27 September 2010

Lancashire Fusiliers - 6th Battalion (TF)

This post will look at numbering in the 6th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, between 1908 and 1914. All numbers and enlistment / joining dates below have been gleaned from a study of attestation papers in WO 363 and WO 364. These papers are also accessible on-line via Ancestry.co.uk which is currently offering a FREE 14-day trial.

I have previously referred to the 6th Lancashire Fusiliers in an earlier post which sought ot identify those Territorial Force battalions which, when the TF was formed in 1908, continued with the same number series which had been used by their Volunteer predecessors.

For instance, when Harry Jennings Sowray attested with the 6th LF on the 1st April 1908 he was 44 years old, a serving member with the 2nd Volunteer Battlion, Lancashire Fusiliers, and a time-expired regular having served with the 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. His 'new' 6th LF number - 4988 - was the same number he'd been given when he joined the 2nd VB LF on the 2nd April 1892. Similarly, 5314 Abraham Grindrod who signed up with the 6th LF on the 28th April 1908, had originally been given that number when he joined the 2nd VB LF on the 22nd June 1894.

As far as new recruits were concerned, numbering in April 1908 probably started at around 7670, and I base this assumption only on the known enlistment of John Hynes who was given the number 7667 when he joined the 2nd VB on the 27th March 1908 - and carried on using it when he joined the 6th Battalion (TF) shortly afterwards.

7831 joined on 13th January 1909
8166 joined on 1st February 1910
8417 joined on 23rd January 1911
8548 joined on 6th March 1912
8774 joined on 3rd February 1913
9101 joined on 13th March 1914
9143 joined on 4th August 1914
9474 joined on 3rd September 1914
10420 joined on 21st October 1914
10432 joined on 30th November 1914
10466 joined on 3rd December 1914

Interestingly, by the time the TF was re-numbered in 1917, there were around fifty 6th Battalion men still serving who had previously seen service with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion. One of these men was Harry Jennings Sowray who was given the new number 240008 and who would have been, by then, around 53 years old. Nor was he the longest serving man on the 6th Battalion books in 1917. His number suggests that there were seven Other Ranks whose service pre-dated his own.

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Anonymous said...

I have my grandfathers medals from serving in WW1 which state A L Sammans Lanc. Fus. Pte 50109.
I understand he was pensioned out of service due to a schrapnel wound and given the silver war badge (List H/1688/1)
I have tried to reserch any aspect of his military career but keep running into dead ends

Paul Nixon said...

All I can tell you is that the number appears to date to around January 1918. Does that fit in?

Anonymous said...

I have my great grandfather's medals:

PTE J Miller

Is there any way to tell when he signed up?

I've looked on ancestry but can't find any service record and I can't identify him from the medal index cards.

I get confused with these numbers. Is there a directory/log where I can cross-reference the number on the medal to his regiment number on the medal index cards?

Paul Nixon said...

Tying down numbers to dates and/or battalions is easier for some regiments than it is for others. In your great grandfather's case there are two possibilities: regular battalion for Feb 1902 or a service battalion in 1914. As a frist step, try and get hold of the medal rolls at The National Archives - the references are on his medal index card.

As for a ready reckoner of army numbers, there isn't one, hence one of the reasons this blog exists.


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