24 November 2011

1st (Royal) Dragoons 1880-1906

This post will look at numbering in the 1st (Royal) Dragoons. The information on this post has been compiled as a result of examining service records in WO 97, WO 363 and WO 364.  All of these series are now online via subscription or pay per view.

2035 William Henry Jeffrey joined on 23rd April 1880
2076 Patrick McCarthy joined on 13th January 1881
2120 Edwin Alfred Harris joined on 19th November 1882
2135 Francis Oxley joined on 6th January 1883
2394 Francis William Henry Potter joined on 29th March 1884
2560 James Miller joined on 16th Janaury 1885
2720 Robert Nicholson joined on 1st April 1886
2832 John Milligan joined on 1st January 1887
2947 John Spencer joined on 16th April 1888
3163 Thomas Singleton joined on 13th May 1889
3215 Spencer George Gill joined on 3rd January 1890
3374 Charles Smith Bond joined on 2nd July 1891
3472 Robert Hide joined on 18th March 1892
3595 Joseph Murphy joined on 4th April 1893
3721 Henry Edward John Edgington joined on 18th January 1894
3849 Henry Clue joined on 29th January 1895
3967 Tom May joined on 27th February 1896
4048 John Edwin Barker joined on 23rd January 1897
4280 Harry Hart joined on 20th June 1898
4390 Alfred Bearman joined on 27th January 1899
4664 Walter Bush joined on 5th March 1900
5171 George Alfred Gatland joined on 24th July 1901
5573 Thomas Ernest Bishop joined on 29th March 1902
5705 Frank Bonnet joined on 31st October 1903
5714 Paul Ensell joined on 1st May 1904
5826 William Niven joined on 7th September 1905
5879 John Burns joined on 5th September 1906

Army Order 289 of December 1906 changed the numbering as far as cavalry of the line was concerned.

Prior to this Army Order, all cavalry regiments had numbered individually by regiments. Now, line cavalry and household cavalry were differentiated, and each corps of line cavalry was to use a separate number series extending to 49,999.  So beware, a line cavalryman with the 1st (Royal) Dragoons number 2035 could be William Jeffrey (above) who joined in 1880 or it could be a man from any one of the Corps of Dragoons regiments who joined up in May 1908.

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10 November 2011

Silver War Badge roll on Ancestry

This post really belongs over on my Army Ancestry blog, but as I've already posted there today about the Imperial War Museum's marvelous new Faces of the First World War project on flickr, I'll write about the SWB rolls here.

Pictured above is an extract from the Silver War Badge Roll for the East Surrey Regiment, and an old favourite of mine, Charles Sabourin.  Charles lost his right leg at Mons on the 23rd August 1914 and, taken prisoner by the Germans, was repatriated to England in early 1915, then spending several months convalescing at Chailey in Sussex.  You can read more about Charles Sabourin - and see a photo of him - on my Chailey 1914-1918 blog.

The Silver War Badge roll is probably the most comprehensive of all the WW1 medal rolls and now you can search them on Ancestry - but only if you have a premium membership.

Typical information you'll get from these rolls will be the man's name, number, regiment, battalion, date of enlistment, date of discharge, cause of discharge and sometimes, the man's age or his date of birth.  The badge number is always given and the rolls tend to be organised in badge number order. The East Surrey roll above does not give the battalion or the man's age. However, the London Regiment extract below, gives both.

With a bit of care, it is also possible to use the information on the SWB rolls to determine enlistment dates for a soldier you are researching.  Care should be taken however, because although the man's date of enlistment may be given, the regiment he was discharged from may not necessarily be the regiment he originally joined.

However, looking at the East Surrey Roll we see the following numbers and enlistment dates:

8505 on 1st February 1905
7487 on 15th September 1902
9733 on 6th November 1908
10864 on 29th April 1914
10536 on 1st October 1912
6738 [Charles Sabourin] on 31st October 1900
8860 on 7th August 1906...

As it happens, all of these numbers are spot on for The East Surrey Regiment for the dates given, the majority of these men presumably having gone out with the BEF in August 1914 and, like Charles Sabourin, being wounded - or falling sick - shortly afterwards.

So all in all another great resource from Ancestry but it's a pity that more and more of the military stuff on their site seems to be falling into the premium rate category.  I'm lucky that I can afford to subscribe at that level and I personally still think that it's a bargain, but then again I'm a heavy Ancestry user and now that these SWB rolls have appeared, I shall be an even heavier one.

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

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