29 May 2011

Cheshire Regiment 1881-1914 - 1st & 2nd Battalions -

This post will look at regimental numbering in the Cheshire Regiment which was formed on 1st July 1881 from the 22nd (the Cheshire) Regiment of Foot.

There are over 63,000 Cheshire Regiment 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. 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 Cheshire 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. George Henry Byrom (pictured above) was a Cheshire Regiment Special Reservist captured in 1914. You can read more about him by clicking on his name.

The newly formed regiment was established as the county regiment for Cheshire and started numbering from 1 in 1881.

24 joined on 31st October 1881
73 joined on 20th January 1882
396 joined on 17th January 1883
984 joined on 11th January 1884
1391 joined on 5th January 1885
2165 joined on 1st February 1886
2498 joined on 12th January 1887
2617 joined on 26th November 1888
2675 joined on 1st July 1889
2868 joined on 15th January 1890
3277 joined on 7th March 1891
3562 joined on 6th January 1892
4224 joined on 7th April 1893
4629 joined on 13th February 1894
5041 joined on 9th April 1895
5204 joined on 8th February 1896
5394 joined on 15th February 1897
5669 joined on 22nd February 1898
6158 joined on 20th February 1899
6443 joined on 1st November 1900

During the South African War, The Cheshire Regiment raised three volunteer service companies. Men joining these companies were issued with numbers in the following ranges:

1st VSC: numbers within the range 7330 to 7526
2nd VSC: numbers within the range 7447 to 7578
3rd VSC: numbers within the range 7765 to 7780

On 17th February 1900, the 1st VSC comprising three officers – Captain S Thornley, Lieutenant J Bates and Lieutenant J S Craig – and 113 men, embarked for South Africa aboard SS Gascon.

6488 joined on 7th February 1901
6772 joined on 19th February 1902
7084 joined on 5th February 1903
7419 joined on 22nd February 1904
7868 joined on 7th February 1905
8099 joined on 11th January 1906
8232 joined on 21st January 1907
8850 joined on 8th January 1908
9170 joined on 16th February 1909
9408 joined on 7th February 1910
9658 joined on 27th June 1911
10002 joined on 26th November 1912
10103 joined on 27th May 1913
10523 joined on 3rd May 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

Between 1st July 1881 and 7th March 1891, The Cheshire Regiment recruited 3,277 men, an average of 336 soldiers a year. Although still well below the national average for the decade, this was nevertheless to be the regiment’s best showing.

By 7th February 1901, the regiment had enlisted its 6,488th recruit and could claim an average recruitment rate for the decade of 324 men. A little over ten years later and the average recruitment rate had dropped again, this time to 307 men per annum. In total, between 1st July 1881 and 27th June 1911, The Cheshire Regiment recruited 9,658 men, well below the national average (353) at 322 men a year.

1st Battalion stations 1881-1914
1881 Guernsey

1883 Portland
1885 Gibraltar
1886 Egypt
1887 Burma
1891 Belgaum
1895 Bellary
1897 Secunderabad
1901 Quetta
1903 Bombay
1904 Lichfield
1909 Belfast
1912 Londonderry
1914 France & Flanders (from August)

2nd Battalion stations 1881-1915

1881 Bengal
1885 Solon
1887 Burma
1889 Sheffield
1892 Aldershot
1895 Buttevant
1898 Limerick
1899 South Africa
1902 Aldershot
1904 Madras
1909 Schwebo (Burma)
1911 Jubbulpore
1915 France & Flanders (from January)

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

Further Reading

The History of the Cheshire Regiment in the Great War

The Cheshire Regiment - The First Battalion at Mons and the Miniature Colour

Cheshire Bantams - 15th, 16th & 17th Battalions, The Cheshire Regiment

War Record of the 1/5th (Earl of Chester's) Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment, August 1914 - June 1919


Mike Cairns said...

My Grandfather, 2 Cheshire & 5 Cheshire had two army number 2322 with 2bn and 29 with 5bn. They seem out of kilter with those you publish as he was but a child when your records indicate these numbers were issued, ? the reason

Paul Nixon said...

