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Remembered Today:

SERVICE NUMBERS


Retlaw

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Could some one explain the logic behind the issue of a new service number, I have several men in the 11th East Lancs wounded at the battle of the Somme, upon release from hospital sent to the retraining battalion, then issued with a new number, usually starting with 35, several of these men were posted to the 6th E.L. others were posted to the 7th & 8th battalions, and eventually posted back to the 11th. Why the need for a new number, their old number would not clash with any others in the East Lancs.

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The men in 8th Btn could have been transferred to 11th Btn when the 8th Btn was disbanded in France Feb. 1918. and officers and men were transferred to 11th.

The 7th was disbanded in France Feb. 1918, Maybe some of these men also went to 11th?

The puzzler seems to be men in 6th who were who were in Galipolli and Mesopatamia.

The 11th was in Egypt Dec 1915 and moved to France March 1916.

Can you give any dates of these transfers?

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We may be talking about TF men at the renumbering of TF men "Appendix 207 to ACI 2424 of 1916".

Problem is that East Lancs allocations were in a block 200001 to 330000.

However, if the Training Battalion was Manchesters they had: 200001 to 425000.

Training battalion numbers are NOT within my poor expertise.

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The men in 8th Btn could have been transferred to 11th Btn when the 8th Btn was disbanded in France Feb. 1918. and officers and men were transferred to 11th.

The 7th was disbanded in France Feb. 1918, Maybe some of these men also went to 11th?

The puzzler seems to be men in 6th who were who were in Galipolli and Mesopatamia.

The 11th was in Egypt Dec 1915 and moved to France March 1916.

Can you give any dates of these transfers?

I know where all the East Lancs Battalions were during the war and the senseless renumbering in 1917 to sort the regulkrs from the Territorials. My question is what is the logic in renumbering wounded solders, and posting the to East Lancs Regts. 400 men and a donkey were posted to the 11th when the 8th was disbanded, several of those were no longer using their original East Lancs number

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I know where all the East Lancs Battalions were during the war and the senseless renumbering in 1917 to sort the regulkrs from the Territorials. My question is what is the logic in renumbering wounded solders, and posting the to East Lancs Regts. 400 men and a donkey were posted to the 11th when the 8th was disbanded, several of those were no longer using their original East Lancs number

Was my contribution of any use ........... you gave no dates.

Oh!, and the renumbering of the TF was by no means senseless, it had, for a variety of good reasons, become necessary.

You may find this extract from the Langley/Stewart Lummis Cup winning article of interest.

TF Numbering in the Great War. The pre-war (and for a short time after the outbreak of war) territorial recruit to the TF enlisted for Home defence exclusively. Whereas he was encouraged to sign the Imperial Service commitment asserting his readiness to serve with his own unit overseas in time of war, this was entirely voluntary and carried no advantage except for a rather smart white metal badge. Only if a large percentage of a unit signed the commitment could a unit be sent overseas, and no soldier could be compelled to serve in a unit other than his own.

The exigencies of war soon sent willing formed TF units to fight, and pressure was brought, often successfully, to add to their number. Nevertheless, the system was inflexible, and was rendered not of the highest priority by the preference to build ‘New Armies’ rather than grow on to the TF stock. ACI 294 of 1915:

“Ref L.9/Gen. No.4201 TFI of 15th September 1914, notifying that Officers i/c TF records offices will be responsible during the period of embodiement (sic) for allotting regimental numbers to units of the TF, it is notified that men transferring from an Imperial Service unit to its linked home service unit will retain their old number, and that recruits enlisting into the home service unit, whether for service at home or abroad will be numbered in continuation of the existing series as the parent unit.”

