This post will look at regimental numbering in the 5th (Territorial Force) Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) 1908 and 1914.
Until the 1st April 1908, the 5th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment had been the 1st Volunteer Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment and by 1914 it was headquartered at York, its eight companies drawing men from the following areas:
A Company: York, with a drill station at Tadcaster
B Company: York
C Company: York
D Company: Selby
E Company: Harrogate
F Company: Harrogate, with a drill station at Wetherby
G Company: Knaresborough, with drill stations at Borobridge and Starbeck
H Company: Ripon, with a drill station at Pateley Bridge
By August 1914 the battalion formed part of the 1st West Riding Infantry Brigade in the West Riding Division.
Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the the 5th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment:
70 joined on the 1st April 1908
604 joined on the 4th March 1909
1101 joined on the 22nd December 1910
1114 joined on the 20th February 1911
1292 joined on the 7th March 1912
1378 joined on the 18th February 1913
1537 joined on the 24th February 1914
2001 joined on the 10th August 1914
A reserve or ‘second-line’ battalion was formed at York on the 28th September 1914, the original 5th Battalion now becoming the 1/5th Battalion and the new reserve battalion becoming the 2/5th Battalion. This battalion, only ever formed as draft-finding battalion for the 1/5th Battalion, eventually served overseas in its own right from February 1917. Meanwhile, a 3/5th Battalion had been formed at York in March 1915 but never served overseas. All three battalions - the 1/5th, 2/5th, 3/5th - 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 1432 and lived in Harrogate, he would have joined the battalion in 1913 - and probably served with E or F Company.
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