31 December 2010

Somerset Light Infantry 1881-1914


Prince Albert’s Light Infantry (Somersetshire Regiment) was formed on 1st July 1881 from the 13th (1st Somersetshire) (Prince Albert’s Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot.

The newly formed regiment was established as the county regiment for Somersetshire and started numbering from 1 in 1881. On the 13th December 1881, Prince Albert’s Light Infantry (Somersetshire Regiment) became Prince Albert’s (Somersetshire Light Infantry). Numbering in the regiment was unaffected.

This post will look at army service numbers issued to men joining the regular battalions of the Somerset Light Infantry between the regiment's formation in 1881 and the outbreak of war in August 1914. As with all my other posts on army service numbers, what follows should be considered a snapshot of numbering in the regiment; a series of break points published here to help researchers determine when their own Somerset Light Infantry relative joined the regiment.


There are over 20,000 Somerset Light Infantry serviceand pension records (for this regiment - and its antecedents) in various War Office series held at the National Archives. Clicking on the link above 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.

I've compiled the list below as a result of looking at service records in the WO 97, WO 363 and WO 364 series (and the majority of these records are in WO 364). These are held at the National Archives in their original state (WO 97) and on microfilm, although the WO 363 and WO 364 records are now available via both the Ancestry website and Findmypast. Findmypast has indexed far more of these records than you'll find on Ancestry so their version of these crucial records is well worth checking out. Ancestry is also currently offering a FREE 14 day trial. The WO 97 Chelsea Pensioner records (and many other smaller series) are accessible through Find My Past.  

19 joined on 13th September 1881
238 joined on 21st December 1882
501 joined on 11th October 1883
846 joined on 5th December 1884
1059 joined on 22nd January 1885
1377 joined on 8th January 1886
1841 joined on 1st January 1887
2229 joined on 16th February 1888
2449 joined on 14th January 1889
2744 joined on 6th February 1890
3163 joined on 30th May 1891
3486 joined on 14th January 1892
3960 joined on 13th March 1893
4047 joined on 22nd January 1894
4359 joined on 18th March 1895
4665 joined on 9th June 1896
4823 joined on 22nd April 1897
5101 joined on 15th April 1898
5388 joined on 15th February 1899
5891 joined on 15th February 1900

During the South African War, the Somerset Light Infantry raised one volunteer service company and allocated numbers within the range 6781 to 6915 to the men who joined it. The 1st VSC started numbering in January 1900 and was complete by February.

6049 joined on 18th June 1901
6398 joined on 9th April 1902
6753 joined on 19th February 1903
7262 joined on 7th March 1904
7628 joined on 25th January 1905
7880 joined on 22nd January 1906
8097 joined on 9th January 1907
8583 joined on 20th January 1908
8881 joined on 3rd December 1909
8936 joined on 14th February 1910
9182 joined on 25th April 1911
9347 joined on 21st February 1912

In 1912 the regiment became Prince Albert’s (Somerset Light Infantry). Numbering was again unaffected.

9546 joined on 3rd February 1913
9748 joined on 9th June 1914

The First World War

When Britain went to war in August 1914, men joining the new service battalions were issued with numbers from the same series in use by the two regular battalions.

Recruitment Rates 1881-1911

Between 1st July 1881 and 30th May 1891, The Somerset Light Infantry recruited 3,163 men, an average of 319 men each year. Of the sixty-nine infantry regiments recruiting at this time, the Somerset Light Infantry was the fifty-first most effective recruiter of infantry.

Recruitment dropped away further over the next decade and up until the 18th June 1901, the regiment added just under 2,900 men to its books, an average of 286 new recruits a year.

Recruiting in the regiment picked up in the 1900s however, and by 25th April 1911 the regiment was issuing number 9182 to its latest recruit. For the decade, the regiment recruited at an average rate of 319 men per annum, and for the years since July 1881 it had averaged 308 new soldiers each year.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

Further Reading

The following titles have been re-printed by The Naval & Military Press.

