29 May 2021

Devonshire Regiment - 4th Battalion (TF) - 1908-1914

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 4th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment between 1908 and 1914.

The 4th Battalion was formed on the 1st April 1908, taking in men from the former 1st and 3rd Volunteer Battalions which had been amalgamated to meet the requirements of the Territorial Forces Act of 1907. The 1st Volunteer Battalion claimed to be the oldest Volunteer Battalion.

The Territorial Year Book for 1909 recorded that the battalion strength was 34 officers and 791 men. Private H Squires was the best shot of the battalion and at the annual camp at East Anstey in 1908, 403 officers and men attended for eight days whilst 222 officers and men attended for 15 days.

The following year, The Territorial Year Book for 1910 recorded that the strength was 28 officers and 932 men. At the annual camp at Whitchurch Down in 1909, 463 officers and men had attended for 8 days whilst 260 officers and men had attended for 15 days. Camp for 1910 was scheduled for West Down South from the 23rd July.

The battalion was headquartered at Exeter, and its eight companies drew men from the following areas.

A Company: Exeter, with a drill station at Broad Clyst

B & C Companies: Exeter

D Company: Exmouth, with drill stations at Budleigh Salterton and Lympstone
E Company: Tiverton, with drill stations at Bampton and Dulverton
F Company: Sidmouth, with drill stations at Ottery St Mary, Newton Poppleford, Honiton and Colyton
G Company: Cullompton, with drill stations at Burelscombe and Uffculme
H Company: Axminster, with drill stations at Chardstock and Lyme Regis

The battalion formed part of the Devon & Cornwall Infantry Brigade in the Wessex Division.

Understanding the company distribution is important if you know where your 4th Battalion soldier lived as it would likely suggest the company he served with. For instance, men living in Tiverton and wishing to join this battalion would have logically been assigned to E Company. (Note that such logic was abandoned after 4th August 1914).

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the 4th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment.

33 joined on the 1st April 1908

429 joined on the 2nd March 1909
1394 joined on the 7th October 1910
1411 joined on the 20th February 1911
1772 joined on the 6th December 1912
2234 joined on the 6th November 1913
2279 joined on the 5th August 1914
2440 joined on the 5th September 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 1555 he would have joined the battalion between February 1911 and December 1912.

The undated image on this post shows men of the 4th Battalion band. To search for photos of your Devonshire Regiment ancestors, check my British Army Ancestors website.

Remember. I research soldiers!

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