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Remembered Today:

21st Lancers


Chris_Baker
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A man numbered L/19976 served with the 21st Lancers in India and got the General Service medal with "Afghanistan NW Frontier" clasp. yet earlier in his life he had been with the 14th Hussars with a different number. Does the L/19976 suggest that he had re-enlisted?

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Chris

I will be interested to read the replies to your question but I suspect they will refer you to the British Library India Office Records because the Lancers may have been an Indian Army or HEIC Army unit, as may the Hussars have been but at some satge the one may have been absorbed into the British Army and the number chage could have been effected then. Artillery nubers also changed during WW1 when some older numbers were added to a base 295000 (approx - again some kind pal will correct me here, I hope :-) to come to a new number - eg 2450 would become 297450...

I too have British soldiers who served in India pre 1914-18 in my Family and most have two different numbers - one has a number that turned out to be the Regiment number (275)! So far it has proved very difficult to even start to find out their original enlistment details!

Colin

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21st Lancers was a British unit, albeit based in India.

14th Hussars was also a British unit, which served in Mesopotamia and from late 1918 in Persia.

I know this fellow's numbers in each and I don;t think this is a simple renumbering. It is either that he was transferred from one regiment to the other, or that his term of service expired and he then re-enlisted.

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Hello Chris

Dragoons (including Dragoon Guards), Hussars and Lancers were three separate "Corps" for the purposes of recod-keeping for the cavalry, so he would be re-numbered on transfer. If he had gone from 14th Hussars to 20th Hussars, he would not have been re-numbered.

It is similar to changing regiments (and re-numbering) and changing battalions within a regiment (no re-numbering) for the infantry.

L/19976 does of course pre-date the change to unique Army-wide numbers introduced in 1920-21.

Incidentally, Colin is partly right. Whilst 21st Lancers was as you say a British unit, its origins lie with one of the HEIC cavalry regiments of all-British troops, "absorbed" into the British Army after the Mutiny. Hence their sub-title "Empress of India's".

Ron

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