Thanks

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Ashleigh

His medal index card indicates that he was presumed dead on the opening day of the Battle of Loos, 25th September 1915. The card also notes that he arrived in France on the 29th June 1915.

Soldiers Died in The Great War and CWGC indicate that he died whilst serving with the 2nd Bn, Queen's Regt. This was a regular battalion, although his regimental number indicates that he enlisted for wartime service only (three years or duration) and that he joined the regiment in late February or early March 1915. It's likely, I think that he initially served with a service battalion and was subsequently posted to a regular battalion. One course of action might be to look at the war diary of the 2nd Battalion from 29th June 1915 to see if drafts into the battalion are recorded. War diaries are housed at Kew in London and many are now available online.

Jonathan Davies said...

I'm researching G/1029 Cpl V.Davis MM 1st Battalion Royal West Surrey who, from online diaries, was awarded the MM May 13th 1918 for operations S. of METEREN on 12th/14th April. Award listed London Gazette 29 August 1918. Any info, or pointers you can supply appreciated.

Paul Nixon said...

Jonathan, the number is G/2019 rather than 1029. Number dates to September 1914. Keep an eye out for Howard Williamson's book on the MM which is due to be published in 2016.


Unknown said...

Hi, I'm trying to research my grandfather Pte William John Strover who was in The Queens (Royal West Surrey) Regiment with a service number G/24782. Would like to find out the year of enlistment and which battalion he was in. There don't appear to be any surviving service records for him unfortunately. He lived in Cranbrook, Kent.

Unknown said...

Hi, I am trying to research my grandfather Pte William John Strover G/24782 who was in The Queens(Royal West Surrey) Regt. And would like to find out if possible which battalion he served in and when he signed up if possible. There do not appear to be any surviving service records for him unfortunately. Many thanks. Marion.

Paul Nixon said...

Marion, please follow the instructions on the Research tab if you would like me to pursue this. Many thanks.

supertramp said...

Hello Paul, I wonder if you could shine a light on a service number mystery I have for my great uncle Cornelius William Broadway. Although no Service record exists from the Soldiers died in the Great War records his service number with the 7th Queens was G/24513 but also it says formerly 12030 Royal Sussex Regiment. Are you able to supply any information as to dates or time periods when he enlisted/transferred. With thanks, Bob Broadway

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Bob, thanks for your comment. I can help but this is a chargeable service. Please follow the instructions on the Research tab if you would like me to pursue this. Many thanks.

Unknown said...

Hi Paul, I've just discovered your blog, fantastic stuff! I'm interested in the Queen's Regiment, particularly in the 11th battalion. I see your research only covers the regular battalions. Do you have any details of the numbering for the 11th Queen's, or the other service battalions?

Paul Nixon said...

Thank you, Simon. The numbers for the service battalions were not battalion specific, but it would be possible to work out when they were issued.

Unknown said...

Hi Paul, thanks for getting back to me. I'm assuming you don't have any details of the numbers used for any of the service battalions?


Paul Nixon said...

I do have various numbers in my database, Simon but they are mostly non-battalion specific. Have you checked the medal rolls as these may give the battalion/s?

Unknown said...

Hi Paul, yes the medal rolls will be my last resort once I have exhausted all other possibilities. Just deciding which way to access them. Was thinking Ancestry would be the best option.

Many thanks for your help and time.

Paul Nixon said...

Aside from going to the National Archives, Ancestry is the only way to access these, Simon.

Unknown said...

Hi Paul, in the article it suggests all the service records, that correspond with the service number range, have survived.
My G.Grandfather was CQMS Thomas William Tipper M.M - he joined 1st Batt in 1905 which corresponds nicely with his service number which is L/8585. I cannot locate his record at all - did they survive as the article suggests or are they infact destroyed?. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. Tganks, Chris

Paul Nixon said...

No Chris, not all records survive. Those that do survive have been published by Findmypast and Ancestry. Ancestry also has the medal index cards and medal rolls.

Les Holmans said...

Hello Paul
Would you have a rough date for the commencement of service number G/24802. My Grandfather William Frederick Henry Holmans joined the East Kent (Buffs) 7th Battalion in 1915 with service number 3080 but was transferred to the Queens (Royal West Surrey) 2nd Battalion at some stage according to the Medal Rolls for 1915 and Victory. His service records did not survive. His marriage certificate on 1 August 1918 mentioned that he was in the 10th Battalion Queens (RWS) at that time.

Paul Nixon said...

Early October 1917, Les.

Les Holmans said...

Thanks Paul for your assistance. Les

Asthmatic said...

Hello. I'm looking for any info I can find regarding my grandfather, William Stevens who served in the 2nd battalion, Royal West Surrey Regiment. His Service number was G/10795 - which from what I've found out so far means he went over sometime from the beginning of 1916. I just recently found him listed in the medical records (via the Forces War website) as having a shrapnel wound to the elbow in April 1917. That appears to be at no.11 Casualty Clearing Station and states being moved 'To No.3 Temporary Ambulance Train' - the record also lists his unit as 7th division, has his service number listed as 10795 without the G/ at the beginning. The record also lists his 'Years Service' as being 2 years - which puts it back to 1915, and 'Months with Field Service' as 1 year. Up until this exciting find I only ever knew about his going across in 1916. My father knows very little about him unfortunately, but does seem to think he heard once that he may have been in India - but to be perfectly honest we really have no idea if thats correct.

I would love to know anything else you may be able to help with, even if it's just which month of 1916 he went over. I apologize in advance if my message is too long and perhaps not in the right place.

Thank you,
Darrell Stevens.

Paul Nixon said...

Sorry for the late response, Darrell. Please drop me a line and I'll send you a quote for research: paulcanixon@yahoo.co.uk

Grab a book bargain - 1000s of titles