The coming of conscription in 1916 ended the TF’s (sometimes violated) legal immunity from involuntary active service, and also ended the lack of genuine distinction between, on the one hand the grouping together of regular soldier, special reservist and New Army man, reiterated by AO 123 of 1915 and quoted elsewhere, and on the other hand the Territorial. This meant that cross-posting from regular or Service battalions to TF battalions and the converse was possible, and this at a time in 1916 when the need for a flexible system of reinforcements, notionally trained and able to be posted to any needy unit, was paramount. Army Circular Instruction (ACI) 1499 of 31st July 1916 dealt with the numbering aspects:

“1. Owing to the change in the system of transferring and posting of infantry drafts on arrival in France, the following procedure will be adopted and carried out forthwith: -

1.Each Regular Infantry Record Office, and each TF Record Office will issue to the Officer i/c Base Records, through the DAG 3rd Echelon, blocks of regimental numbers in extension of the present series, in the case of regulars 5000 for each regiment, and in the case of TF 1000 for each TF battalion (including 2nd and 3rd Lines) affiliated to TF Record Office, further blocks being issued as required.

2. Under arrangements to be made by the DAG 3rd Echelon, these numbers will be allotted by the OC Base Depot to regular soldiers transferred to other corps, or to TF soldiers who are posted to other regular or TF units of their own corps, or who are transferred to regular or TF units of other corps. ……………”

This was not the best drafted Instruction of the war, but its import is clear: a TF man could be sent anywhere, and he would, if sent away from his unit, receive a new number, either in his own regiment’s regular series, or that of another regiment, or a new number in a TF battalion of his own regiment, or in that of another. Examples of this process from the East Yorkshire (EY) regiment include: 4/5483 became 13th battalion EY 28065, 4/6629 became 8th EY 28253, 4/5227 became 7th EY 30841, 4/5172 became 7th EY 30923, 4/5133 became 7th EY 30863 etc. It should go without saying that these changes impacted on the regular numbering series, and caused a lot of ‘scatter’ in the distribution. Another example was in the Sherwood Foresters, the renumbering of 4-digit TF men with 'new' 4-digit numbers which took place when the (3/5th - 3/6th) & (3/7th - 3/8th) battalions merged to form 5th Reserve and 7th Reserve respectively in June 1916.

The next utterance was a very verbose ACI 1840 of 23rd September 1916, entitled Procedure in connection with the Attachment, Posting, Transfer and Drafting of soldiers of the Regular Army and the Territorial Force. Only the parts dealing directly with numbering will be quoted here.

“ATTACHMENTS. ‘The attachment of a man to another unit’ does not involve any change …..

POSTINGS. …defined as ‘from one unit to another of the same Corps’ ……

A TF soldier posted to TF unit is allotted a regimental number in his new unit ….

A TF soldier posted to a Regular unit … is given a new Regular number …..

A Regular soldier posted to a TF unit …. A TF number will be allotted to him ….

A Regular soldier posted to another regular unit ….. (Ed. No mention of change of number in this case, and one can understand why)

A TF soldier re-posted from a Regular unit to his original TF unit, or vice-versa …. Will resume his original regimental number.

TRANSFERS.defined as ‘Permanent movement of a soldier from one Corps to another’.

TF soldier to be transferred to a Regular unit of another Corps …will be transferred to a Corps containing both TF units or soldiers and the Regular unit which it is desired he should join. Then posted to the Regular unit. Receives a regimental number in the new Corps.

TF soldier to be transferred to a TF unit of another Corps, to receive a number in his new unit.

COMPULSORY DRAFTING. Treat as Posting”.

One is tempted to quote “when in a hole stop digging”!

The authorities finally confronted the TF numbering question in a major ACI, 2414 of 23rd December 1916; indeed it is surprising that such a major change was promulgated in the (lesser) ACI series rather than the (major) AO series. As it is, the instruction follows 2412 ‘Manure – the importance of utilizing on land’! Although 2414 was the military administration equivalent to an earthquake, it was to be followed by aftershocks nevertheless.

“Infantry of the TF – Re-numbering of Personnel, and Alterations in Administrative Arrangements.

