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dplatt

Attempting to understand service numbers.

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dplatt

Has any one got a clue why so many soldiers used the same army number?

If anybody out there has become aware of my ongoing search for Thomas Cook # 45985 and got involved, just try tapping the numbers in for a search online through MIC's. Then try 45986.

Try tapping in the service number and years 1914 to 1920 for whoever you are searching or a soldier of WW1 you know. It's surprising and I'd be delighted if someone could explain why the repetition of numbers.

David.

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Max

Not being an expert in the black art of regimental numbering systems I am likely to be setting myself up to be shot down, but....

The number that your man has is not an army number as such, rather a regiment number, therefore could/would be repeated across the army as a whole. Can't remember when army numbering came in.

Andy

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

Max is right - a single system for army numbering was 1923ish.

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Max
Max is right

Oh my God, I got one right...wahooo :lol:

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dplatt

Max,

Wahooo, indeed. Thanks.

So what happened before the numbering was regimented (Sorry about that!), was each regiment alloted a batch of numbers and was the means of identity of a man hie regimental number and regiment?

Just curious.

David.

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BeppoSapone
Max,

Wahooo, indeed. Thanks.

So what happened before the numbering was regimented (Sorry about that!), was each regiment alloted a batch of numbers and was the means of identity of a man hie regimental number and regiment?

Just curious.

David.

David

No, thats what happened post 1920. Each regiment or corps was allocated its own "block" from the army numbers series. If you have the army number details you can tell which regiment or corps a soldier first joined between 1920 and c1942. A mans identity can be established from the number alone.

Before 1920, thus in WW1, a soldiers number was a regimental number. Two things about this, a soldier had a number of numbers - broadly speaking, every time he was posted he was given a new number. Also, many men within the army could have the same number!

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Muerrisch
every time he was posted he was given a new number. Also, many men within the army could have the same number!

no no no no no no no.

Except for the 1917 TF re-numbering, a soldier retained his regimental number unless/ until he left his REGIMENT. Going, say, from 3SR battalion to 1st battalion to 9th to 16th ....... he clung to his number.

Unfortunately, as SR and all TF battalions seem to have had independent numbering systems, beginning from 1 in 1908, a soldier could have many doppelgangers. In the case of RWF, five duplications not just possible, but likely.

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BeppoSapone
every time he was posted he was given a new number. Also, many men within the army could have the same number!

no no no no no no no.

Except for the 1917 TF re-numbering, a soldier retained his regimental number unless/ until he left his REGIMENT. Going, say, from 3SR battalion to 1st battalion to 9th to 16th ....... he clung to his number.

Unfortunately, as SR and all TF battalions seem to have had independent numbering systems, beginning from 1 in 1908, a soldier could have many doppelgangers. In the case of RWF, five duplications not just possible, but likely.

Yes, I agree. I meant posted to another regiment. Is posted not the correct term?

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Muerrisch

'transferred' is the word you wanted.

'posting' is within regiment, with intent not to return

'detached/ attached' is with intention to return

Full details of definitions are in ACI something-or-other ..... could find it if necessary.

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BeppoSapone
'transferred' is the word you wanted.

'posting' is within regiment, with intent not to return

'detached/ attached' is with intention to return

Full details of definitions are in ACI something-or-other ..... could find it if necessary.

Thanks for that. Transferred is indeed the word I meant.

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BeppoSapone
Before 1920, thus in WW1, a soldiers number was a regimental number. Two things about this, a soldier had a number of numbers - broadly speaking, every time he was posted he was given a new number. Also, many men within the army could have the same number!

For "posted" read "transferred".

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dplatt

Okay, so what about:-

Pte Cook, Thomas

6th Essex Regiment 5755 Private

6th Essex Regiment 276015 Private,

which I have taken from the online MICs. He seems to have moved within the same Bttn and yet changed his number? Is this 1917 TF re-numbering? What does TF mean anyway? What was it?

Regards,

David.