History of the Somerset Light Infantry 1685-1914

History of the Somerset Light Infantry 1914-1919

The History and the Book of Remembrance of the 1/5th Battalion (Prince Albert's) Somerset Light Infantry
In actual fact this history covers the 1/5th and 2/5th Battalions and includes a roll of honour for each.

9 December 2010

Northamptonshire Regiment - 4th Battalion


This post will look at numbering in the 4th (Territorial Force) Battalion of The Northamptonshire Regiment between 1908 and 1916. It is respectfully dedicated to the two officers and 88 other ranks who died as a result of operations on Gallipoli.

The 4th Northants Regiment was formed on the 1st April 1908, its initial composition largely drawn from men who had previously served with the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. There seems to have been an enthusiastic take-up in Northamptonshire with close to a thousand men joining the battalion by the end of that year. Numbering began at 1 in 1908.

73 joined on 8th April 1908
1045 joined on 17th February 1909
1339 joined on 16th February 1910
1478 joined on 24th January 1911
1670 joined on 31st January 1912
1889 joined on 21st January 1913
2276 joined on 5th August 1914
2407 joined on 10th September 1914
2618 joined on 1st October 1914
3215 joined on 10th November 1914

A reserve battalion was formed at Northampton on the 27th November and this became the 2/4th Battalion whilst the original 4th Battalion now became the 1/4th.

3684 joined on 14th December 1914

As well as recruits into the 2/4th Battalion, I have men in my Northants database who were also signing up for service with supernumerary companies. These men were also numbered in the same number series as the regular TF recruits, albeit their four digit numbers were converted to five digit numbers in 1915 by prefixing their original numbers with a 2. So for instance, 3893 George Gossage who joined on the 2nd March 1915, was later re-numbered 23893.

3761 joined on 5th January 1915
3851 joined on 8th February 1915

A second reserve battalion - designated the 3/4th Battalion - was formed at Northampton on the 12th February 1915.

3908 joined on 15th March 1915
4005 joined on 16th April 1915
4135 joined on 3rd May 1915
4369 joined on 7th June 1915
4475 joined on 2th July 1915
4531 joined on 7th August 1915
4712 joined on 10th September 1915
4762 joined on 8th October 1915
4917 joined on 8th November 1915
5059 joined on 2nd December 1915
5275 joined on 28th January 1916
5341 joined on 8th February 1916
5463 joined on 3rd March 1916
5473 joined on 4th April 1916
6210 joined on 24th June 1916
6549 joined on 3rd July 1916
6994 joined on 29th September 1916
7319 joined on 14th November 1916

A word of warning. Whilst the numbers presented here run in a sequential order, there are gaps and it is quite possible that blocks of numbers within this sequence of 7000 numbers were taken out of sequence and issued overseas to men transferring in from other regiments.

All of the number / enlistment date information above has come about as a result of trawling through service records, pension records and medal index cards. These can be viewed at the National Archives or accessed on line via Ancestry.co.uk. Other acknowledgements due on this post are to The Long, Long Trail website for information regarding the formation of the second and third line battalions, and to Martin Kender whose correspondence suggested this post.

The photo of the young second lieutenant on this post comes courtesy of Martin Kender and shows Alban Goderick Arthur Hodges photographed in 1915 shortly before his departure for Gallipoli. He was born in 1893 and happily survived the war and a good many years after that. His medal index card notes that he arrived overseas as a lieutenant with the Northants Regiment in August 1915 and later transferred to the RAF. He received the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals and silver war badge. The latter was sent to him at 10 St Barnabas Street, London SW1.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

19 November 2010

Ox & Bucks Light Infantry - 4th Battalion


I chanced upon the plaque above when I was in the village of Writtle in Essex recently. It was screwed to a wooden bench next to the bus stop and reads:

T4
OXF & BUCKS
PRESENTED TO THE PARISH OF WRITTLE
BY THE 1/4TH OXF & BUCKS LT INFTY
OLD COMRADES ASSOCIATION IN APPRECIATION
OF THE HOSPITALITY SHOWN BY THE
PEOPLE OF WRITTLE TO THE BATTALION
WHILST BILLETTED THERE FROM
AUGUST 1914 TO MARCH 1915

I have no idea when the plaque was presented but I would imagine it has outlived several wooden benches and may indeed have originally been sited somewhere else. I've also rotated the photograph. If you're in Writtle and you want to read the original, you'll have to tilt your head ninety degrees to the right.

