This post will look at army service numbers issued to men joining the regular battalions of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry between the regiment's formation in July 1881 and August 1914. The regiment was formed out of the old 32nd Regiment of Foot and the 46th (South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot.
There are over 23,000 Duke of Cornwall's 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. Findmypast has by far the most comprehensive British Army service record collection.
Use the regimental numbers and dates on which these were issued, below, to determine parameters for when your own Duke of Cornwall's 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 18th July 1881
415 joined on 15th July 1882
1100 joined on 5th June 1883
1236 joined on 8th April 1884
1559 joined on 6th January 1885
1943 joined on 8th January 1886
2495 joined on 26th January 1888
2854 joined on 20th January 1889
3199 joined on 4th October 1890
3282 joined on 9th February 1891
3634 joined on 2nd January 1892
4012 joined on 31st January 1893
4356 joined on 24th January 1894
4822 joined on 18th June 1895
4995 joined on 12th February 1896
5201 joined on 6th April 1897
5466 joined on 23rd May 1898
5741 joined on 25th January 1899
6116 joined on 12th January 1900
6541 joined on 25th May 1901
6911 joined on 13th March 1902
7274 joined on 3rd March 1903
8216 joined on 15th September 1905
8338 joined on 19th March 1906
8566 joined on 17th January 1907
9080 joined on 8th September 1908
9217 joined on 5th January 1909
9378 joined on 1st March 1910
9711 joined on 16th February 1911
9895 joined on 17th April 1912
10163 joined on 20th February 1913
10456 joined on 4th August 1914
During the course of the Great War, the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry added eight service battalions to the two regular, one reserve and two Territorial Force battalions that already existed. These new service battalions would all draw their numbers from the same series listed above.
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Books from the Naval & Military Press
Edited by Colonel G C Swiney and illustrated with ten fine colour plates showing the evolution of the regimental uniform. There are notes on its costume and equipment, ten black and white pictures, and fifteen appendices on subjects such as the regiment’s VC holders, its roll of officers, and biographies and memoirs of its colonels and officers. An unusually full and complete account of a distinguished unit.
An Anglo-Irish officer’s memoirs of the Peninsular, Waterloo and other Napoleonic campaigns. The book was recommended by The Duke of Wellington.
The record of ten battalions that served overseas, all on the Western Front with two battalions going on to the Salonika front. Includes roll of honour (4510 dead), honours and awards (including Mentions in Despatches) and an index.
Excellent history of the 5th (TF) Battalion on the Western Front from May 1916 until November 1918. The 5th DCLI had battle honours at Laventie, the Somme, Arras, Cambrai, Passchendaele and St Quentin. Illustrated by the author who was severely wounded in June 1918. Includes roll of honour and list of officers who served.
I've borrowed the image on this page from the excellent Light Infantry Regiments website which has detailed information on the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and other British Light Infantry Regiments. The photograph depicts men of E Company, 2nd DCLI in Hong Kong in 1913.