12 January 2020

Royal West Kent Regiment - 4th Battalion

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 4th Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment (TF) between 1908 and 1914.

The 4th Battalion was formed on the 1st April 1908 and prior to this had been the 1st Volunteer Battalion, the Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). In 1907, prior to the advent of the Territorial Force, the 1st Volunteer Battalion had a strength of 869 out of an establishment of 1,280. The following year, in 1908, as The Territorial Year Book for 1909 records, the battalion strength comprised 18 officers and 508 men. 179 men attended camp at Walmer in 1908 for 8 days and 250 attended for 15 days.

The following year, The Territorial Year Book for 1910 recorded that the strength of the battalion in 1909 stood at 22 officers and 766 men. At the annual camp at Dover that year, 305 officers and men attended for eight days whilst 388 officers and men attended for 15 days. Camp in 1910 was scheduled to take place from the 23rd July at Dover.

By August 1914 the battalion was headquartered at Tonbridge, and recruiting in the following parts of the county:  

A Company: Maidstone
B Company: Maidstone, with a drill station at West Malling
C Company: Tonbridge, with a drill station at Hadlow
D Company: Tunbridge Wells
E Company: Tunbridge Wells
F Company: Orpington
G Company: Sevenoaks
H Company: Westerham, with drill stations at Edenbridge

The above information about company distribution is particularly useful if your ancestor enlisted with the 4th Royal West Kent Regiment prior to August 1914. For argument's sake, if he lived in Orpington he would have been most likely to have joined F Company; if he was in the immediate vicinity of Sevenoaks, G Company would have been the most likely company he served with.

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the the 4th Royal West Kent Regiment.

61 joined from the 1st Volunteer Force Battalion on the 6th April 1908
549 joined on the 4th February 1909
974 joined on the 21st March 1910
1174 joined on the 2nd May 1911
1293 joined on the 1st April 1912
1461 joined on the 26th February 1913
1720 joined on the 21st May 1914
1981 joined on the 14th August 1914

Use the regimental numbers above to estimate when a man would have joined this battalion between 1908 and August 1914. For example if your man's number was 1000 and he lived in Westerham, he would have joined the battalion some time after 21st March 1910 but before May 1911. Furthermore, he probably served with H Company.

Remember. I research soldiers!

To search for photos of your Royal West Kent Regiment ancestors, check my British Army Ancestors website.

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