All of the following information comes from service papers in WO 363 and WO 364 - and all of which are accessible via Ancestry.

535 joined on 9th April 1908
764 joined on 19th February 1909
1224 joined on Christmas Day 1910
1253 joined on 3rd February 1911
1529 joined on 12th March 1912
1735 joined on 10th January 1913
2082 joined on 5th March 1914
2381 joined on 30th August 1914
2624 joined on 1st September 1914
3441 joined on 6th October 1914
3630 joined on 30th November 1914

In October 1914 it appears that men from the Oxfordshire National Reserve were drafted in to the 2/4th Battalion to form supernumerary companies. From the research I have done, these men mostly appear to have been in their 40s and 50s (and possibly even 60s), and most of them had prior service, either as Volunteers or regulars.

It looks to me as though the block of numbers 3700 to at least 3929 was set aside for these supernumerary men, and their attestation papers - those that I have come across at least - are all remarkably similiar in that:

1. They are all stamped: Oxfordshire National Reserve, followed by the Company number
2. They all signed up for one year's service in the United Kingdom
3. They were all posted to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion [ie the 2/4th], with the word "Supernumerary" stamped below this.

The lowest number that I have come across for these supernumerary men is 3705 who joined on the 2nd October 1914, and the highest, as I have mentioned before, 3929 on the 19th November 1914. Within this grouping it looks as though the earliest recruits formed No 1 Company, the next batch Number 2 Company, and the later enlistments, Number 3 Company. I have not come across anybody in a No 4 Company - but I wouldn't bet against it either.

By the time we get to the 18th January 1915, 4088 is also joining the 2/4th Battalion, not as a supernumerary man however, rather another eager recruit to line up against the enemy overseas. All of which explains why there appears to be such a surge in recruiting in the 4th Ox and Bucks between the issue of number 3630 on 30th November, and number 4088 in January 1915. There was a surge, but over 200 of these men were supernumerary men, and all had been numbered between 3705 and 3929 before number 3630 even presented himself.

As always, I'd be interested to learn more from an Ox and Bucks expert. I'm certainly not one; more of an army numbers geek.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

9 November 2010

Campaign Medal & Award Rolls 1793-1949

I've just been alerted to the UK Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls 1793-1949 which is  new on Ancestry. I know a number of medal collectors read this blog, and this Ancestry release will be of particular interest to them - as it is to me. This from Ancestry:

"This database contains lists of more than 2.3 million officers, enlisted personnel and other individuals entitled to medals and awards commemorating their service in campaigns and battles for the British Army between 1793 and 1949. The original medal rolls were compiled by the War Office and are housed at the National Archives of the UK in Kew, Surrey. The rolls include medals awarded for British campaigns in Europe, India, Egypt, Sudan, South Africa, West and Central Africa, China, the Middle East, and elsewhere during the height of the British Empire. The collection does not include WWI or WWII medal and award rolls.
"While medal rolls do not provide very detailed information, the records can include the name, date, and location of a campaign or service, the soldier’s name, and the regiment or unit name and regimental number. Most rolls were arranged by campaign (or battle), then regiment, rank and surname.


"The records in this collection can be searched by name, campaign, service location and date, and regimental number. Volumes may also be browsed by region, campaign, and regiment or unit."

This is a very nice addition to Ancestry's offering. It is however, only available as part of the Premium or Worldwide subscription packages. Also see: UK Naval Medal and Award Rolls 1793-1972.

