29 January 2018

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) - Other rank PoWs 1914

The 32 men on this roll call of Scottish Rifles soldiers captured by the German on or before Christmas Day 1914 appears on two lists now catalogued and held by the Imperial War Museum:

  • B.O.2 1/294 is a three-page typed list, compiler and date unknown.
  • B.O.2 1/296 is a three-page handwritten letter and list from the Prisoners of War Relief, The Cameronians, dated 27th December 1918. 

8447 Lance-Corporal Henry Ash 
8448 Sergeant Alfred Ash 
9519 Private H G Austin 
6102 Private R Beats 
8522 Private T Blackwell 
10669 Private G Brooks 
Sergeant George Buckley 
8498 Sergeant E J Buss 
10871 Private P Byrne 
8383 Private W F Carey 
7732 Private J Conroy 
11132 Private D Cruickshank 
8745 Private F G Dawson 
8287 Private J Fergus 
10948 Private J B Galvin 
7689 Private D W Gilchrist 
9209 Private/Piper C Gullan 
8592 Private H Leavens 
7744 Private Alfred George Mackie 
8512 Private E Mann 
10865 Private J Mason 
13286 G B McGuire 
9653 Private R Murphy 
11083 Private R Neild 
8190 Private W Potter 
10879 Private J C Roberts 
8669 Private E Smith 
7629 Private J Stewart 
7193 Colour-Sergeant D Taylor 
9530 Private S Wood 
10803 Private J Wray 
9530 A B Wray

The first two men on this list, Alfred and Henry Ash, were presumably brothers who enlisted together, were possibly captured together, and may have been incarcerated together as well. There's probably a decent research project there for someone, and I'm sure that the ICRC website has more details on when they were captured and where they were held. Any errors in the transcription of these banes are mine.

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23 January 2018

Gloucestershire Regiment - PoWs 1914

The Gloucestershire Regiment men in the list which follows were all captured by the Germans on or before Christmas Day 1914. Those who survived the many years in captivity, would belatedly be sent Princess Mary's gift tin once they had returned to England. Most, if not all of these men should also have records on the International Committee of the Red Cross site.

Today, this list is catalogued at the Imperial War Museum under B.O.2 1/175 and B.O.2 1/176 and for most men also includes their date of capture and home address. The full transcription is available for sale as a download or CD for £20. Contact me if you would like to purchase a copy.

2120 Private W H Allen 
9186 Private F Apperley 
6708 Private F Aston 
7862 Private Cyril Benfield 
6513 Private H F Bennett 
386 Private W Bond 
6088 Private T Bridge 
7272 Private A Chapman 
9411 Private F Chappell 
9895 Private Bernard H W Chittenden 
6577 Private J Cole 
7688 Private G Cook 
7975 Private George H J Cook 
1266 Lance-Corporal H W Cross 
9710 Private W M Davis 
9591 Private Francis Charles Day 
7810 Private J Ellaway 
9845 Private T A Gardener 
7203 Private E W Green 
6067 Private J A Hanson 
2597 Private James Hartland 
6427 Private W Hatherall 
7005 Private Alfred Hobbs 
8313 Private John Hooper 
7658 Private F W Howell 
21 Private R H Jay 
623 Private J Keveren 
7853 Private J Kingscote 
8061 Private T Lawrence 
9829 Private A H Legg 
8028 Private Harry Leonard 
9657 Private J Monaghan 
6245 Private E Monk 
9587 Private W H Morgan 
7222 Private C Portlock 
7860 Private H Robins 
9059 Private T E Rolf 
9665 Private Frederick Saunders 
8119 Private J Simpkins 
7279 Private M Sullivan 
6634 Private George Thompson 
7865 Private John Trump 
8482 Private C Venn 
6714 Private J T Windridge 
588 Private E Woodland

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13 January 2018

Are regimental numbers unique?

Are regimental numbers unique? I am asked this question often enough to unapologetically publish another post on this topic. The short answer is No, regimental numbers are not unique. As I wrote last September, 

"A typical line infantry county regiment [pre 1908] could expect to administer one regimental number series for its regular battalions, and a separate number series for each militia battalion. Volunteer Force battalions also each had a separate regimental number series and later, so too would EACH Territorial Force battalion... and with some battalions running multiple number series to boot."

You can see this very clearly demonstrated if you run a simple number search on my new British Army Ancestors website. The site is free to use but if you want to view any of the returned results - usually a service record or a medal index card - you'll need to pay The National Archives or Findmypast.

Running a search of 1234 Essex Reg* (use the wildcard to widen or indeed restrict results) returns eight results, all for different men with the regimental number 1234 who served with the Essex Regiment.  There are Territorial Force men here, militia men, career soldiers; all serving with the regimental number 1234 which would have been issued from different number series or number blocks at different times.

Queen's & King's Regulations

For the majority of line infantry regiments, regimental numbering started at 1 on the 1st July 1881. The regimental number was issued to the man when he presented himself at the regimental depot, and he kept this regimental number at the depot and if he was posted between regular battalions (usually the 1st and 2nd Battalions). 

Infantry regiments were to number to 9999 and, when they approached this number, were to to seek permission from the Adjutant General to commence a new series. The extract above is from Queen's Regulations 1884.  In 1904 the rules changed and infantry regiments were told they could number to 19999 before seeking permission to start a new series. This was further relaxed by Army Order 453 of 1914 which gave line infantry regiments permission to number to 39999, which was just as well with the influx of men to the colours from August that year. 

But the point is that as well as seeing duplicates across the various battalions in a regiment - and my 60 second regimental numbering overview goes into more detail here - duplicates also occur because of this need to start new number series. The Essex Regiment was a fairly typical steady recruiter of regular soldiers, an average of around 320 men signing up each year between 1881 and 1911. It only used the number 1234 once for a regular enlistment and that was in January 1884.  Regiments with more than two regular battalions though, got through their allotted numbers more quickly and thus we see, for instance, the Northumberland Fusiliers reaching 9999 on the 2nd December 1903 and commencing a new number series starting with 1. For this regiment's regular battalions, the number 1234 makes an appearance in December 1885 and again, nearly twenty years later, in May 1905.

The image on this page shows Private Dore, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment; winner of the Rifle Championship Cup at Aldershot in 1899. Judging by the three chevrons on his lower left sleeve he had been in the army for at least 12 years when this photograph was taken. The photo was published in Navy & Army Illustrated on the 2nd September 1899.

I research soldiers! Contact me if you need help with your military ancestor.

5 January 2018

Naval & Military Press - Winter Sale

Make the most of this seasonal offering from Naval and Military Press with their traditional winter sale - 20% off everything and the facility to spread payments over four or twelve months. I have bought many books from Naval & Military Press over the years and can be very easily tempted to buy more. View the full range by clicking on the links above or the image.

Grab a book bargain - 1000s of titles