5 April 2021

Cheshire Regiment - 5th Battalion (TF) - 1908-1914

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 5th (Earl of Chester's) Battalion, Cheshire Regiment between 1908 and 1914.

The 5th Battalion was formed on the 1st April 1908, taking in men from the former 2nd and 3rd Volunteer Battalions. The Territorial Year Book for 1909 recorded that the battalion strength was 28 officers and 754 men. The battalion had a firing range at Altcar, 26 miles from its HQ at 8 Black Friars, Chester, and Colour Sergeant W H Harvey was the best shot of the battalion. At the annual camp at Abergavenny in 1908, 177 officers and men attended for eight days whilst 477 officers and men attended for 15 days.

The following year, the The Territorial Year Book for 1910 recorded that the strength was 30 officers and 895 men. Private F Osmond was the best shot of the unit and at the annual camp in 1909 (at Conway), 95 officers and men had attended for 8 days whilst 665 officers and men had attended for 15 days.

By 1914 the battalion was headquartered at Vounteer Street, Chester and the battalion's companies drew men from the following areas.

A Company: Altrincham, with a drill station at Knutsford
B Company: Chester, with a drill station at Kelsall
C Company: Sale, with a drill station at Cheadle
D Company: Hartford
E Company: Chester
F Company: Frodsham, with a drill station at Lymm
G Company: Runcorn
H Company: Hartford

The battalion formed part of the Cheshire Infantry Brigade in the Welsh Division.

Understanding the company distribution is important if you know where your 5th Battalion soldier lived as it would likely suggest the company he served with. For instance, men living in Hartford and wishing to join this battalion would have logically been assigned to D or H Company. (Note that such logic went out of the window after 4th August 1914).

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the 5th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment.

104 joined on the 7th April 1908
565 joined on the 17th February 1909
1210 joined on the 16th February 1910
1285 joined on the 14th February 1911
1512 joined on the 22nd April 1912
1723 joined on the 3rd February 1913
1961 joined on the 26th February 1914
2212 joined on the 9th August 1914

Use these regimental numbers to approximate when a man would have joined this battalion between 1908 and August 1914. For example if your man's number was 1234 he would have joined the battalion between February 1910 and February 1911. 

The photo on this post was originally published in The Tatler on the 20th October 1915 and shows officers of the 2/5th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment.

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