You can find some medal rolls freely available online.  Check these FREE medal rolls online which I have drawn attention to on my Army Ancestry blog.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

18 October 2010

Royal Horse Guards: 1881-1914


I've not covered any of the Household Cavalry regiments to date and so, to rectify this omission, I list below - with three gaps - sample numbers from the series in use by The Royal Horse Guards (The Blues), between 1881 and 1914.

The numbers and dates have all been gleaned from service records at the National Archives, the majority of which cam also be found by searching on Ancestry. Click on the link for a FREE 14-day trial.

1126 joined on 3rd February 1881
1174 joined on 14th January 1882
1229 joined on 31st March 1883
1264 joined on 19th January 1884
1313 joined on 15th January 1885
1382 joined on 9th January 1886

In May 1886, for reasons which are unclear to me at present, The Royal Horse Guards started a new number series, number 2 joining on the 6th May 1886.

23 joined on 2nd February 1887
80 joined on 29th May 1888
117 joined on March 19th 1889
220 joined on 4th september 1890
271 joined on 12th september 1891
301 joined on 20th February 1892
368 joined on 6th February 1893
426 joined on 31st January 1894
481 joined on 1st February 1895
547 joined on 10th January 1896
625 joined on 1st March 1897
690 joined on 21st May 1898
1899 - No data
815 joined on 15th March 1900
1901 - No data
984 joined on 18th February 1902
1077 joined on 18th September 1903
1122 joined on 8th June 1904
1187 joined on 12th october 1905
1906 - No data
1277 joined on 10th september 1907
1302 joined on 15th january 1908
1371 joined on 27th September 1909
1394 joined on 22nd Janaury 1910
1469 joined on 26th June 1911
1514 joined on 1st April 1912
1567 joined on 9th April 1913
1605 joined on 10th February 1914
1684 joined on 31st August 1914

As can be seen, recruitment into the regiment was incredibly slow and, apart from a small surge between October 1914 and January 1915, continued at the same slow rate throughout the First World War.

The image on this page shows a troop of Royal Horse Guards riding through Cork in 1903. I've borrowed it from the Cork Past and Present website.

Also see my post on numbering in the Royal Horse Guards between 1867 and 1880.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.


27 September 2010

Lancashire Fusiliers - 6th Battalion (TF)

This post will look at numbering in the 6th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, between 1908 and 1914. All numbers and enlistment / joining dates below have been gleaned from a study of attestation papers in WO 363 and WO 364. These papers are also accessible on-line via Ancestry.co.uk which is currently offering a FREE 14-day trial.

I have previously referred to the 6th Lancashire Fusiliers in an earlier post which sought ot identify those Territorial Force battalions which, when the TF was formed in 1908, continued with the same number series which had been used by their Volunteer predecessors.

For instance, when Harry Jennings Sowray attested with the 6th LF on the 1st April 1908 he was 44 years old, a serving member with the 2nd Volunteer Battlion, Lancashire Fusiliers, and a time-expired regular having served with the 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. His 'new' 6th LF number - 4988 - was the same number he'd been given when he joined the 2nd VB LF on the 2nd April 1892. Similarly, 5314 Abraham Grindrod who signed up with the 6th LF on the 28th April 1908, had originally been given that number when he joined the 2nd VB LF on the 22nd June 1894.

As far as new recruits were concerned, numbering in April 1908 probably started at around 7670, and I base this assumption only on the known enlistment of John Hynes who was given the number 7667 when he joined the 2nd VB on the 27th March 1908 - and carried on using it when he joined the 6th Battalion (TF) shortly afterwards.

