This post will look at regimental numbering in the 4th (Territorial Force) Battalion, The Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment) between 1908 and 1914.
Until the 1st April 1908, the 4th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment had existed as two battalions: the 1st Wiltshire Volunteer Rifle Corps and the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment. The two battalions had represented the south and north of the county respectively and by March 1908, the 1st Wiltshire VRC numbered 782 in its ten companies whilst the 2nd VB numbered 785 officers and men. The county could, quite possibly, have sustained two Territorial Force battalions but it was decided that one battalion would suffice comprised of 5 companies - A, B, C, F & G - drawn from the 1st VRC and three companies - D, E & H - from the 2nd VB. By 1914 the battalion was headquartered at Fore Street, Trowbridge and drew its recruits from the following areas:
A Company: Salisbury, with a drill station at Farley
B Company: Wilton, with drill stations at Wishford and Barford
C Company: Trowbridge, with a drill station at Steeple Ashton
D Company: Chippenham, with a drill station at Calne
E Company: Devizes, with drill stations at Lavington and Bromham
F Company: Warminster, with drill stations at Westbury, Chitterne, Horningsham, Dilton's Marsh and Heytesbury
G Company: Bradford-on-Avon, with drill stations at Melksham and Holt
H Company: Swindon, with a drill station at Marlborough
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, Wiltshire Regiment
26 joined on the 1st April 1908
754 joined on the 6th January 1909
1293 joined on the 22nd February 1910
1445 joined on the 13th January 1911
1680 joined on the 31st July 1912
1812 joined on the 7th January 1913
2248 joined on the 8th August 1914
2388 joined on the 3rd September 1914
A reserve or ‘second-line’ battalion was formed at Trowbridge in October 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 Trowbridge in March 1915. The 2/4th Battalion was serving overseas (in India) by 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 225000.
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 1700 and lived in Chippenham, he would probably have joined the battalion in about August 1912 and probably served with D Company.
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