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Ken Lees

David,

For Territorial Force (TF) numbers, you should read Jock Bruce's excellent article on the main site:

TF renumbering

Ken

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scott henderson

Sorry to jump into the discussion but i have a question.

My grandfathers medals give his number as 6668 but in his diary he gives his number as 278202.

Also, in his diary he quite clearly states 14th battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Would i be right in thinking that 6668 was his old regimental number and that 278202 was his new T.F number.

If this is correct then the number block 275001--30000 was given to the 7th battalion but his M.I.C has two numbers in the regimental number section,6668 which i have known but also S/30729.

I am now even more confused than i was when i started.

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HarryBettsMCDCM
Sorry to jump into the discussion but i have a question.

My grandfathers medals give his number as 6668 but in his diary he gives his number as 278202.

Also, in his diary he quite clearly states 14th battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Would i be right in thinking that 6668 was his old regimental number and that 278202 was his new T.F number.

If this is correct then the number block 275001--30000 was given to the 7th battalion but his M.I.C has two numbers in the regimental number section,6668 which i have known but also S/30729.

I am now even more confused than i was when i started.

Yes the 6 Figure Number is his new TF Number,the S/***** Number is a Service Battalion Number,presumably he was attached/posted to a Service Battalion of The Regiment or another Regiment for a Short while

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HarryBettsMCDCM
Okay, so what about:-

Pte Cook, Thomas

6th Essex Regiment 5755 Private

6th Essex Regiment 276015 Private,

which I have taken from the online MICs. He seems to have moved within the same Bttn and yet changed his number? Is this 1917 TF re-numbering? What does TF mean anyway? What was it?

Regards,

David.

The six figure number is his "New" TF Number so he was just renumbered within the same battalion,with the 1917 TF Number. TF is Territorial Force,the pre 1920 Name for the Territorial Army,ie Part Time Volunteer Soldiers~"Saturday Night Soldiers" as they are sometimes known,

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dplatt

Thanks to you all for the information regarding numbering so far.

Just to put me back on line then, my great grandfather who joined up in April 1915 should have been given a short - perhaps four digit number - in his initial regiment. Please correct me.

He transferred to the Essex and was given a five digit figure. Should the number of digits in his Essex regimental number give me any idea of when that tranfer took place?

Regards,

David.

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KILTY

I read with interest as to the definition of the S prefix on a soldiers service number, one of many I've heard over the last couple of years. I was of the opinion there was a connection to Scotland. Does anyone know the true reason for it.

Kilty.

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Jock Bruce

I treat the S/ number prefix for Highland regiments i.e. those administered by the Perth Record Office (Black Watch, Seaforth, QOCH, Gordons, A&SH) as meaning 'Service' - not that I have ever seen that given as the official meaning

It was not used by Lowland regiments.

Jock

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KILTY

Jock,

Just to try and clarify, would this mean only men from a service battalion having the S prefix, or have I misunderstood you.

I phoned the Gordon Highlanders Museum and the researcher could give no explanation as to the S prefix.

P.S. Keep up the good work on the Territorials.

Kilty ;)

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Jock Bruce

Kilty,

certainly in the Seaforths, S/xxxxx numbers (4 or 5 digits) were allocated to non-TF wartime enlistments - which I treat as being 'Service' or duration men. And I think the other Highland regiments followed much the same system.

BUT

before the TF renumbering of early 17, a man posted from a TF battalion to a Service battalion would have been renumbered to a S/xxxx number - and man going from a Service battalion to a TF battalion would have been renumbered in the sequence for his new battalion. After the introduction of the new system men were not renumbered on posting from battalion to battalion.

It doesn't seem to be so clear cut for pre-war regulars and Special Reservists - certainly the SR men reem to have retained their 3/xxxx numbers throughout and I think the regulars retained their prewar numbers.

The problem with holding forth on numbering is that there always exceptions - I shudder at some of the sweeping statements made on the forum. The further I move from 5th Seaforth the less sure I feel about anything.

Jock

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