7831 joined on 13th January 1909
8166 joined on 1st February 1910
8417 joined on 23rd January 1911
8548 joined on 6th March 1912
8774 joined on 3rd February 1913
9101 joined on 13th March 1914
9143 joined on 4th August 1914
9474 joined on 3rd September 1914
10420 joined on 21st October 1914
10432 joined on 30th November 1914
10466 joined on 3rd December 1914

Interestingly, by the time the TF was re-numbered in 1917, there were around fifty 6th Battalion men still serving who had previously seen service with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion. One of these men was Harry Jennings Sowray who was given the new number 240008 and who would have been, by then, around 53 years old. Nor was he the longest serving man on the 6th Battalion books in 1917. His number suggests that there were seven Other Ranks whose service pre-dated his own.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

10 September 2010

The King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment - 1st & 2nd Battalions

This post will look at numbering in the regular battalions of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment between 1881 and 1914. The regiment was formed on the 1st July 1881 from the 4th (King's Own Royal) Regiment of Foot and was established as the newly formed regiment for North Lancashire. It started numbering from 1 in July 1881.

There are over 33,000 King's Own (Royal Lancaster) 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.

10 joined on 9th July 1881
271 joined on 16th December 1882
397 joined on 2nd June 1883
599 joined on 21st March 1884
1012 joined on 12th March 1885
1632 joined on 22nd July 1886
1923 joined on 1st January 1887
2300 joined on 19th January 1888
2561 joined on 15th January 1889
2981 joined on 11th June 1890
3244 joined on 24th June 1891
3506 joined on 31st January 1892
4061 joined on 24th July 1893
4317 joined on 17th February 1894
4650 joined on 12th January 1895
5019 joined on 29th January 1896
5311 joined on 3rd May 1897
5671 joined on 14th April 1898
5923 joined on 24th March 1899
6288 joined on 2nd April 1900

The 1st Volunteer Battalion, The King’s Own, sent over 150 of its volunteers to South Africa to serve with the 2nd Battalion. Such was the number of men wishing to serve with the Volunteers that a 2nd Volunteer Battalion was formed and its headquarters was set up at Lancaster. Those volunteers who made it to South Africa fought in several actions and guarded prisoners at Ladysmith.

Numbers within the range to 7200 to 7352 were issued to men serving in the 1st VSC. Numbers 7353 to 7448 were issued to men serving with the 2nd VSC. Numbers 7449 to 7468 were issued to men serving with the 3rd VSC and – as stated on the QSA medal roll – the Volunteer Service Section.

6665 joined on 4th January 1901
7003 joined on 17th February 1902
7652 joined on 5th January 1903
8079 joined on 11th January 1904
8489 joined on 9th January 1905
8847 joined on 9th March 1906
9134 joined on 1st January 1907
9800 joined on 20th August 1908
10076 joined on 21st April 1909
10178 joined on 14th February 1910
10439 joined on 20th April 1911
10649 joined on 3rd May 1912
10836 joined on 3rd January 1913
11105 joined on 3rd February 1914

In August 1914, Britain went to war, and the newly forming service battalions all drew their numbers from the same series that had previously been the sole preserve of the two regular battalions. Latterly, service battalions prefixed their numbers with the letter K/, although this practice does not appear to have been used consistently.

All information on this post comes as a result of trawling through service records held in the WO 363 and WO 364 series at the National Archives, and to a lesser extent the WO 97 series, also held at TNA. Ancestry.co.uk is currently offering a 14 day FREE trial (which means you can look at WO 363 and WO 364), whilst an almost complete collection of the WO 97 series is accessible via findmypast.co.uk. Note that pre 1914 pension records are accessible online via Findmypast whilst service and pension records for the First World War have been digitised by Findmypast and Ancestry - separate searches for service records and pension records. Note that there are different versions of these indexes, Findmypast having indexed more records than you'll find on Ancestry.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

26 August 2010

The Royal Scots - 1st & 2nd Battalions - 1881-1914

This post will look at numbering in the two regular battalions of The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) between 1881 and 1914. The regiment was formed on the 1st July 1881 from the 1st, or The Royal Scots Regiment. The regiment was established as the county regiment for Berwickshire, Edinburgh (Midlothian), Haddingtonshire (East Lothian) and Linlithgow (West Lothian). It started numbering from 1 in 1881.

All of these records survive. Findmypast has over 28,000 Royal Scots First World War service records and over 11,000 Royal Scots service records from before the First World War. This latter selection includes officers' records. Clicking on the links will take you to the search results.