1. Owing to the amalgamation of reserve Infantry units of the TF, to drafting exigencies and to the general necessity of employing personnel to the best advantage, it has become increasingly necessary to post TF Infantry soldiers from and to the Regular and TF Battalions of their Corps. As under the present system each TF Battalion (ie the comprehensive unit comprising the 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines) has its own series of regimental numbers, postings between Battalions (other than between lines of the same original TF Battalion) involve the allocation of fresh numbers (see ACI 1840 of 1916) (Ed. Entitled ‘Procedure in connection with the Attachment, Posting, Transfer and Drafting of soldiers of the Regular Army and the Territorial Force and quoted above) with resultant clerical labour and the risk of confusion and error. In order to obviate the necessity for this change in numbering on posting, it has been decided to allot new regimental numbers to the personnel of all TF Infantry Battalions in accordance with the arrangements indicated below.

2. The re-numbering to be carried out under this ACI will apply to all TF Infantry soldiers (except those of the Royal Defence Corps) ie. to all those coming under the following description:-

a. All soldiers serving in infantry units of the TF having either (i) enlisted direct into such units, or been posted direct thereto from Army Reserve Class B, or (ii) been transferred or posted thereto from a unit of another corps of the TF, or from any unit of the Regular Army not later than 28th February 1917.

b. All soldiers belonging to infantry units of the TF who may be temporarily attached to any unit other than their own, without having been posted or transferred thereto.

3. Soldiers of infantry units (other than the Royal Defence Corps) who do not come under the description given in paragraph 2 will, for the purpose of this ACI be regarded as Regulars, no matter on what form of attestation – Regular or TF – they may have been enlisted. These soldiers will be identified as Regulars by their regimental numbers, which will in every case run from 1 to 200000 (see paragraph5).

A. RENUMBERING

4. In order to carry out the decision referred to in paragraph 1 every infantry soldier who on 1st March 1917, falls under the description in paragraph 2 will be given a new TF regimental number on one series running throughout the whole of the TF battalions comprised in each infantry corps as defined in the Corps Warrant (AO 250 of 1916 as amended by AOs 258 and 325 of 1916) subject, however, to the following modifications: -

a. The whole of the battalions of the London Regiment taken together will, for the purposes of this ACI, be regarded as a distinct TF Corps of Infantry, and all the personnel will accordingly be re-numbered on one corps series for that Regiment, regardless of the corps to which the various battalions are affiliated under the Corps Warrant; and

b. the 10th Battalion The King’s Liverpool Regiment will be re-numbered on the TF series belonging to that Regiment.

5. This re-numbering will commence on a series beginning at 200001 in every case. In view of this re-numbering the allotment of regimental numbers to soldiers which was prescribed by paragraph 146A, TF Regulations (AO 228 of 1915) (Ed. This described how, for the purpose of TF numbering, the unit was the infantry battalion) will be in abeyance for the remaining period of the war.

6. The new number thus allotted to a TF soldier will be retained by him so long as he continues to serve with a unit of the same corps of Infantry (as defined in paragraph 4) even though he may be posted to a regular unit of that corps or another TF unit of the same corps. So long as he continues to serve in the same corps of infantry (see paragraph 4) he will, for the purpose of the issue of separation allowance and allotment of pay, continue in the administration of the TF Association responsible for the unit to which, under the Appendix (printed as Appendix 207 to these ACIs) to this instruction, is assigned the block of numbers which includes that allotted to him.

7. If, however, a soldier who has received a regimental number on the TF series is transferred after 28th February 1917, from a unit of his present Infantry Corps to a TF or Regular unit of another infantry corps, he must be allotted a new number by the Officer i/c Records of his new unit from the series belonging to that part of the corps, Regular or TF, to which he is transferred. As indicated in Appendix 207 to this instruction, the number so assigned to a soldier posted to a TF unit will be taken from the block of numbers allocated to that unit.

