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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

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Guest Linwood

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I have no background in military matters so I'm hoping someone on this forum can help.

Pte Robert Woodfine was in the 14th Hussars in 1911 (found on the census) "awaiting discharge" at Fort Brockhurst, Alverstoke, Hampshire. By the time he died on 20th November 1914 at Ypres he was in the 20th Hussars.

I would really like to know how long he would have signed up for originally. And, how would he end up in a different regiment? As an ex-soldier would he have been called up when war broke out? I have his CWGC record, and his medal card. I don't live in the UK so are there other resources online to obtain military records? Any other sources of information re pre-war Hussars that will help me educate myself?

I realise these are rather basic questions, but any help or guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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Click on LLT top left of page. There is a lot of info about regiments with some history. There should be info on time regulars signed up for.

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Hello Linwood

Pre-1914 cavalry recruits served for seven year "with the Colours" (i.e. in the Regular Army) plus a further five years in the reserve (liable for recall in emergency). All the twelve Hussar regiments were treated as one "corps" for administrative purposes: there were three Hussar cavalry depots each supplying recruits to four regiments, and regiments were also "paired" when reserve cavalry regiments were formed on the outbreak of war, each reserve regiment supplying two regular regiments.

14th and 20th Hussars were paired in this way, and were in fact amalgamated in about 1922 as part of a general reorganisation of the cavalry.


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As an ex-soldier would he have been called up when war broke out

Most likely he was still in his reserve commitment and subject to recall during war time.

The enlistment time would usually have been 12 years - often 5 years regular service and 7 years on the reserve.


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If he was (as seems likely) recalled from the Reserve, the 14th were on the Indian Establishment while the 20th were at home, so it would make sense for him to join the latter regiment. There is a very brief (though fun) history of the 20th; although it is extremely unlikely your man will be mentioned, it will give a feel for what was going on. It is available as a reprint from Naval & Military Press.

There is also a Museum for the 14th/20th King's Hussars in Preston (Lancashire) http://www.armymuseums.org.uk/museums/0000000003-Museum-of-the-King-s-Royal-Hussars-in-Lancashire.htm The Curator (Dr Stephen Bull) is a helpful chap. Again, unlikley he'll have anything personal, but might be worth contacting them.

As the museum is part of the Museum of Lancashire contacting Dr Bull might be more complex - if you have a problem, drop me a PM (you'll need a few more posts to get permission to do that) and I will let you have details.

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Thanks so much for your replies Ron, ss002... and Steven. You've answered my questions and I'm a little less ignorant and confused now. I hadn't come across online that nformation you gave me about the regiments being paired Ron, and I'll certainly try that museum in Preston Steven and get that history you mentioned. Thanks again!

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