Here are the regimental number joining dates for the Royal Scots from 1881.

191 joined on 3rd September 1881
679 joined on 21st October 1882
795 joined on 29th March 1883
1358 joined on 17th January 1884
1840 joined on 7th January 1885
2267 joined on 11th March 1886
2485 joined on 1st January 1887

On 1st May 1887, Berwickshire was transferred to the district administered by the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

2798 joined on 23rd February 1888
3198 joined on 15th January 1889
3499 joined on 20th January 1890
4016 joined on 8th January 1891
4312 joined on 9th March 1892
4820 joined on 3rd July 1893
4998 joined on 9th January 1894
5289 joined on 26th March 1895
5578 joined on 17th February 1896
5891 joined on 11th January 1897
6317 joined on 14th January 1898
6652 joined on 16th January 1899
7020 joined on 3rd January 1900

The Second South African War 1899-1902
During the South African War, 117 men from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Edinburgh (City) Rifle Volunteer Corps served with the Royal Scots in South Africa. The regiment raised three volunteer service companies in all, and on 17th February 1900, the 1st VSC comprising Captain R W Campbell, Lieutenant M W Henderson, Lieutenant R G W Adams and 112 men, embarked aboard SS Gascon for South Africa.

Numbers within the range 8073 to 8185 were issued in early 1900 to men joining the 1st Volunteer Service Company.

Numbers within the range 7169 to 7457 were issued to some 1st VSC men, but primarily to men joining the 2nd VSC (referred for the most part on the Queen’s South Africa medal roll as “M” Volunteer Company). These numbers appear to follow on sequentially from numbers being issued to men joining the Royal Scots as ordinary recruits and do not take cognizance of Army Order 29’s stipulation regarding the “interval of a clear thousand between the last number received by an ordinary recruit, at the date on which the Volunteer numbering begins, and the first Volunteer number.”

Numbers 8186 through to 8297 were all issued in 1900 to men who joined the 3rd Volunteer Service Company.

7369 joined on 15th January 1901
7958 joined on 13th February 1902
8400 joined on 17th January 1903
8777 joined on 4th January 1904
9170 joined on 2nd February 1905
9535 joined on 2nd April 1906
10038 joined on 15th May 1907
10198 joined on 4th January 1908
10457 joined on 7th January 1909
10580 joined on 1st February 1910
10850 joined on 30th January 1911
11024 joined on 2nd January 1912
11346 joined on 1st January 1913
11562 joined on 11th February 1914

The First World War

When Britain went to war in August 1914, men joining the new service battalions were issued with numbers from the same series that had, up until that point, been the sole preserve of the regiment’s two regular battalions.

Recruitment rates 1881-1911

During the first ten years of its existence, the Royal Scots recruited well over 4,000 men, an annual recruitment rate (calculated between July 1881 and January 1891) of 401 men; the fourth best performance in the British Army.

By 1901 however, fourth had turned to twenty-fourth with the regiment adding 3,700 men to the 28th August 1901; an annual average of 348 men per annum.

Recruiting dropped away again in the early 1900s but nevertheless, by 30th January 1911, the regiment was issuing number 10850 to its latest recruit, an annual average of 335 men recruited.

Sources

All of the number and joining date information posted here, has been compiled as a result of looking at service records in the WO 363, WO 364 and WO 97 series at the National Archives. The first two series are on-line via Ancestry and Findmypast whilst WO 97 is only available on Findmypast. Both sites continue to be invaluable resources for the military historian.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

Further Reading

The following titles are all available from Naval & Military Press. Descriptions courtesy Naval & Military Press.

http://www.naval-military-press.com/home.php?bid=6&partner=PaulNixon

Regimental Records of the Royal Scots, the First or Royal Regiment of Foot 1590-1911
This huge history covers the entire early years of the regiment from their garrisoning of Tangier in 1680. The regiment fought in the Duke of Marlborough's four great victories at Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet, the expedition to Louisburg, the retreat to Corunna, the Peninsular war battles of Busaco, Vittoria Salamanca, San Sebastian, and the Nive; the Waterloo campaign, the Crimean War and the Boer War. This book contains all you would expect in such a record: not only detailed accounts of all the campaigns and actions, but officers' rolls, marching songs, regimental crests and insignia, uniform illustrations, and portraits of the regiment's colonels.