8. All soldiers who on the 1st March 1917, are serving as Regular soldiers (see paragraph 3) will remain serving on their present regular numbers, and will be dealt with as regular soldiers so long as they continue to serve with a battalion of the same corps of infantry even though they may be posted to a TF unit of that corps or re-posted to a regular unit of the same corps.

9. A regular soldier who after 28th February 1917 is transferred from a unit of his present infantry corps to a Regular or TF unit of another corps, whether of infantry or another arm of the Service, will receive a number from the regular series of numbers of the corps to which he is transferred.

10. The only men who can join infantry units and be dealt with as TF soldiers on and after 1st March 1917, will be (i) men directly enlisted into such units from among those men who do not come under the provision of the Military Services Acts, 1916, (ii) soldiers serving on TF attestations who may be transferred to TF infantry units from units of other arms of the TF, and (iii) men directly posted to TF infantry units from Army Reserve Class B as their first unit. Such men will be given numbers on the TF series from the first unallotted numbers of the block assigned to the unit to which they are posted or transferred.

11. The series of numbers referred to in paragraph 4 will be allocated as shown in the Appendix to this instruction. It will be seen that a block of numbers has been selected for each TF battalion mentioned in Column 1 of the Appendix. The block of numbers will in each case comprise men serving in 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines of the unit, and the depot, and in the TF Reserve, or temporarily demobilized. It will also include men attached but not posted or transferred to other units or corps. The last 5000 numbers of each block will be reserved for the use of Officers i/c Base Records. See paragraph 1 of ACI 1499 of 1916.

12. Soldiers of the battalions shown in the first column of the following table having been renumbered on the TF series belonging to the infantry corps shown in the second column of the table, it is immaterial in these cases whether the name of the regiment to be used in conjunction with the new regimental number is that shown in column 1 or that shown in column 2 (see paragraph 18). In the case of shoulder titles and identity discs however the name of the regiment shown in Col. 1 will continue to be used.

TF Battalions

Renumbered on TF series belonging to the following Infantry Corps.

Brecknock Bn

S. Wales Borderers

Bucks Bn

Oxford & Bucks LI

Cambridgeshire Regt

Suffolk Regt

Hereford Regt

Shropshire LI

Hertfordshire Regt

Bedford Regt

Highland Cyclist Bn

Royal Highlanders

Hunts. Cyclist Bn

Bedford Regt

Kent Cyclist Bn

West Kent Regt

Monmouth Regt

S Wales Borderers

Northern Cyclist Bn

Northumberland Fus

(Ed. The remainder of Part A. details administrative consequences, and Part B deals with consequential rules for Part II Orders of Infantry Units, and are omitted for brevity)

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Was my contribution of any use ........... you gave no dates.

Oh!, and the renumbering of the TF was by no means senseless, it had, for a variety of good reasons, become necessary.

You may find this extract from the Langley/Stewart Lummis Cup winning article of interest.

TF Numbering in the Great War. The pre-war (and for a short time after the outbreak of war) territorial recruit to the TF enlisted for Home defence exclusively. Whereas he was encouraged to sign the Imperial Service commitment asserting his readiness to serve with his own unit overseas in time of war, this was entirely voluntary and carried no advantage except for a rather smart white metal badge. Only if a large percentage of a unit signed the commitment could a unit be sent overseas, and no soldier could be compelled to serve in a unit other than his own.

The exigencies of war soon sent willing formed TF units to fight, and pressure was brought, often successfully, to add to their number. Nevertheless, the system was inflexible, and was rendered not of the highest priority by the preference to build ‘New Armies’ rather than grow on to the TF stock. ACI 294 of 1915:

“Ref L.9/Gen. No.4201 TFI of 15th September 1914, notifying that Officers i/c TF records offices will be responsible during the period of embodiement (sic) for allotting regimental numbers to units of the TF, it is notified that men transferring from an Imperial Service unit to its linked home service unit will retain their old number, and that recruits enlisting into the home service unit, whether for service at home or abroad will be numbered in continuation of the existing series as the parent unit.”

