24 October 2021

Connaught Rangers - 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion

Connaught Rangers, Gale & Polden

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the Connaught Rangers between 1908 and 1914. The Special Reserve and the Extra Reserve were the natural heirs to the militia battalions which, for the most part, they replaced in 1908. My 2009 article on the Creation of the Special Reserve in 1908 may be helpful here.

Both Connaught Rangers militia battalions survived in all but name when the Special Reserve was introduced in 1908. Men who were then serving with the 4th (Militia) Battalion, were asked if they wanted to contunue to serve with the newly formed 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, and men who were then serving with the 5th (Militia) Battalion, were asked if they wanted to contunue to serve with the newly formed 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion. 

Men joining the militia and special/extra reserve were not career soldiers. The Army Book for the British Empire, published in 1893 provided a useful overview of the militia when it noted:

"Its object is to maintain in the United Kingdom a trained body of men available "in case of imminent national danger or great emergency" to supplement the regular army in the defence of the country.

"It offers military service to the class of men willing to give it for a month in the year for training of for the term of their engagement on emergency, but whose avocations do not lead them to become either regular soldiers or volunteers."

Most 1914 Star rolls show plenty of evidence of Special Reserve and Extra Reserve men who served alongside career soldiers. Sometimes their numbers are prefixed by the number of their battalion - typically a 3/ or 4/ in most line infantry regiments - but just as often there will be no prefix.

Confusingly, for those with an interest in Connaught Rangers regimental numbers, the series used by the 3rd Battalion pretty much kept pace with the series used by the 4th Battalion, but both were distinct series and that is important to remember. Also important to note is that when these men were called up as drafts for the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions from August 1914, they retained their original 3rd and 4th Battalion regimental numbers.

Speical Reserve numbering appears to begin in August 1908 with numbers below circa 3000 all being men who formerly served with the 4th (Militia) Battalion and simply re-used their old militia regimental numbers. 

Here are some sample regimental numbers and joining dates for the 3rd Connaught Rangers:

2523 joined on 2nd August 1908 (but this number had originally been issued to this man when he joined the 4th (Militia) Bn pre-1899
3559 joined on 3rd November 1908
3669 joined on 11th September 1909
3699 joined on 1st February 1910
3869 joined on 1st February 1911
4093 joined on 29th August 1912
4155 joined on 21st January 1913
4261 joined on 12th January 1914
4311 joined on 10th September 1914
4483 joined on 7th October 1914
4740 joined on 2nd November 1914
5118 joined on 1st December 1914

Do also read of some of the articles towards the bottom of the Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 index
Remember. I research soldiers!

To search for Connaught Rangers photos, check my British Army Ancestors website 

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