Diary of Services of the First Battalion during the Boer War
This brief volume is a battalion history of the 1st Royal Scots' deployment in South Africa. It is illustrated with rare photographs and includes a Roll of Honour and casualty list.

Royal Scots 1914-1919
An impressive history by the author of The History of the 9th (Scottish) Division, also an impressive piece of work. The first chapter in the book is by way of an introduction to all the battalions which constituted the Regiment, the locations of the existing battalions and the creation of all the wartime battalions. In an appendix there is a brief account of all the battalions that remained in the UK, and another deals with the 19th Labour and 1st Garrison Battalion. This leaves the rest of the book devoted to the fifteen front line battalions which, between them, saw service in France and Flanders, Gallipoli, Egypt, Palestine and Macedonia.

The book is arranged on a chronological basis with each chapter covering a specific period of time whether on the Western Front any other front where the Regiment fought (for example there are three chapters on Gallipoli covering that campaign from start to finish), and the fortunes of every battalion involved in that particular period are described. There is no Roll of Honour nor list of Honours and Awards though citations for the seven VC winners form a separate appendix. 825pp and 33pp index.


25 August 2010

Findmypast



I've always found Ancestry invaluable for WW1 records (and for records a good deal earlier than this, for that matter), but it's worth pointing out that Findmypast is the only genealogical company which has the WO 97 series (British Army Pensions) and the final tranche of this series is due for release next month.

The WO 97 series is broken down as follows:

1760-1854 184,650 records, 1,003,794 images
1855-1872 96,434 records, 437,825 images
1873-1882 97,515 records, 540,423 images
1883-1900 312,921 records, 2,218,687 images
1901-1913 303,000 records, approx 2,100,000 images

Following hot on the heels of WO 97 will be another critical series, WO 96; half a million militia records going back as far as 1806 and comprised of nearly three and a half million images.

Unfortunately, records from the WO 97 series are not currently available as part of Find My Past's free trial, but the series is certainly one that should not be overlooked by those with ancestors who served in the regular British Army between 1760 and 1913.

Pictured above, James Goodson photographed in 1902 shortly after he joined the Royal Artillery. I interviewed him, aged 104, at the Royal Star and Garter Home in Richmond in the 1990s and when I get a chance, I'll post a transcript of that meeting on my WW1 veterans' blog.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

21 August 2010

Militiaman's Small Book (1892)

Courtesy of my good pal Graham Stewart - to whom, many thanks - I am posting an example of a militiaman's Small Book from 1892. The Small Book, which was to be retained by the militiaman, gives useful detail and information about the expectations of a recruit and also some of the more pertinent rules and regulations pertaining to his service.












I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

16 August 2010

East Yorkshire Regiment - 4th Battalion

This post will look at numbering in the 4th (Territorial Force) Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment between 1908 and December 1914. Information on this post has been compiled as a result of trawling through service records in the WO 363 and WO 364 series at the National Archives. Ancestry has also made these available on-line via it's paid subscription service but also available as part of a FREE 14 day trial.

Prior to April 1908, the 4th East Yorkshire Regiment was the 1st Volunteer Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment and numbering in that battalion had reached the 7000s by March 1908. The newly formed 4th Battalion commenced a new number series from 1 in April 1908.

209 joined on 8th April 1908
804 joined on 10th May 1909
1072 joined on 4th April 1910
1210 joined on 23rd March 1911
1386 joined on 30th May 1912
1517 joined on 15th April 1913
1768 joined on 24th March 1914
2084 joined on 5th August 1914

A second, reserve battalion was formed in September 1914. The 4th Battalion now became the 1/4th Battalion whilst the reserve battalion became the 2/4th. The same series of numbers was used for both battalions and would continue to be used when a 3/4th Battalion was formed in June 1915.