The coming of conscription in 1916 ended the TF’s (sometimes violated) legal immunity from involuntary active service, and also ended the lack of genuine distinction between, on the one hand the grouping together of regular soldier, special reservist and New Army man, reiterated by AO 123 of 1915 and quoted elsewhere, and on the other hand the Territorial. This meant that cross-posting from regular or Service battalions to TF battalions and the converse was possible, and this at a time in 1916 when the need for a flexible system of reinforcements, notionally trained and able to be posted to any needy unit, was paramount. Army Circular Instruction (ACI) 1499 of 31st July 1916 dealt with the numbering aspects:

“1. Owing to the change in the system of transferring and posting of infantry drafts on arrival in France, the following procedure will be adopted and carried out forthwith: -

1.Each Regular Infantry Record Office, and each TF Record Office will issue to the Officer i/c Base Records, through the DAG 3rd Echelon, blocks of regimental numbers in extension of the present series, in the case of regulars 5000 for each regiment, and in the case of TF 1000 for each TF battalion (including 2nd and 3rd Lines) affiliated to TF Record Office, further blocks being issued as required.

2. Under arrangements to be made by the DAG 3rd Echelon, these numbers will be allotted by the OC Base Depot to regular soldiers transferred to other corps, or to TF soldiers who are posted to other regular or TF units of their own corps, or who are transferred to regular or TF units of other corps. ……………”

This was not the best drafted Instruction of the war, but its import is clear: a TF man could be sent anywhere, and he would, if sent away from his unit, receive a new number, either in his own regiment’s regular series, or that of another regiment, or a new number in a TF battalion of his own regiment, or in that of another. Examples of this process from the East Yorkshire (EY) regiment include: 4/5483 became 13th battalion EY 28065, 4/6629 became 8th EY 28253, 4/5227 became 7th EY 30841, 4/5172 became 7th EY 30923, 4/5133 became 7th EY 30863 etc. It should go without saying that these changes impacted on the regular numbering series, and caused a lot of ‘scatter’ in the distribution. Another example was in the Sherwood Foresters, the renumbering of 4-digit TF men with 'new' 4-digit numbers which took place when the (3/5th - 3/6th) & (3/7th - 3/8th) battalions merged to form 5th Reserve and 7th Reserve respectively in June 1916.

The next utterance was a very verbose ACI 1840 of 23rd September 1916, entitled Procedure in connection with the Attachment, Posting, Transfer and Drafting of soldiers of the Regular Army and the Territorial Force. Only the parts dealing directly with numbering will be quoted here.

“ATTACHMENTS. ‘The attachment of a man to another unit’ does not involve any change …..

POSTINGS. …defined as ‘from one unit to another of the same Corps’ ……

A TF soldier posted to TF unit is allotted a regimental number in his new unit ….

A TF soldier posted to a Regular unit … is given a new Regular number …..

A Regular soldier posted to a TF unit …. A TF number will be allotted to him ….

A Regular soldier posted to another regular unit ….. (Ed. No mention of change of number in this case, and one can understand why)

A TF soldier re-posted from a Regular unit to his original TF unit, or vice-versa …. Will resume his original regimental number.

TRANSFERS.defined as ‘Permanent movement of a soldier from one Corps to another’.

TF soldier to be transferred to a Regular unit of another Corps …will be transferred to a Corps containing both TF units or soldiers and the Regular unit which it is desired he should join. Then posted to the Regular unit. Receives a regimental number in the new Corps.

TF soldier to be transferred to a TF unit of another Corps, to receive a number in his new unit.

COMPULSORY DRAFTING. Treat as Posting”.

One is tempted to quote “when in a hole stop digging”!

The authorities finally confronted the TF numbering question in a major ACI, 2414 of 23rd December 1916; indeed it is surprising that such a major change was promulgated in the (lesser) ACI series rather than the (major) AO series. As it is, the instruction follows 2412 ‘Manure – the importance of utilizing on land’! Although 2414 was the military administration equivalent to an earthquake, it was to be followed by aftershocks nevertheless.

