14 March 2020

Black Watch - 5th Battalion (TF) - 1908-1914


This post will look at regimental numbering in the 5th (Angus & Dundee) Battalion (TF), The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) between 1908 and 1914.

The 5th Battalion was formed on the 1st April 1908 and prior to this had been the 2nd & 3rd Volunteer Battalions of the same regiment; the 'Angus' and 'Dundee' battalions. The headquarters of the battalion was at Arbroath and the county Territorial Association for Forfarshire administered the first six companies whilst companies G and H were administered by the Association at Dundee. 


The fact that two separate county associations administered companies in the same battalion means that there were two separate regimental number series in play; at least for a time. One series was used for men joining companies A to F, and another series was used for men joining companies G & H. The companies were distributed as follows:

A Company: Kirriemuir, with drill stations at Glamis and Newtyle
B Company: Forfar
C Company: Montrose, with a drill station at Craigo
D Company: Brechin, with a drill station at Edzell
E Company: Arbroath, with a drill station at Friockheim
F Company: Arbroath, with drill stations at Carnoustie and Monifieth
G Company: Dundee
H Company: Dundee

The Territorial Year Book for 1909 recorded that the battalion strength was 34 officers and 650 men. The best shot of the unit that year was Lance-Sergeant D K Mitchell.

The following year, The Territorial Year Book for 1910 recorded that the strength was 667, all ranks, and at the annual camp that year, 369 officers and men had attended for eight days whilst 298 officers and men had attended for 15 days. Camp in 1910 was scheduled from the 16th July.
Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the 5th Battalion (TF), The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). The numbers come from the series operated by the Forfarshire Association.

54 joined from the 2nd Volunteer Force Battalion on the 3rd April 1908
1028 joined on the 17th May 1909

1222 joined on the 7th April 1910
1387 joined on the 6th February 1911
1516 joined on the 1st October 1911
1846 joined on the 9th February 1914
1978 joined on the 6th 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 1111 he would have joined the battalion between May 1909 and April 1910.

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To search for photos of your Black Watch ancestors, check my British Army Ancestors website

Image source used on this blog post is unknown.

Royal West Kent Regiment - 5th Battalion

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 5th Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment (TF) between 1908 and 1914. 

The 5th Battalion was formed on the 1st April 1908 and prior to this had been the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, the Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). In 1908, as The Territorial Year Book for 1909 records, the battalion strength comprised 23 officers and 619 men. 200 men attended camp in 1908 for 8 days and 392 attended for 15 days. 

The following year, The Territorial Year Book for 1910 recorded that the strength of the battalion in 1909 stood at 21 officers and 710 men. At the annual camp at Dover that year, 140 officers and men attended for eight days whilst 551 officers and men attended for 15 days. Best shots in the battalion were Lt E Mannington (for the officers) and Pte B E Tyrrell on behalf of the NCOs and men. This is almost certainly 645 Pte B Tyrrell who would later serve during the First World War. 

The battalion was headquartered at Bromley and recruited in the following parts of the county: 

A Company: Bromley 
B Company: Bromley 
C Company: Dartford 
D Company: Beckenham 
E Company: Sidcup, with a drill station at Dartford 
F Company: Chatham, with a drill station at Cliffe-at-Hoo 
G Company: Ditto 
H Company: Swanley 

The above information about company distribution is particularly useful if your ancestor enlisted with the 5th Royal West Kent Regiment prior to August 1914. For argument's sake, if he lived in Swanley he would have been most likely to have joined H Company; if he was in the immediate vicinity of Beckenham, D Company would have been the most likely company he served with. 

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the the 5th Royal West Kent Regiment. 

10 joined from the 2nd Volunteer Force Battalion on the 2nd April 1908 
226 joined on the 22nd March 1909 
1115 joined on the 21st September 1910 
1138 joined on the 13th January 1911 
1270 joined on the 24th February 1912 
1602 joined on the 7th April 1913 
1836 joined on the 4th May 1914 
1897 joined on the 8th August 1914 

Use the regimental numbers above to estimate when a man would have joined this battalion between 1908 and August 1914. For example 645 Pte B Tyrrell would have joined the regiment between March 1909 and September 1910 and in his case, he was winning prizes for shooting well before then. 


Remember. I research soldiers!



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