25 October 2020

Northumberland Fusiliers - 6th (City) Battalion (Territorial Force)

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 6th (City) Battalion (TF), Northumberland Fusiliers between 1908 and 1914.

The 6th Battalion was a Territorial Force unit which was formed on the 1st April 1908.  This had formerly been the 3rd Volunteer Battalion. In 1908, as The Territorial Year Book for 1909 records, the battalion strength comprised 25 officers and 680 men. 247 men attended camp in 1908 for 8 days and 436 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 29 officers and 884 men. At the annual camp that year, 242 officers and men attended for eight days whilst 630 officers and men attended for 15 days. 

The battalion was headquartered at Northumberland Road, Newcastle-on-Tyne and all companies drew men from the City of Newcastle.

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the the 6th 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 2nd VF Battalion.

482 joined on the 9th April 1908
1015 joined on the 3rd May 1909
1329 joined on the 29th August 1910
1420 joined on the 14th April 1911
1560 joined on the 22nd April 1912
1790 joined on the 15th May 1913
1875 joined on the 22nd January 1914
2500 joined on the 16th September 1914 

As can be seen from the patterns above, recruitment was steady throughout this period, and would continue to be strong during the First World War.

A reserve or ‘second-line’ battalion was formed at Blyth in December 1914, the original 6th Battalion now becoming the 1/6th Battalion and the new reserve battalion becoming the 2/6th Battalion. A 3/6th Battalion would be formed in June 1915. Neither the 2/6th nor the 3/6th Battalion would serve overseas, rather training men who were then sent overseas as part of drafts for the 1/6th Battalion.

Use the regimental numbers above to estimate when a man would have joined this battalion between 1908 and August 1914. For example, if he had the number 1234 he would have joined this battalion at some time between May 1909 and August 1910. 

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