24 October 2020

Northumberland Fusiliers - 4th Battalion (Territorial Force)

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 4th (TF) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers between 1908 and 1914.

The 4th Battalion was a Territorial Force unit which was formed on the 1st April 1908 and, prior to this, had been the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. In 1908, as The Territorial Year Book for 1909 records, the battalion strength comprised just 17 officers and 388 men. 305 men attended camp in 1908 for 8 days and 61 attended for 15 days.

The following year, The Territorial Year Book for 1910 recorded that the strength of the battalion in 1909 had risen to 19 officers and 548 men. At the annual camp at Berwick that year, 72 officers and men attended for eight days whilst 360 officers and men attended for 15 days. 

The battalion was headquartered at Hexham and drew men from the following areas:

A Company: recruited in Hexham, with a drill station at Acomb. B Company: recruited at Bellingham with drill stations at Plashett, Otterburn & Woodburn. C Company: recruited at Haydon Bridge with drill stations at Allendale, Langley and Newburgh. D Company: recruited at Prudhoe with a drill station at Mickley. E Company: recruited in Corbridge. F Company: recruited at Haltwhistle. G Company: recruited in Newburn, with a drill station at Whorlton. H Company recruited at Prudhoe.

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the the 4th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. The majority of men signing up from April 1908 would have been men who, up until the 31st March, had been serving members of the 1st VF Battalion.

330 joined on the 20th May1908
398 joined on the 22nd January 1909
681 joined on the 17th May 1910
826 joined on the 28th February 1911
976 joined on the 4th April 1912
1190 joined on the 17th April 1913
1291 joined on the 9th January 1914
1461 joined on the 6th August 1914 

A reserve or ‘second-line’ battalion was formed at Blyth in November 1914, the original 4th Battalion now becoming the 1/4th Battalion and the new reserve battalion becoming the 2/4th Battalion. The photo on this post shows men of the 1/4th Battalion in November 1914. A 3/4th Battalion would be formed in June 1915. Neither the 2/4th nor the 3/4th Battalion served overseas, rather training men who were then sent overseas as part of drafts for the 1/4th Battalion.

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 had the number 500 and lived in the Corbridge area, he would have joined this battalion at some time between the 22nd January 1909 and the 17th May 1910. Furthermore, he would have served with E Company. 

 Remember. I research soldiers! Drop me a line if you need help. 

And finally... to search for photos of your Northumberland Fusiliers ancestors, check my British Army Ancestors website.

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