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