29 May 2021

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

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 5th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment between 1908 and 1914.

The 5th Battalion was formed on the 1st April 1908, taking in men from the former 2nd and 5th (Hay Tor) Volunteer Battalions which had been amalgamated to meet the requirements of the Territorial Forces Act of 1907. It was headquartered at Millbay, Plymouth.

The Territorial Year Book for 1909 recorded that the battalion strength was 33 officers and 693 men. Private F Slade of F Company (Torquay) was the best shot of the battalion and at the annual camp in 1908, 279 officers and men attended for eight days whilst 306 officers and men attended for 15 days.

The following year, The Territorial Year Book for 1910 recorded that the strength was 37 officers and 821 men. Corporal W Coways was the best shot this year and at the annual camp at Whitchurch Down in 1909, 273 officers and men had attended for 8 days whilst 493 officers and men had attended for 15 days. Camp for 1910 was scheduled for West Down South from the 23rd July.

The battalion's eight companies drew men from the following areas.

A Company: Tavistock

B Company: Plymouth
C Company: Plymouth, with drill stations at Ivybridge & Kingsbridge
D Company: Devonport
E Company: Newton Abbot, with a drill station at Chudleigh
F Company: Teignmouth, with drill stations at dawlish and Torquay
G Company: Moretion Hampstead, with drill stations at Bovey Tracey and Chagford
H Company: Totnes, with drill stations at Ashburton and Buckfastleigh

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 5th Battalion soldier lived as it would likely suggest the company he served with. For instance, men living in Devonport and wishing to join this battalion would have logically been assigned to D Company. (Note that such logic was largely abandoned after 4th August 1914).

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

861 joined on the 20th November 1908

978 joined on the 17th March 1909
1044 joined on the 20th January 1910
1354 joined on the 22nd February 1911
1591 joined on the 2nd September 1913
1803 joined on the 26th May 1914

1887 joined on the 7th August 1914

2094 joined on the 3rd 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 1900 he would have joined the battalion between August and September 1914.

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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