What was his name Mike? I've been unable to locate a Cheshire Regiment man with those two numbers on a WW1 Medal Index Card.

If you can supply me with more details I'll see what I can find. On the face of it though, 29 for the 5th Bn dates to April 1908 and 2322 for a regular battalion goes way back to July 1886.

Mike Cairns said...

James Hanley

Mike Cairns said...

His medfal index card shows 2322 and his RAF number 301422 which he joined in Sep 1918 - Apr 1920. The detail "29 Cpl J Hanley 5 Cheshire Regt" is from his TA Efficiency Medal. He went to France on 14 Feb 1915 with D Coy 5Cheshires.(Lt Col AV Churtons book). Trans to RFC in ?1917/18. His army records were amongst the "burnt" but his RAF Form 175 survives with minimal detail, stating prior service 2 Chesh 10 yrs and 5 Chesh 2 years. Thoughts?

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for clarifying. So it doesn't actually state anywhere that 2322 is the number for the 2nd Bn. I'd suggest that that number dates to late Aug / early Sep 1914 for the 5th Bn and that he had seen prior service with a regular battalion. Depending on his age, his service record could have been:

Regular service with Cheshires, joining some time in the 1890s.

Joins 5th Bn in 1908 (possibly having already been a serving member of the Volunteer Force).

Time expired but rejoins the bn shortly after the outbreak of war and is given a new number.

Later transferred to RFC which becomes RAF in April 1918.


Draperju said...

Good morning

I am researching a Man Richard William Smith with 15 Btn No 20834
Can you help with an enlistment date


Paul Nixon said...

Draperju - Dec 1914.

Draperju said...

Thank you Paul

jellytots1916 said...

Hi, I wonder if you can help me? I am researching CT Rolph who was according to the WW1 medal card index a WO clII of the Cheshire regiment and his no is given as 6449617, this seems rather long and he wasnt entitled to any medals.
many thanks

Paul Nixon said...

It is a long number isn't it? It looks to be a number form the series issued in 1920 but that particular number falls within the block issued to the Royal Fusiliers (6446001-6515000). Note on his card that he was awarded the LS&GCM which is the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal. So no WW1 medal entitlement noted on this card but he was a long-serving soldier of at least 18 years.

Paul Nixon said...

Note too, that there is a Charles T Rolph listed for the Royal Fusiliers - No L/12430. He was a CSM who had originally enlisted in late 1906 or early 1907.

Unknown said...

Hi Paul
I have a William Blencowe details are
Blencowe William Private 1635, 360575 7th Btn Cheshire Regiment, Labour Corps

Dont know when transferred to Labour Corps.

Am I on the right track to think enlisted with the Cheshire's around 1912?

Roger Blinko

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Roger, hope all's well. March 1913 for that number in that battalion.


Unknown said...

Hi Paul.

Looking for a george dewhurst and any info you may have. Joined the Cheshires 1914 2nd battalion. Served in Greece and France.



Paul Nixon said...

Hello George

Thanks for commenting. I can't find anything at all for a George Dewhurst / Cheshire Regiment. Do you have any other information at all? There are no men of this name noted on medal rolls as having served with the Cheshire Regiment.


Unknown said...

G'day from NZ

I'm looking for information on a distant ancestor - Andrew Ryles 77693 who was with the 23rd Bn, Cheshire Regt when he died of pneumonia in Jan 1919. Can you please tell me when he would have enlisted, and I also understand that the 23rd was a 'Garrison Guard' battalion. What does that mean?

Thank you

Paul Nixon said...

I can tell you when he enlisted, Robbie, but this would need to be researched and incurs a nominal fee. Please contact me via the RESEARCH tab if you wish to pursue.

Terry welsharcher Payne said...

Hi Paul
My great grand father was CSM George Oakes Harp from Fenton who enlisted in Crewe, Kia 7/08/1915 Gallipoli , his name appears in the Cathedral roll of honour book and is recorded on the regimental chapel book to. His regimental number is 6089

Paul Nixon said...

