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Remembered Today:

KRRC numbering

o j kirby

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I recently added a pair of medals to my collection, named to 44253 Pte. A.B. Kirby, KRRC. I took a quick look at the index card lists via the WFA link page. I have not yet seen the actual card. Out of curiosity, I looked at the army numbers on either side of 44253, and found the following information:

44249 Joyce BF

44250 Keene PW

44251 Kemp VJ

44252 Killick A

44253 KIRBY AB

44254 Kitchener F

44255 Knapp AC

44256 Knight CW

44257 Lambert

It looks as though recruits were divided alphabetically and numbered consecutively. Was this a practice that has been seen elsewhere? Can any member offer any thoughts on this, and can we deduce a time line on these numbers?



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Jim Strawbridge

My understanding is that service numbers were not allocated in batches to the recruitment sergeants but allocated later at depot level - presumabely once the recruit was considered suitable ie fit, of appropriate age and not in a reserved occupation. It seems that with military precision each batch of attestation papers received there were sorted alphabetically prior to mumbers being allocated. In this particular batch the first one was 44187 E.W. Adcock and the last was 44351 A.M.Young.

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These numbers-only Service Numbers would normally indicate men who enlisted as Regulars for the usual terms of service of seven years with the colours etc. Normally such Service Numbers would be allocated in sequence of the men's enlistment and definitely not alphabetically.

Prior to changes in the KR's in 1904, the available SN range for KRRC Regulars ran from 1 to 9,999. In 1904 the maximum was increased to 19,999. At the start of the War, SNs for Regulars were at the 11770 mark and a year later had only reached 12745. It is unlikely that a further 18 months on, they would have passed the 40000 mark in the normal course of events even if the KR's had permitted that.

Indeed the accepted Schema for the KRRC numbering has a higher range of six digit all numeric SNs set aside specifically for blocks of men transferring from other units, from the TR, and the KRRC's affiliated TF units. Actual values range from 40873 to 61312. We're still investigating whether the range was sub-divided in any way and how exactly the two regiments used this range. There are certainly SNs in the 30xxx range, but the only MIC in the 20xxx SN range I've found (20001 Basset, Rfn GH, Rifle Brigade) is recorded as S/20001 on the SWB, so the MIC is probably an error.

None of this batch of men have entitlement to the 1914-15 Star showing on their MICs, suggesting enlistment later than Spring 1915. So far I've only found extra data on 44257 Lambert, Rfn Albert, who enlisted on 16 Mar 1917.

Purely on the basis of patterns Andy :ph34r: and I are seeing in the A/xxxxxx and B/xxxxxx service number ranges (used for men enlisting only for the duration), my feeling is these men have entered the KRRC as a batch from the Training Reserve in late 1917 early 1918. They parallel similar blocks of men in surname sequence in the A/ and B/ ranges.

Whether these men enlisted as Regulars from the outset, or they switched during training, having been initially conscripted, will take some digging to work out. Perhaps late in the War, a man's ability to select his regiment was removed even when enlisting as a Regular? I'll need to turn up a few men with surviving Service Records to check all this.

A very interesting lead - many thanks for spotting it!



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4th Lincs up until 1916 numbered their men A-Z in batches.

Also seen in transfers from and to the Lincs regular army battalions starting in mid 1916.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Mark is absolutely correct in this number sequence for the KRRC and RB, there is no alphabetical sequence in these Rifle Regiments until we see these later (1916+) numbers appear in the range 40873 to 61312 (+ or -) for the KRRC and 40432 to 58074 (+ or -) in the RB and also ranges A/200000 to A/205598 in the KRRC and B/200000 to B/203737 in the RB. We then see alphabetical blocks from different regiments appear. I do not have my reference notes for the RB 40432 to 58074 range with me denoting Territorials attached or Transfers from other units and the Training Reserve, but do have the B/200000 range notes with me which show alphabetical numbers allocated from different regiments as they were transferred to the RB:-

For example:-

B/200035 Leonard Allman (ex 1st North Staffs) through to B/200070 Walter Bampstead (ex 1st North Staffs) (all this number range were A and B surnames and alphabetical.

B/200072 Frederick Loveday (ex 5th Norfolks) to B/200149 Thomas Edmund Wright (ex 5th Norfloks)

B/200150 George Ambrose (ex 1/22nd Londons) to B/200171 Samuel Moldofsky (ex 1/22nd Londons) this range start alphabetically but then wanders off pattern for a little.

B/200173 Thomas Baird (ex 8th Londons) to B/200212 Joseph Arthur Vandersteen (ex 8th Londons)

B/200355 William Joseph Baker (ex 1/15th Londons) to B/200411 John Frederick Baker (ex 1/15th Londons) this block is also a little out of alphabetical sequence.

B/200416 Herbert Buckenham ( ex Bedfordshire Regiment) and so on.

Then lets look at the number sequences before these blocks started appearing in late 1916.


9214 Evans

9215 Hunt

9216 Fry

9217 West

9220 Cridland

9221 Fitzgerald

9222 James

9223 Morley

9225 Gathercole

9226 Card

9227 Oakford

9230 Bean

9231 Edmondson

Z Prefix (September 1914)

Z/1 Langley

Z/3 Hope

Z/7 Prestidge

Z/8 Pulham

Z/10 Foster

Z/11 Stewart

Z/12 Dawson

Z/13 Capell

Z/15 Bowyer

a little later

Z/1147 Holland

Z/1148 Holland (brothers)

Z/1149 Gallagher

Z/1150 Boulger

Z/1151 Evans

Z/1152 Wright

Z/1154 Bell

Z/1156 Meek

Z/1157 Peace

Z/1158 Brown

Z/1160 Downing

Z/1161 Gee

and so on

B Prefix (August/September 1914)

B/1 Whitcher

B/2 North

B/3 Blake

B/4 Cogger

B/5 Davis

B/6 Mansell

B/8 Beattie

B/9 Elliott

B/10 Wansbrough

B/11 Friedrich


B/2521 Nayler

B/2522 Cockerton

B/2523 Allston

B/2524 McDonald

B/2525 Scarlett

B/2526 Downing

B/2527 Collins

P Prefix

P/28 Bray

P/29 Gibson

P/30 Tuffs

P/32 Baker

P/33 Floyd

P/35 Fear

P/36 Wauchope

S Prefix

S/1 Frogley

S/2 Nichols

S/3 Irwin

S/5 Schofield

S/8 Mylon

S/10 Byrne

S/14 Timms

S/15 Bradley

S/16 Hockham

and so on ad infinitum.

We even see numbers in the S/Range apparently double issued in the early numbers with a 1 put in front of one group making them S/11000 range men instead of S/1000 range which kind of screws up enlistment patterns a little sometimes with S/1000and S/11000 showing 3/9/14 enlistment.

These B/200000 range men went overseas with their regiment and were then transferred at I.B.D.'s with the 1st group all being sent to the 20th Division Rifle Brigade battalions after their losses at Guillemont on 3/9/16 where one of these battalions ceased to exist.

Hope this helps a little, if the Lincs, Essex, West Yorks, Black Watch or whatever regiment did their number sequences in alphabetical blocks or order I cannot tell you, but, the RB & KRRC never did, it makes life complicated sometimes sorting these out, and as the original posting concerned the KRRC maybe this will give a little insight into the Rifles numbering.


I should also add that these two regiments carried on as they had after 1916 with their numbering, it is just these two number blocks discussed above that we see alphabetical sequences appear.

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