This post will look at army service numbers issued to men joining the regular battalions of the King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC) between 1881 and August 1915.
There are over 69,000 King's Royal Rifle Corps service and pension records (for this regiment - and its antecedents) in various War Office series held at the National Archives. Clicking on the link will take you to the results on Findmypast but you will need a subscription or Pay-Per-View credits to actually view the records. Some of these records can also be viewed on-line on Ancestry although Findmypast has by far the most comprehensive service record collection.
Use the regimental numbers and dates on which these were issued, below, to determine parameters for when your own KRRC ancestor would have joined up. Note though that these numbers are only for regular enlistments. Special Reserve and Territorial Force battalions operated completely separate regimental number sequences.
315 joined on 10th December 1881
507 joined on 21st December 1882
876 joined on 21st April 1883
1616 joined on 21st January 1884
2638 joined on 10th January 1885
3489 joined on 18th March 1886
4221 joined on 9th November 1887
4289 joined on 11th January 1888
5054 joined on 13th March 1889
5566 joined on 15th January 1890
6211 joined on 31st January 1891
7056 joined on 2nd February 1892
7954 joined on 11th March 1893
8452 joined on 27th January 1894
8979 joined on 28th March 1895
9610 joined on 2nd October 1896
9795 joined on 5th January 1897
In accordance with Queen's Regulations, and fast approaching the 9,999 limit for numbering in Infantry of the Line battalions, the KRRC applied to the "Adjutant-General in sufficient time to obtain authority to commence a new [number] series." The regiment had reached 9881 by 22nd March 1897 and presumably reached 9999 by the end of that month or by the following month. Certainly by 14th May 1897, regular soldiers joining the KRRC were being given numbers in the high 200s.
674 joined on 18th January 1898
1732 joined on 2nd March 1899
2534 joined on 8th January 1900
3588 joined on 22nd April 1901
4311 joined on 18th March 1902
5327 joined on 9th January 1903
5795 joined on 11th January 1904
6542 joined on 28th June 1905
6858 joined on 2nd February 1906
8011 joined on 20th February 1907
8865 joined on 23rd June 1908
9166 joined on 6th January 1909
9551 joined on 12th January 1910
10334 joined on 2nd November 1911
10457 joined on 13th January 1912
11062 joined on 23rd April 1913
11374 joined on 17th January 1914
By 8th June 1914, numbering was up to 11615 for men joining one of the four regular battalions of the King's Royal Rifle Corps, and less than two months later Britain went to war with Germany. When it did so, new recruits to the KRRC were not given numbers from the series from that being used by the regular battalions. Instead, according to their status (for want of a better word), and the battalions they were joining, they were given numbers from several new series, these numbers prefixed with different letters. So A/ prefix men (up to the low 3900s at least) were Army Reservists who had been discharged or whose numbers had been re-allocated and who were now re-enlisting. R/ prefix men were New Army men; C/ prefix men were also New Army men joining the 16th to 21st Battalions. There were other prefixes too and I'll look at these and other KRRC battalion numbering patterns in future posts.
But during the First World War men could, and did, still enlist with the KRRC for regular terms of service (seven years with the Colours and five years on the Reserve), and army service numbers for these men continued to be drawn from the same series that had been in use before the First World war began.
11770 joined on 12th August 1914
12207 joined on 6th January 1915
12284 joined on 1st February 1915
12371 joined on 9th March 1915
12413 joined on 3rd April 1915
12508 joined on 6th May 1915
12671 joined on 30th June 1915
12745 joined on 3rd August 1915
Service records for all of the King's Royal Rifle Corps soldiers listed above (and those below) can be viewed on microfilm in the WO 363 (Burnt Documents) and WO 364 (Pension) series at The National Archives London. These papers are also now on-line via the Ancestry website. CLICK HERE for a FREE 14 day trial.
Also see my posts on:
Queen's and King's Regulations - Regimental Numbers
Regimental numbering series
The image on this post, taken from an old cigarette card, shows R/11941 George Stanley Peachment VC of the 2nd Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps. George originally joined the 5th KRRC on 18th April 1915, later transferring to the 2nd Battalion. The citation for his VC award reads:
"For most conspicuous bravery near Hulluch on 25th September 1915. During very heavy fighting, when our front line was compelled to retire in order to re-organise, Pte Peachment, seeing his Company Commander, Captain Dubs, lying wounded, crawled to assist him. The enemy's fire was intense, but, though there was a shell hole quite close, in which a few men had taken cover, Pte Peachment never thought of saving himself. He knelt in the open by his Officer and tried to help him, but while doing this he was first wounded by a bomb and a minute later mortally wounded by a rifle bullet. He was one of the youngest men in his battalion and gave this splendid example of courage and self-sacrifice."
Rifleman Peachment has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner Cemetery, France.
I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.