29 May 2011

Cheshire Regiment 1881-1914 - 1st & 2nd Battalions -


This post will look at regimental numbering in the Cheshire Regiment which was formed on 1st July 1881 from the 22nd (the Cheshire) Regiment of Foot.

There are over 63,000 Cheshire Regiment service andpension 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 Cheshire Regiment 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. George Henry Byrom (pictured above) was a Cheshire Regiment Special Reservist captured in 1914. You can read more about him by clicking on his name.

The newly formed regiment was established as the county regiment for Cheshire and started numbering from 1 in 1881.

24 joined on 31st October 1881
73 joined on 20th January 1882
396 joined on 17th January 1883
984 joined on 11th January 1884
1391 joined on 5th January 1885
2165 joined on 1st February 1886
2498 joined on 12th January 1887
2617 joined on 26th November 1888
2675 joined on 1st July 1889
2868 joined on 15th January 1890
3277 joined on 7th March 1891
3562 joined on 6th January 1892
4224 joined on 7th April 1893
4629 joined on 13th February 1894
5041 joined on 9th April 1895
5204 joined on 8th February 1896
5394 joined on 15th February 1897
5669 joined on 22nd February 1898
6158 joined on 20th February 1899
6443 joined on 1st November 1900

During the South African War, The Cheshire Regiment raised three volunteer service companies. Men joining these companies were issued with numbers in the following ranges:

1st VSC: numbers within the range 7330 to 7526
2nd VSC: numbers within the range 7447 to 7578
3rd VSC: numbers within the range 7765 to 7780

On 17th February 1900, the 1st VSC comprising three officers – Captain S Thornley, Lieutenant J Bates and Lieutenant J S Craig – and 113 men, embarked for South Africa aboard SS Gascon.

6488 joined on 7th February 1901
6772 joined on 19th February 1902
7084 joined on 5th February 1903
7419 joined on 22nd February 1904
7868 joined on 7th February 1905
8099 joined on 11th January 1906
8232 joined on 21st January 1907
8850 joined on 8th January 1908
9170 joined on 16th February 1909
9408 joined on 7th February 1910
9658 joined on 27th June 1911
10002 joined on 26th November 1912
10103 joined on 27th May 1913
10523 joined on 3rd May 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 7th March 1891, The Cheshire Regiment recruited 3,277 men, an average of 336 soldiers a year. Although still well below the national average for the decade, this was nevertheless to be the regiment’s best showing.

By 7th February 1901, the regiment had enlisted its 6,488th recruit and could claim an average recruitment rate for the decade of 324 men. A little over ten years later and the average recruitment rate had dropped again, this time to 307 men per annum. In total, between 1st July 1881 and 27th June 1911, The Cheshire Regiment recruited 9,658 men, well below the national average (353) at 322 men a year.

1st Battalion stations 1881-1914
1881 Guernsey

1883 Portland
1885 Gibraltar
1886 Egypt
1887 Burma
1891 Belgaum
1895 Bellary
1897 Secunderabad
1901 Quetta
1903 Bombay
1904 Lichfield
1909 Belfast
1912 Londonderry
1914 France & Flanders (from August)

2nd Battalion stations 1881-1915

1881 Bengal
1885 Solon
1887 Burma
1889 Sheffield
1892 Aldershot
1895 Buttevant
1898 Limerick
1899 South Africa
1902 Aldershot
1904 Madras
1909 Schwebo (Burma)
1911 Jubbulpore
1915 France & Flanders (from January)

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

Further Reading

The History of the Cheshire Regiment in the Great War

The Cheshire Regiment - The First Battalion at Mons and the Miniature Colour

Cheshire Bantams - 15th, 16th & 17th Battalions, The Cheshire Regiment

War Record of the 1/5th (Earl of Chester's) Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment, August 1914 - June 1919

21 comments:

Mike Cairns said...

My Grandfather, 2 Cheshire & 5 Cheshire had two army number 2322 with 2bn and 29 with 5bn. They seem out of kilter with those you publish as he was but a child when your records indicate these numbers were issued, ? the reason

Paul Nixon said...

What was his name Mike? I've been unable to locate a Cheshire Regiment man with those two numbers on a WW1 Medal Index Card.

If you can supply me with more details I'll see what I can find. On the face of it though, 29 for the 5th Bn dates to April 1908 and 2322 for a regular battalion goes way back to July 1886.