“Infantry of the TF – Re-numbering of Personnel, and Alterations in Administrative Arrangements.

1. Owing to the amalgamation of reserve Infantry units of the TF, to drafting exigencies and to the general necessity of employing personnel to the best advantage, it has become increasingly necessary to post TF Infantry soldiers from and to the Regular and TF Battalions of their Corps. As under the present system each TF Battalion (ie the comprehensive unit comprising the 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines) has its own series of regimental numbers, postings between Battalions (other than between lines of the same original TF Battalion) involve the allocation of fresh numbers (see ACI 1840 of 1916) (Ed. Entitled ‘Procedure in connection with the Attachment, Posting, Transfer and Drafting of soldiers of the Regular Army and the Territorial Force and quoted above) with resultant clerical labour and the risk of confusion and error. In order to obviate the necessity for this change in numbering on posting, it has been decided to allot new regimental numbers to the personnel of all TF Infantry Battalions in accordance with the arrangements indicated below.

2. The re-numbering to be carried out under this ACI will apply to all TF Infantry soldiers (except those of the Royal Defence Corps) ie. to all those coming under the following description:-

a. All soldiers serving in infantry units of the TF having either (i) enlisted direct into such units, or been posted direct thereto from Army Reserve Class B, or (ii) been transferred or posted thereto from a unit of another corps of the TF, or from any unit of the Regular Army not later than 28th February 1917.

b. All soldiers belonging to infantry units of the TF who may be temporarily attached to any unit other than their own, without having been posted or transferred thereto.

3. Soldiers of infantry units (other than the Royal Defence Corps) who do not come under the description given in paragraph 2 will, for the purpose of this ACI be regarded as Regulars, no matter on what form of attestation – Regular or TF – they may have been enlisted. These soldiers will be identified as Regulars by their regimental numbers, which will in every case run from 1 to 200000 (see paragraph5).

A. RENUMBERING

4. In order to carry out the decision referred to in paragraph 1 every infantry soldier who on 1st March 1917, falls under the description in paragraph 2 will be given a new TF regimental number on one series running throughout the whole of the TF battalions comprised in each infantry corps as defined in the Corps Warrant (AO 250 of 1916 as amended by AOs 258 and 325 of 1916) subject, however, to the following modifications: -

a. The whole of the battalions of the London Regiment taken together will, for the purposes of this ACI, be regarded as a distinct TF Corps of Infantry, and all the personnel will accordingly be re-numbered on one corps series for that Regiment, regardless of the corps to which the various battalions are affiliated under the Corps Warrant; and

b. the 10th Battalion The King’s Liverpool Regiment will be re-numbered on the TF series belonging to that Regiment.

5. This re-numbering will commence on a series beginning at 200001 in every case. In view of this re-numbering the allotment of regimental numbers to soldiers which was prescribed by paragraph 146A, TF Regulations (AO 228 of 1915) (Ed. This described how, for the purpose of TF numbering, the unit was the infantry battalion) will be in abeyance for the remaining period of the war.

6. The new number thus allotted to a TF soldier will be retained by him so long as he continues to serve with a unit of the same corps of Infantry (as defined in paragraph 4) even though he may be posted to a regular unit of that corps or another TF unit of the same corps. So long as he continues to serve in the same corps of infantry (see paragraph 4) he will, for the purpose of the issue of separation allowance and allotment of pay, continue in the administration of the TF Association responsible for the unit to which, under the Appendix (printed as Appendix 207 to these ACIs) to this instruction, is assigned the block of numbers which includes that allotted to him.

