24 December 2020

Somerset Light Infantry - 4th Bn (TF)

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 4th (Territorial Force) Battalion, Prince Albert's (Somerset Light Infantry)  between 1908 and 1914. 

Until the 1st April 1908, the 4th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry had been the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry and by 1914 it was headquartered at Lower Bristol Road, Bath, its eight companies drawing men from the following areas: 

A Company: Bath
B Company: Bath
C Company: Keynsham, with drill stations at Brislington, Whitchurch and Bitton
D Company: Frome, with drill stations at Bruton, Mells and Wenstrow
E Company: Weston-super-Mare, with drill stations at Winscombe and Cheddar
F Company: Castle Cary, with drill stations at Shepton Mallet and Evercreech
G Company: Midsomer Norton, with drill stations at Radstock, Bishop Sutton and Peasedown St John
H Company: Glastonbury, with a drill station at Wells

By August 1914 the battalion formed part of the South Western Infantry Brigade in the Wessex Division. 

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the the 4th Battalion, Prince Albert's (Somerset Light Infantry).

480 joined on the 28th April 1908 
1058 joined on the 22nd March 1909
1204 joined on the 24th January 1910 
1458 joined on the 27th July 1911 
1555 joined on the 1st March 1912 
1815 joined on the 1st April 1913 
2082 joined on the 10th March 1914 
2497 joined on the 6th September 1914 

A reserve or ‘second-line’ battalion was formed at Bath in September 1914, the original 4th Battalion now becoming the 1/4th Battalion and the new reserve battalion becoming the 2/4th Battalion. A 3/4th Battalion would be formed at Bath in March 1915. The 2/4th Battalion was serving overseas (in India) as early as December 1914, but the 3/4th Battalion only ever remained in the UK, feeding recruits through to, for the most part, the 1/4th Battalions. All three battalions - the 1/4th, 2/4th, 3/4th - issued numbers from the same regimental number series and from 1917 reissued numbers to serving soldiers and to new recruits from a brand new numbers series which began at 200001 and extended to 240000. 

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 1234 and lived in Midsomer Norton, he would have joined the battalion in the first quarter of 1910 and probably served with G Company. 

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To search for photos of your Somerset Light Infantry ancestors, check my British Army Ancestors website.

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