RIP to your great grandfather, Terry. As I am sure you know, he was a career soldier and Boer War veteran who had originally joined the regiment in 1899.

Unknown said...

Hi Paul,
My great grandfather Sergeant William Edward Hogan was killed in action 8th may 1915 2nd battle of ypres, was trying to find out when he joined the army and also are there crosses/graves for the soldiers that died or just memorials? Thanks.

Paul Nixon said...

@Mark, it would be possible to work out when he joined the regiment that he was killed with. If he is a name on a memorial that's all that there will be, unless of course he is buried as an unidentified soldier; there are plenty of those.

Unknown said...

My grandad was in the 7th bn of the Cheshire Regiment. His number and name was 4128708 Philip Ridgway. I have some of his medals including an Italian star and France/german star. He also told me before he passed away he fought in Burma and was at Dunkirk. I have a letter of outstanding good service issued to him from Montgomery on the 31st Aug 1945, which says that it will also be noted in his records. I am interested in finding out any more information on his service and would appreciate any advice or information you may have. Regards Paul Williams

Paul Nixon said...

@Paul Williams, the MoD has all WW2 records still so you need to contact them: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records

Unknown said...


I believe my grand father was in the Cheshire Regiment during the First World War, unfortunately I don't have any information other than his name - Jospeh James Cole. Would you have any further information on him please


Paul Nixon said...

Re Joseph James Cole you can search for him on my British Army Ancestors website: https://britisharmyancestors.co.uk/. Try different search combinations and use the asterisk wildcard feature.

Brian Jones said...

My Uncle, 345406 Pte William W Jones died of wounds in September 1918. I am unable to find him on the CWGC site and would like to know what Bn he was in and what action he was wounded in if possible.

Paul Nixon said...

Re William Jones, he is here: https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/69797/jones,-william/. Download the war diary from The National Archives' website for more detail on the days leading up to his death.

Unknown said...

I believe these are my greatgrandfathers WW1 details but I am not sure he would he been born in BÃēllington, Macclesfield. Is there any way to check?

Albert Hardy
Cheshire Regiment
Second Lieutenant
S/4/237468 1914

Regards Paul Williams

Paul Nixon said...

Thank you for your comment. Please see the Research tab on this blog if you are looking for specific information on a soldier. Or try the Great War Forum for free advice.

Unknown said...

Hi I am trying to find information on David Richard Lloyd born 8 April 1886 in Wrexham died 24 December 1911 in Wrexham from pneumonia. On his death certificate he is listed as a private in the Cheshire Regiment. We find this odd as living in the garrison RWF town of Wrexham we find it odd that he enlisted in an English regiment given the Welsh/English rivalry locally. Would details be held at the museum in Chester? Amy help would be appreciated

Paul Nixon said...

Re David Richard Lloyd. I have further details on this man, but as noited, "if your comment concerns research about a particular individual, you should read the RESEARCH tab at the top of the page."

Unknown said...

Oh right that is great. He and his siblings were a side of the family that we knew nothing about until a distant relative contacted us. I obtained his death certificate indicating his service with the Cheshires. We also have a bible dedicated to him by hs niece - there is a soldiers prayer in the dedication. He is buried we believe in our local church cemetary at Brymbo. We are however unsure of anything else. Are you able to disclose anything you know about David? Could you tell me whether any details regarding him are held at Chester military museum? I have tried a search for his service records but it doesnt seem to bring him up.Thanks for any help you can offer.

Paul Nixon said...

There is an entry for himinthe Soldiers Effects Register which you can access via Ancestry. It gives his regimental number and date of enlistment, the year was 1905, from memory.; also next of kin details.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this. Its interesting that he enlisted in 1905 and would have been underage?? Maybe that is why he enlisted in the Cheshire's where no-one would have known him?

In addition maybe you can help me with finding a service record for my uncle George Matthews 4th Btn RWF died of wounds 24 March 1918. Born Wrexham 1894. I have tried to find the records but have been told they were in the ones destroyed. I have had his medal card and next of kin letter. Is it possible that you are able to provide his full service - I believe he served for the 4 years -I am told although he was a Lance Corporal he became a Sergeant on the Field. There is no family left to fill in the missing bits. He is buried at Dernencourt at Albert and he enlisted with his older brother John (Jack). I have the war diary produced by Capt C Ellis but would really like to know when and where he fought and how he died. If you can help I would really appreciate it. Regards Jeanette

Paul Nixon said...

