There are nearly 28,000 pre-First World War service and pension records, and over 8,000 Yorkshire Regiment service and pension records covering the First World War which have been digitised and published online. Clicking on the links above 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.
This post will look at numbering in the two regular battalions of the Yorkshire Regiment (the 1st and 2nd battalions) between 1881 and 1914. Service number information comes primarily from WO 97 and from WO 363 and WO 364. Battalion locations are taken from the now sadly defunct www.regiments.org.
The Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment) was formed from the 19th (The 1st Yorkshire North Riding – Princess of Wales’s Own) Regiment of Foot. The naming for the Princess Alexandra, Princess of Wales, had taken place in October 1875.
The newly formed regiment was established as the county regiment for the Yorkshire North Riding and started numbering from 1 in 1881.
22 joined on 20th July 1881
334 joined on 8th March 1882
776 joined on 5th October 1883
934 joined on 3rd March 1884
1333 joined on 3rd February 1885
1868 joined on 10th January 1886
2194 joined on 1st July 1887
2446 joined on 13th March 1888
2919 joined on 17th August 1889
3158 joined on 31st July 1890
3489 joined on 21st August 1891
3605 joined on 16th April 1892
4157 joined on 1st June 1893
4438 joined on 8th March 1894
4830 joined on 7th January 1895
5214 joined on 10th June 1896
5449 joined on 10th June 1897
5689 joined on 14th February 1898
5978 joined on 3rd January 1899
6260 joined on 17th January 1900
During the South African War, the Yorkshire Regiment raised two volunteer service companies and allocated numbers as follows:
1st VSC: numbers within the range 7235 to 7350
2nd VSC: numbers within the range 7353 to 7384
On 17th February 1900 the 1st VSC departed for South Africa aboard the SS Guelph. It comprised Captain Bell, lieutenant R W T Ewart, Lieutenant F C Houseman and 113 men. The 2nd VSC departed six days later. It departed aboard the SS Avondale Castle on the 23rd February 1900 with Captain T W Simpson, Lieutenant F Head, and 113 men.
6469 joined on 31st January 1901
In 1902 the regiment became Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment). Numbering was unaffected by the name change.
6838 joined on 5th April 1902
7127 joined on 15th January 1903
7778 joined on 4th July 1904
8060 joined on 23rd February 1905
8355 joined on 28th May 1906
8648 joined on 1st January 1907
9242 joined on 5th May 1908
9375 joined on 30th November 1909
9423 joined on 21st March 1910
9701 joined on 30th June 1911
9973 joined on 22nd January 1912
10159 joined on 3rd April 1913
10421 joined on 22nd February 1914
The First World War
When Britain went to war in August 1914, men joining the new service battalions were issued with numbers from the same series in use by the two regular battalions.
Recruitment rates 1881 – 1911
The years 1881 to 1891 were the most effect recruiting years as far as the regiment was concerned. Between 1st July 1881 and 21st August 1891 The Princess of Wales’s Own recruited 3,489 men, a rate which saw the regiment fall within the top fifty per cent of infantry recruiting regiments for the decade.
Between August 1891 and January 1901 however, the regiment recruited fewer than 3000 men and fell to forty-ninth position in the recruitment league stakes. It was the same story in the early 1900s. The regiment had recruited 316 men per annum in the 1890s and in the 1900s this fell slightly to 314. By September 1911, the regiment was issuing number 9821 to its latest recruit.
1st Battalion stations 1881-1914
1881 Halifax, Nova Scotia
1899 South Africa
1914 Rawalpindi (remained in India throughout WW1)
2nd Battalion stations 1881-1914
1897 Rhaniket & Jullunder
1906 South Africa
1914 France & Flanders (from September)
I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.
A History of the 19th Regiment
Covering the period from formation in 1688 until Khartoum in 1885.
Green Howards in the Great War