1 January 2019

Herefordshire Regiment enlistments 1908-1914

Undertaking some research for someone the other day into a man who served with the Herefordshire Regiment, reminds me that I have not, to date, posted anything on this regiment. Here then is some detail on regimental numbering in this regiment.

The Herefordshire Regiment was a wholly Territorial Force regiment headquartered at Hereford. Originally comprised of eight companies, pre-First World War, it recruited men from the following areas:

A & H Companies: Hereford, with drill stations at Peterchurch, Madley, Marden & Burghill
B Company: Ross, with a drill station at Upton Bishop
C Company: Ledbury, with drill stations at Colwall, Much Marcle & Bosbury
D Company: Kington, with drill stations at Presteigne and Eardisley
E Company: Ruardean, with a drill station at Littledean
F Company: Leominster, with a drill station at Bromyard
G Company: Rhayader with drill stations at Knighton, Chapel Lawn, Newbridge, Bucknell & Llandridnd Wells

Knowing the recruitment areas for men who joined prior to 4th August 1914 is important. For instance, if a man was living in Ruardean and joined the regiment pre-August 1914, the likelihood is that he would have served with E Company. By the time that Britain went to war in August 1914 however, such distinctions were lost as men flocked to the colours and were allocated to those companies which could accommodate them.

Originally designated simply as the 1st Herefordshire Regiment, the need to accommodate new recruits from September 1914 necessitated the formation of a new, reserve battalion. This battalion became the 2/1st Herefordshire Regiment whilst the original battalion was re-titled the 1/1st Battalion. In due course, in February 1915, a 3/1st Battalion would be formed.

All three battalion shared the same regimental number series which had begun with 1 in April 1908. The following sequence to the end of 1914 will give an idea of regimental number progression to the end of 1914.

107 joined on 17th April 1908
522 joined on 2nd February 1909
898 joined on 5th April 1910
1093 joined on 12th June 1911
1144 joined on 26th February 1912
1302 joined on 8th April 1913
1427 joined on 2nd April 1914
1564 joined on 6th August 1914
2021 joined on 2nd September 1914
2589 joined on 16th October 1914
2930 joined on 13th November 1914
3031 joined on 19th December 1914

In other words, more men joined the regiment between August and December 1914 than in the period April 1908 to July 1914. 

From September 1914 the majority of men joining the Herefordshire Regiment would join the 2/1st Battalion and many of these men would find themselves sent to France in August 1916 before transferring to the South Wales Borderers to help fill the gaps caused by casualties on the Somme. During the course of my research I came across the record of a Herefordshire Regiment man 42151 Pte Thomas Davies - who was badly wounded in early 1917 and I will tell his story in a separate post. It deserves to be told and he deserves to be remembered.

The photo that I have used on this page shows men of the 1st Herefordshire Regiment waiting on a station platform en route to Hereford in 1914. It comes from the Courtyard Centre for the Arts website.

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