This post will look at regimental numbering in the 8th 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 8th Battalion:
274 joined on the 21st May 1908
560 joined on the 20th January 1909
1053 joined on the 3rd January 1910
1200 joined on the 9th January 1911
1255 joined on the 24th January 1912
1519 joined on the 28th April 1913
1769 joined on the 11th June 1914
1930 joined on the 7th August 1914
A reserve or ‘second-line’ battalion was formed at Leeds on the 14th September 1914, the original 8th Battalion now becoming the 1/8th Battalion and the new reserve battalion becoming the 2/8th Battalion. Although the battalion had been formed to take in men surplus to establishment and then to provide drafts for the 1/8th Battalion, the 2/8th eventually served overseas in its own right from January 1917, serving alongside the 2/7th. 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 305001 and extended to 330000.
Use the regimental numbers above, which were issued sequentially, to estimate when a man would have joined this battalion between 1908 and August 1914.
I have borrowed the photo on this post from the Leaves from a Leeds Album blog. It shows Arthur Shoesmith, formerly of the 3rd Volunteer Battalion, who later served with the 8th Battalion (regimental number 12) and ended the war as a company sergeant major.
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To search for photos of your West Yorkshire Regiment ancestors, check my British Army Ancestors website.