Thank you for your additional comment, Jeanette. As you will hopefully have seen when posting on this blog, if your request is for information about a specific individual, please contact me via the research tab. There will certainly be more to say about these men.

PW said...

Dear Paul,
My Great Uncle Joseph Price of the Cheshire Regt, on his WW1 Victory Medal his Regt No is 2986, which would have him joining the Regt in 1890/1, he would have only been 5 years old approximately. I surmise from this that he was Territorial as my Mum is certain he served in Gallipoli so probably in the 1/4. Would that work or did Territorial numbers start with 6/7/8 or the 1/4 prefix?

Paul Nixon said...

Yes, that would work, PW. Almost certainly a Territorial and no, the battalion prefixes were inconsistently used. They appear on some records but are absent on others.

Ken Forshaw said...

Hello Paul,

A family relative, Arthur Gerrard, joined the Cheshire Regiment on 11 Oct 1906 and was issued service number 8293. This seems out of kilter by some months with your published list. Any thoughts why this might be? He had 2 other service numbers (15301 and 268102)which seems consistent with new service numbers being issued to men joining a different battalion of the same regiment. After being wounded in 1915 with 2nd Btn, he joined 10th (Service) Btn in Nov 1916 and then, after only a matter of weeks, 6th Btn.

Paul Nixon said...

No, I am afraid I don't known the reason for that, Ken.

Unknown said...

Hi, Am researching my grandfather, Harold Brierley DOB: 5/8/1900, believed to be in the Cheshire Regiment army number: 81721. He was from Oldham, Lancs. Family legend was that he lied about his age to enlist and served in both World Wars. I can find nothing on him for WW2.
We have his campaign medals:
British War medal
Victory medal

These are both listed on his medal records, however, the British Medal has another persons name on it. It looks like 'J. Hopkins, Lancs Reg 3411'

Harold was also injured in France, WW2 and sent back to a hospital in England, my father and his mother, Harold's wife told me about visiting him there, but I again can find no record, nor of any pension records.

What can you suggest please?

Many thanks.

Janet Benjafield

Paul Nixon said...

My guess is that The medal to 34116 John Hopkins is a replacement for his own medal, possibly lost. The MoD should have your grandfather’s papers for WW2 which may contain information about his Great War service.

Btm5811 said...

Paul, someone asked me for help. William Norman, Cheshire Regt. 7807550. What does that number point to for aor? I didn’t see it in the list. Thanks!!

Paul Nixon said...

7807550 is a seven-digit number and so that points to an army number issued from 1920. The MoD will be the place to enquire: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records

Mike said...

My great grandfather Robert William McGinley joined the Cheshire Regiment on 22/02/1884. His regimental number was 1000. He was in the !st Battalion and served overseas in the Med., Egypt, The Andaman Islands, Burmah and India. His regular service ended in 1891 and joined the volunteer reserve in Birkenhead until 1896.

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for that, Mike, I suspect he enlisted for 7&5, which would tie in with his colour service ending in 1891. He would then have been a reservist until 1896 and was probably discharged on the 21st Feb 1896 having served exactly 12 years.

Mike McG said...

Further to my post of 10th Feb 2020. Would my great grandfather have earned a medal for his overseas service? How would I find out? Also do you know of any sources on the operations of the 1st Battalion in Burma during the 1880’s?

Paul Nixon said...

Mike McG. If your great grandfather was serving with the 2nd Bn overseas between 1887-89 he could have taken part in the Burma Campaign and if he did, he would have earned a medal. Medal rolls are in WO 100 at The National Archives. Some of these are ion Ancestry but I don't believe this medal roll is. As for books, have a look on the Naval & Military Press website.

DML said...