7. If, however, a soldier who has received a regimental number on the TF series is transferred after 28th February 1917, from a unit of his present Infantry Corps to a TF or Regular unit of another infantry corps, he must be allotted a new number by the Officer i/c Records of his new unit from the series belonging to that part of the corps, Regular or TF, to which he is transferred. As indicated in Appendix 207 to this instruction, the number so assigned to a soldier posted to a TF unit will be taken from the block of numbers allocated to that unit.

8. All soldiers who on the 1st March 1917, are serving as Regular soldiers (see paragraph 3) will remain serving on their present regular numbers, and will be dealt with as regular soldiers so long as they continue to serve with a battalion of the same corps of infantry even though they may be posted to a TF unit of that corps or re-posted to a regular unit of the same corps.

9. A regular soldier who after 28th February 1917 is transferred from a unit of his present infantry corps to a Regular or TF unit of another corps, whether of infantry or another arm of the Service, will receive a number from the regular series of numbers of the corps to which he is transferred.

10. The only men who can join infantry units and be dealt with as TF soldiers on and after 1st March 1917, will be (i) men directly enlisted into such units from among those men who do not come under the provision of the Military Services Acts, 1916, (ii) soldiers serving on TF attestations who may be transferred to TF infantry units from units of other arms of the TF, and (iii) men directly posted to TF infantry units from Army Reserve Class B as their first unit. Such men will be given numbers on the TF series from the first unallotted numbers of the block assigned to the unit to which they are posted or transferred.

11. The series of numbers referred to in paragraph 4 will be allocated as shown in the Appendix to this instruction. It will be seen that a block of numbers has been selected for each TF battalion mentioned in Column 1 of the Appendix. The block of numbers will in each case comprise men serving in 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines of the unit, and the depot, and in the TF Reserve, or temporarily demobilized. It will also include men attached but not posted or transferred to other units or corps. The last 5000 numbers of each block will be reserved for the use of Officers i/c Base Records. See paragraph 1 of ACI 1499 of 1916.

12. Soldiers of the battalions shown in the first column of the following table having been renumbered on the TF series belonging to the infantry corps shown in the second column of the table, it is immaterial in these cases whether the name of the regiment to be used in conjunction with the new regimental number is that shown in column 1 or that shown in column 2 (see paragraph 18). In the case of shoulder titles and identity discs however the name of the regiment shown in Col. 1 will continue to be used.

TF Battalions

Renumbered on TF series belonging to the following Infantry Corps.

Brecknock Bn

S. Wales Borderers

Bucks Bn

Oxford & Bucks LI

Cambridgeshire Regt

Suffolk Regt

Hereford Regt

Shropshire LI

Hertfordshire Regt

Bedford Regt

Highland Cyclist Bn

Royal Highlanders

Hunts. Cyclist Bn

Bedford Regt

Kent Cyclist Bn

West Kent Regt

Monmouth Regt

S Wales Borderers

Northern Cyclist Bn

Northumberland Fus

(Ed. The remainder of Part A. details administrative consequences, and Part B deals with consequential rules for Part II Orders of Infantry Units, and are omitted for brevity)

Interesting read. Always nice to see that the army did everything in a straight forward manner...

What I've found most confusing is how battalions did things within the block they were allocated - was there any formal instruction (other than in point 11 above) about how the numbers should be allocated ?.

Craig

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It is evident that some people didn't understand my original post so I've posted it again

Could some one explain the logic behind the issue of a new service number, I have several men in the 11th East Lancs wounded at the battle of the Somme, upon release from hospital sent to the retraining battalion, then issued with a new number, usually starting with 35, several of these men were posted to the 6th E.L. others were posted to the 7th & 8th battalions, and eventually posted back to the 11th.

Why the need for a new number, their old number would not clash with any others in the East Lancs.

What happened with the regular battalions in 1917 has nowt to do with it.

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Your new style of posting has me so perplexed that I will retire.

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  • Admin

I think you will find that these men were re-numbered because when they recovered from wounds they actually spent some time in a training reserve battalion (TRB). They would have received a new number upon transfer to the TRB. If they were then transferred back to the East Lancs, they would have then received a new East Lancs number. You might think it would have been logical to give them back their old East Lancs numbers but I don't think the army worked like that.

