This post will look at regimental numbering in the 7th Battalion (Leeds Rifles), The Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) between 1908 and 1914.
Both the 7th and the 8th Battalions, formed in April 1908, were derived from the 3rd Volunteer Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment and both were headquartered at Carlton Barracks, Leeds; both drawing their men from Leeds. At the time when Britain went to war with Germany in August 1914, both battalions formed part of the 1st West Riding Infantry Brigade in the West Riding Division.
Both the 7th and the 8th Battalions operated independent regimental number series and the numbers and dates below are taken from surviving service and pension records of men who signed up with the 7th Battalion:
833 joined on the 10th July 1908
1020 joined on the 18th March 1909
1297 joined on the 10th March 1910
1445 joined on the 3rd February 1911
1556 joined on the 8th February 1912
1742 joined on the 21st April 1913
1895 joined on the 30th March 1914
2265 joined on the 11th August 1914
A reserve or ‘second-line’ battalion was formed at Leeds on the 15th September 1914, the original 7th Battalion now becoming the 1/7th Battalion and the new reserve battalion becoming the 2/7th Battalion. Although the battalion had been formed to take in men surplus to establishment and then to provide drafts for the 1/7th Battalion, the 2/7th ultimately served overseas in its own right from January 1917. Meanwhile, a 3/7th Battalion had been formed at Leeds in March 1915 but never served overseas. All three battalions - the 1/7th, 2/7th, 3/7th - issued numbers from the same regimental number series and from 1917 reissued numbers to serving soldiers and to new recruits from a new numbers' series which began at 265001 and extended to 305000.
Use the regimental numbers above, which were issued sequentially, to estimate when a man would have joined this battalion between 1908 and August 1914.
The photo on this post shows an unknown Leeds Rifles corporal.
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