Hi Paul. I am looking into my great grandfather's war record and we have two Regimental numbers for him; 1691 which was recorded in 1915 and then later 290210. We know he served at the Somme however we can't be sure which battalion yet. We know he signed up in 1914 and was enlisted in the 2/7th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment however this battalion didn't see overseas service. Could the change in numbers give us an indication of which battalion he transferred to, presumably in 1916 at the time of conscription? His name was Arthur Lomas.

Many thanks,


Paul Nixon said...

David, he was presumably posted to the 1/7th Battalion which did serve overseas.

Stuart said...

I have a photograph of my Great Grandfather who was

Arthur BOWEN
Rank: Private
Number: 28120
Unit: 2nd Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 3 October 1915
Age: 35
Cemetery: Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Arthur had been a regular soldier for 8 or 9 years, serving with the Royal Field Artillery. He was still a reservist and was mobilised when war was declared in August 1914. He served again with the RFA, (service number 36924), but probably only until December 1914 when the Cheshires returned from India.

Is this information and the photograph useful to anybody and if so can you suggest where I could post it (and maybe also look for more information)?

Unknown said...

Hello Paul,

I have two Service Numbers for my Gt Grandfather they are 30937 and 3/44054. We think he was in the Cheshires, why would he have two numbers, previous or disjointed service perhaps ?


Paul Nixon said...

Hello Richard

You can confirm the regiment he was in by entering the number/s and his name into my British Army Ancestors website: https://britisharmyancestors.co.uk/. Two numbers would normally indicate service with two separate regiments or battalions. Men of the Territorial Force were issued with a second five or six-digit number in early 1917, but by the looks of things your man does not fall into this category.

Paul Nixon said...

Stuart, re 28120 Arthur Bowen you could post his photo and details on my British Army Ancestors website: https://britisharmyancestors.co.uk/search-result/?q=28120+bowen

Unknown said...

Hi Paul, great information on here, thankyou for helping so many relatives.
I am trying to replace my grt grandad's medals, I know he got the 1914 star but I'm trying to find out if he qualified for the bar. He is Harry Whitworth 8346 Cheshire regiment could you shed some light or point me in the right direction of understanding his medal index card. Thanks for your time. Steve

Paul Nixon said...

Steve, he was certainly overseas early enough to have been under fire between the qualifying dates of 5th August and 22nd November 1914. He didn't claim the clasp and roses through official sources but not every man did - and for that matter he could have picked up copies at a local tailor's shop. It's a good bet that he was under fire and therefore he would have been entitled to the clasp and roses. He was discharged no longer physically fit for service on the 21st October 1915.

Unknown said...

Paul, thankyou for explaining Harry's details. I can now get the replacement medals that he would have been entitled to. If I unearth any photos of Harry from family I will send it to your sister website. Thanks again, Steve.

RyanUK said...

Born - 28 May 1893, Stockport, Cheshire
Died - 28 April 1917, Oppy/Gavrelle Line, Battle of Gavrelle, France

• 5th Battalion Cheshire Regiment
• Service No: 1357
• Joined on 10/11/1910 at Cheadle
• Age 17
[CANARVEN] : 1912
[ABERGAVENNY] : 11/05/13 - 25/05/13
[RHYL CAMP] : 31/05/14 - 14/06/14
British Expeditionary Force [France] : 14/02/15 - 04/11/15
WOUNDED : Gun Shot Wound --HEAD-- @ YPRES : 19/07/15
At Home : 05/11/15 - 09/11/15
Total Services Towards Engagement In Territorial Force : 5 Years
• Royal Marine Light Infantry, 1st Royal Marines Battalion, Royal Naval Chatham Division
• Service No: CH/1514(S)
• Age: 24
• Joined 1st Royal Marines Battalion on 25/11/15
Enlisted on 26/2/16 Age 22 years 8 months ; Embarked RM Brigade 28/6/16 ;
Draft for BEF 25/9/16, joined 4th Entrenching Battalion on 10/11/16,

Died: 28/04/1917, Battle of Gavrelle, Oppy/Gavrelle Line, Oppy, Pas-de-Calais, France
Memorial: Arras Memorial (MR 20)
Arras, Department du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France

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