24 October 2020

Northumberland Fusiliers - 7th Battalion (Territorial Force)

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 7th (TF) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers between 1908 and 1914.

The 7th Battalion was a Territorial Force unit which was formed on the 1st April 1908.  This was an entirely new formation and had no Volunteer Force predecessor. In 1908, as The Territorial Year Book for 1909 records, the battalion strength comprised 14 officers and 580 men. 177 men attended camp in 1908 for 8 days and 177 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 17 officers and 742 men. At the annual camp in 1909, 181 officers and men attended for eight days whilst an impressive 490 officers and men attended for 15 days. 

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

A Company recruited in Morpeth. B Company recruited in Ashington. C Company recruited in Belford and had drill stations at Ford, Wooler and Chatton. D Company recruited in Alnwick. E Company recruited in Amble, with drill stations at Broomhill and Warkworth. F Company also recruited at Alnwick and had a drill station at Rothbury. G Company recruited in Berwick-on-Tweed, as did H Company which also had a drill station at Scremerston.

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the the 7th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. 

149 joined on the 7th April 1908
709 joined on the 18th February 1909
849 joined on the 5th May 1911
1307 joined on the 1st November 1912
1467 joined on the 20th February 1913
1656 joined on the 15th April 1914
1799 joined on the 6th August 1914 

As can be seen from the patterns above, recruitment was patchy with just 140 men recruited between February 1909 and May 1911, and then a surge in recruiting between May 1911 and November 1912 which saw over 450 men signing up.

A reserve or ‘second-line’ battalion was formed at Alnwick in September 1914, the original 7th Battalion now becoming the 1/7th Battalion and the new reserve battalion becoming the 2/7th Battalion. A 3/7th Battalion would be formed in June 1915. The 2/7th Battalion would later serve overseas in Egypt as a Garrison Battalion from 1917, but the 3/7th Battalion never served overseas, rather training men who were then sent overseas as part of drafts for the 1/7th and 2/7th Battalions.

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 1500 and lived in the Morpeth area, he would have joined this battalion at some time between February 1913 and April 1914 and furthermore, he would probably have served with A Company. 

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

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