Mike Cairns said...

James Hanley

Mike Cairns said...

His medfal index card shows 2322 and his RAF number 301422 which he joined in Sep 1918 - Apr 1920. The detail "29 Cpl J Hanley 5 Cheshire Regt" is from his TA Efficiency Medal. He went to France on 14 Feb 1915 with D Coy 5Cheshires.(Lt Col AV Churtons book). Trans to RFC in ?1917/18. His army records were amongst the "burnt" but his RAF Form 175 survives with minimal detail, stating prior service 2 Chesh 10 yrs and 5 Chesh 2 years. Thoughts?

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for clarifying. So it doesn't actually state anywhere that 2322 is the number for the 2nd Bn. I'd suggest that that number dates to late Aug / early Sep 1914 for the 5th Bn and that he had seen prior service with a regular battalion. Depending on his age, his service record could have been:

Regular service with Cheshires, joining some time in the 1890s.

Joins 5th Bn in 1908 (possibly having already been a serving member of the Volunteer Force).

Time expired but rejoins the bn shortly after the outbreak of war and is given a new number.

Later transferred to RFC which becomes RAF in April 1918.

Paul

Draperju said...

Good morning

I am researching a Man Richard William Smith with 15 Btn No 20834
Can you help with an enlistment date

Draperju

Paul Nixon said...

Draperju - Dec 1914.

Draperju said...

Thank you Paul

jellytots1916 said...

Hi, I wonder if you can help me? I am researching CT Rolph who was according to the WW1 medal card index a WO clII of the Cheshire regiment and his no is given as 6449617, this seems rather long and he wasnt entitled to any medals.
many thanks

Paul Nixon said...

It is a long number isn't it? It looks to be a number form the series issued in 1920 but that particular number falls within the block issued to the Royal Fusiliers (6446001-6515000). Note on his card that he was awarded the LS&GCM which is the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal. So no WW1 medal entitlement noted on this card but he was a long-serving soldier of at least 18 years.

Paul Nixon said...

Note too, that there is a Charles T Rolph listed for the Royal Fusiliers - No L/12430. He was a CSM who had originally enlisted in late 1906 or early 1907.

Roger Blinko said...

Hi Paul
I have a William Blencowe details are
Blencowe William Private 1635, 360575 7th Btn Cheshire Regiment, Labour Corps

Dont know when transferred to Labour Corps.

Am I on the right track to think enlisted with the Cheshire's around 1912?

Cheers
Roger Blinko

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Roger, hope all's well. March 1913 for that number in that battalion.

Paul

George Swann said...

Hi Paul.

Looking for a george dewhurst and any info you may have. Joined the Cheshires 1914 2nd battalion. Served in Greece and France.

Thanks

George

Paul Nixon said...

Hello George

Thanks for commenting. I can't find anything at all for a George Dewhurst / Cheshire Regiment. Do you have any other information at all? There are no men of this name noted on medal rolls as having served with the Cheshire Regiment.

Paul

Robbie Titchener said...

G'day from NZ

I'm looking for information on a distant ancestor - Andrew Ryles 77693 who was with the 23rd Bn, Cheshire Regt when he died of pneumonia in Jan 1919. Can you please tell me when he would have enlisted, and I also understand that the 23rd was a 'Garrison Guard' battalion. What does that mean?

Thank you
Robbie

Paul Nixon said...

I can tell you when he enlisted, Robbie, but this would need to be researched and incurs a nominal fee. Please contact me via the RESEARCH tab if you wish to pursue.

Terry Payne said...

Hi Paul
My great grand father was CSM George Oakes Harp from Fenton who enlisted in Crewe, Kia 7/08/1915 Gallipoli , his name appears in the Cathedral roll of honour book and is recorded on the regimental chapel book to. His regimental number is 6089

Paul Nixon said...

RIP to your great grandfather, Terry. As I am sure you know, he was a career soldier and Boer War veteran who had originally joined the regiment in 1899.

Mark Myatt said...

Hi Paul,
My great grandfather Sergeant William Edward Hogan was killed in action 8th may 1915 2nd battle of ypres, was trying to find out when he joined the army and also are there crosses/graves for the soldiers that died or just memorials? Thanks.

Paul Nixon said...

@Mark, it would be possible to work out when he joined the regiment that he was killed with. If he is a name on a memorial that's all that there will be, unless of course he is buried as an unidentified soldier; there are plenty of those.