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Regimental numbers


Perth Digger
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I would like to know if the Regimental Number 657 in the 1/1 Honourable Artillery Company suggests that the holder served in the HAC before the war. Any help gratefully received.

Thanks.

Mike

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I don't know if this is any relevance: a friend's grandfather whom I am researching, (Pte. W. A. Davies - an articled-clerk, he had several years training with his public school OTC) officially signed up with 1st H.A.C. (C Company) on 10th Aug 1914, and was with the battalion when it first went to France on 20th Sept. - his Regimental Number was 1350.

William

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There are service records on FMP for Pte 651 Thomas Munns Bulley enlisted 24th April 1911 and Pte 659 Kenneth Seymour Boyd enlisted 24th July 1911.

With the usual caveat about army numbering not being an exact science I'd say that gives a window for 657.

EDIT right to give the warning as there is also a record for a 651 Dottridge and 653 Leach both 'B' Reserve Battery enlisted early January 1915 - the latter left for a Commission April 1915.

However I'd still go for 1911 in the 1st (as it was then).

Ken

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I don't know if this is any relevance: a friend's grandfather whom I am researching, (Pte. W. A. Davies - an articled-clerk, he had several years training with his public school OTC) officially signed up with 1st H.A.C. (C Company) on 10th Aug 1914, and was with the battalion when it first went to France on 20th Sept. - his Regimental Number was 1350.

William

Would he be Willoughby Arlington Davies??? If so have you seen this. (left hand page)

TEW

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I would like to know if the Regimental Number 657 in the 1/1 Honourable Artillery Company suggests that the holder served in the HAC before the war. Any help gratefully received.

Thanks.

Mike

One of the gurus on Army Numbers is Paul Nixon. His website indicates that the 6XX series would have enlisted in 1911. See here - consistent with Ken's three examples

As a basic guideline, TF numbers all started at 1 on 1st April 1908. Given the high turnover and establishment for the HAC it would be a pretty good guess that the 657th man to join had already enlisted before the war. There are a number of exceptions to this general guideline - some units started a new series for the War for example. In the case of the HAC it looks as if they ran with the same number. One of the earlier TF units to disembark in 1914.

If 1350 enlisted on 20th Sep and (according to Nixon's website) 2322 joined on 4th Sep 1914, there are clearly some anomalies. The HAC was unique in that it had Infantry and Artillery. I wonder if this might explain some difference in number sequences. I am aware that William's example was infantry.

Grumpy or Graham Stewart (two other Army Number gurujis) might give further guidance.MG

Edit. A cursory glance at the 1914 Star Medal Roll for the HAC shows 804 ORs embarked (sic) on 18th Sep 1914. The Army Numbers ranged from 41 to 2009. Within this group there are 30 men with three-digit Army Numbers beginning with 6.

Clearly this simply confirms that there was a 6xx series pre-war. Despite this fact, there is strong evidence on this thread that there was another numbers series. The HAC did have some anomalies - a short series with an M prefix and a short series with a D prefix which suggests they were open to the idea of running parallel series of numbers.

Interestingly 561 of the 804 men were commissioned (69.8%)

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If you post his name FMP has printed membership lists for the HAC but it's alphabetical so the number is not much help. The list gives year of enlistment or 'year of admission' (bit posh the HAC!) and the unit.

Ken

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The HAC was unique in that it had Infantry and Artillery. I wonder if this might explain some difference in number sequences.

Yes it does. There were 3 basic number sequences, Infantry, "A" battery artillery and "B" battery artillery.

The Infantry reached 657 in 1911

"A" battery reached 657 in December 1914

"B" battery reached 657 in January 1915

If you read my note in the HAC section on Paul Nixon's site you will see that the artillery men still at home at the end of 1915 got lumped in with the Infantry numbering for a while. All artillery got 6 figure numbers at the beginning of 1917 as well as those joining afterwards.

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Would he be Willoughby Arlington Davies??? If so have you seen this. (left hand page)

TEW

Tew - I hadn't seen that particular document, but I was aware of the information in it, and Willoughby's career in the Royal Naval Air Service, post H.A.C..

[interestingly, Willoughby Arlingham Davies became a senior lawyer after the war, and was friendly with another senior lawyer, Sir John Russell: both went to South Africa with their wives, (during term-time when their various children were at away boarding-schools). A few weeks later when they returned, Willoughby was married to Lady Russell, and Sir John was married to the former Mrs Davies.]

William

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Many thanks for all these answers. The man involved was George Frederick Pragnell. He went with the HAC to France in September 1914, left on 29 January 1915 and was commissioned in February. He was killed by a shell while Brigade-Major of 123rd Brigade in 1917.

I was pretty sure he had been in the HAC before the war, but I think the information above pretty much confirms it. He was L/Cpl in 1914, an unlikely position if he had just joined such a prestigious unit. He rose to the rank of Sergeant before leaving. Andy Pepper has information on him on his Lewisham War Memorials website page.

Paul Nixon's website looks pretty useful. Thanks for that.

Mike

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He enlisted (or his date of admission) in the 1st Bn 1 Company (Infantry) on 3rd July 1911 a clerk aged 20.

Address given as 'Clovelly' Grove Park Kent and Messrs Cook and Son, 22 StPaul's Churchyard E.C.

Appears he was awarded a DSO.

Ken

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Dear ken

Thank you very much for the information about enlistment date and the DSO, which I didn't know about.

Mike

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