2567 joined on 21st September 1914
2679 joined on 6th October 1914
2858 joined on 2nd November 1914
3181 joined on 2nd December 1914

The battalion originally consisted of eight companies. Headquarters and companies A to F were located at Londesborough Barracks, Hull. Companies G and H recruited from East Hull. In August 1914 the battalion formed part of the York and Durham Light Infantry Brigade with the Northumbrian Division.

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5 August 2010

Hampshire Yeomanry (Carabiniers) 1908-1914


This post will look at numbering in the Hampshire Yeomanry (Carabiniers) between 1908 and 1914.

The regiment started numbering from 1 in April 1908, those men transferring from the Hampshire Imperial Yeomanry being issued with new numbers (although their original numbers, neatly crossed out) appear on many attestation papers . The majority of 1908 enlistments were men who had formerly served in the Imperial Yeomanry. For example, Albert Charles Blanchard who was given the number 24 was originally number 880 and had enlisted in 1901.

The regiment was headquartered at Winchester and formed part of the 1st South Western Mounted Brigade. Its four squadrons were disposed as follows:

A Squadron: Portsmouth
B Squadron: Winchester
C Squadron: Southampton
D Squadron: Bournemouth

The regiment raised two reserve battalions during the First World War. The 2/1st Battalion was formed in October 1914 and remained in the UK until May 1918 when it moved to Ireland. The 3/1st was formed in 1915 as a training unit and never went overseas. All of the numbers and dates below are taken from surviving service records in the WO 363 and WO 364 records' series at the National Archives, and also on-line through Ancestry.

492 George Lester joined on 17th February 1909
578 John Henderson Sparkman joined on 10th March 1910
668 Henry Bundy joined on 7th April 1911
749 Stewart Allin joined on 23rd January 1912
812 Ralph Norris joined on 16th January 1913
950 William Jennings joined on 24th March 1914
988 Reginald Maynard joined on 7th August 1914
1145 Philip Berry joined on 17th September 1914
1235 William Burleton joined on 5th October 1914
1383 Alfred Butler joined on 9th November 1914
1527 Jack Bartlett joined on 14th December 1914

For more information on this regiment see the Hampshire Yeomanry Wikipedia page and also The Long, Long Trail.

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20 July 2010

1st London transfers, November 1916


Here's an interesting case study from the 1st (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers) The London Regiment.

Numbers in the low 7000s were issued to men transferring to the 1st London Regiment from other London Regiment battalions – and mostly the 2/2nd Londons. 7049 James William Bowles is a typical example of these transfers.

James originally attested on the 2nd February 1916. He was a waiter by trade, 36 years old and living at 24 Marden Road, Bermondsey. He was called up to the 2nd City of London Regiment on the 18th August 1916 and given the number 6998. His service record states his locations as follows:

Home: 29.2.16 to 29.2.16 [his original attestation date]
Home: 18.8.16 to 22.11.16 [his mobilization date followed by the ensuing weeks and days in England]
Expeditionary Force France: 23.11.16 to 23.4.17
Home: 24.4.17 to 4.10.17 [returned home due to a severe gunshot wound sustained to his left arm on the 9th April 1917]

James’s statement of services records that he was posted to the Base Depot of the 1/1 London Regiment on the 24th November 1916 and transferred to the 1/1st London Regiment on the same day. This implies therefore, that he had arrived in France with the 2nd London Regiment and been transferred the following day to the 1st London Regiment. That being the case, I would have thought that it should have been his 2nd London Regiment number - 6998 - which should appeared on his medal index card as this is the unit with which he apparently arrived overseas. The medal index card however, makes no reference at all to the 2nd City of London Battalion. A clerical error, or am I missing something obvious?

James Bowles's service record is accessible on-line via the Ancestry website. The medal index card reproduced here is Crown Copyright.

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