29 December 2012

Corps of Hussars 1907-1914

As I have noted elsewhere, in December 1906, Army Order 289 changed the numbering for cavalry of the line. Prior to this, all cavalry regiments had numbered individually by regiments. Now, line cavalry and household cavalry were separated; each of the three line cavalry corps – dragoons, hussars, and lancers – beginning a new number series which started at 1 and was to extend to 49,999.

The Corps of Hussars consisted of twelve individual regiments, each of these with long and proud histories:

3rd (King's Own) Hussars
4th (Queen's Own) Hussars
7th (Queen's Own) Hussars
8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars
10th (Prince of Wales's Own Royal) Hussars
11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars
13th Hussars
14th (King's) Hussars
15th (King's) Hussars
18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars
19th (Queen Alexandra's Own Royal) Hussars
20th Hussars

Now, numbering by regiment was abandoned and the corps of Hussars allocated numbers from a single series.  Here are some numbers from that series which, as they were issued chronologically, should help to provide pointers towards likely enlistment dates for other Hussars recruits.

The H/ (Hussars) prefix appears on some attestation papers but there appears to be no consistency to its usage and my own research shows that more often than not this was not used.

7 joined on 5th January 1907
1096 joined on 13th September 1907
1954 joined on 15th January 1908
2635 joined on 27th June 1908
3901 joined on 28th January 1909
4648 joined on 27th August 1909
5192 joined on 14th January 1910
5869 joined on 28th July 1910
6789 joined on 6th January 1911
7546 joined on 14th October 1911
8146 joined on 8th January 1912
8837 joined on 25th May 1912
9589 joined on 16th January 1913
10287 joined on 25th June 1913
H/10942 joined on 21st January 1914

A future post will look at numbering in the Corps of Hussars from August 1914.

The photo on this post shows my paternal great-grandmother's brother, Bertrand (Bert) Elam, who enlisted with the 20th Hussars in 1894.  He had previously served briefly with the Wiltshire Regiment but had purchased his discharge for £10, as he was entitled to do, having served with the regiment for less than three months.  He served 12 years with the Hussars, re-enlisted with the Rifle Brigade in September 1914, transferred to the Gloucestershire Regiment in 1917 (he wears the Gloucestershire Regiment cap badge in this photo, along with his QSA and 1914 Star ribbons) and finished the war with the Royal Defence Corps. Throughout his army career he served under the alias Herbert Richard Hellam (although to further confuse matters, some papers give hsi surname as Hallam). He has extensive service records which survive in WO 97 (four pages relating to his brief service with the Wiltshire Regiment) and WO 364 (40 pages).

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