An example is John James Alston who I understand was an original Accrington Pal (you will know better if otherwise) and who had the number 15599. He was wounded on the Somme but upon recovery he was eventually transferred to the 75/TRB at Prees Heath (and upon doing so he would have received a 5-digit number looking like TR/3/xxxxx). He was transferred back to the East Lancs (3rd Bn) and given number 35436. He later went back to France via the 30th IBD and was posted to the 7th Bn East Lancs.

Russ

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lstons

I think you will find that these men were re-numbered because when they recovered from wounds they actually spent some time in a training reserve battalion (TRB). They would have received a new number upon transfer to the TRB. If they were then transferred back to the East Lancs, they would have then received a new East Lancs number. You might think it would have been logical to give them back their old East Lancs numbers but I don't think the army worked like that.

An example is John James Alston who I understand was an original Accrington Pal (you will know better if otherwise) and who had the number 15599. He was wounded on the Somme but upon recovery he was eventually transferred to the 75/TRB at Prees Heath (and upon doing so he would have received a 5-digit number looking like TR/3/xxxxx). He was transferred back to the East Lancs (3rd Bn) and given number 35436. He later went back to France via the 30th IBD and was posted to the 7th Bn East Lancs.

Russ

Yes that did indeed happen to John James, but not to his brother Tom, altogether 7 Alston's from this area served in WW1, 4 brothers and a cousin, I've not managed to link the other two as relatives yet.

As for my original question it only seemed to occur within the East Lancs, The other men seem to have been posted to different Regiments, where you would expect a number change.

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Could some one explain the logic behind the issue of a new service number, I have several men in the 11th East Lancs wounded at the battle of the Somme, upon release from hospital sent to the retraining battalion, then issued with a new number, usually starting with 35, several of these men were posted to the 6th E.L. others were posted to the 7th & 8th battalions, and eventually posted back to the 11th. Why the need for a new number, their old number would not clash with any others in the East Lancs.

Firstly & most importantly you have to have an understanding of how the Army worked between 1914 & 1918 and in your case you may not understand what happend to your wounded from 1916 onwards. You are more than aware that a 12th(Reserve)Bn,East Lancs Regt was formed in May from the Depot Companies of the 11th(Service)Bn,East Lancs Regt(Accrington Pals). This you describe as the "retraining battalion", but on the 1st September 1916 all changed and all of the infantry "Reserve" Bn's, apart from the Regular Reserve & Extra Reserve Bns, disappeared into the "Training Reserve".

Your 12th(Reserve)Bn,East Lancs Regt was no more - it became the 75th Training Reserve Bn, 17th Reserve Bde and all of those men were renumbered in the new Training Reserve system, yours beginning I believe TR/3/****, being No.3 District, Western Command. This in effect means they were no longer East Lancs, they were part of a general Infantry Reserve, whose aim was to send these men wherever as reinforcements - often to units within the Command from whence they came and then elsewhere.

As you kindly point out some of your former 1st July 1916 wounded, were luckily re-posted back into the East Lancs Regt, but no longer being East Lancs and having been renumbered TR/3/**** and under the then Regulations regarding tranfers & re-numbering your former East Lancs, would under the eye of zealous Records Officer be "renumbered" again within the Regt.

On top of which there were circumstances where this didn't occur and it usually entails those who return to their 'old' Battalion, as I found with a small number of Tyneside Scottish, who received their old numbers back, having been transferred to the Training Reserve, after wounding etc - however the majority on return to other Battalions within the N.F., were renumbered.

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lstons

Yes that did indeed happen to John James, but not to his brother Tom ...

When you say this did not happen to his brother Tom (I assume you mean Thomas Alston, East Lancs 15600, later MGC 151951) do you mean:

1) He didn't receive any re-training with the 75/TRB or

2) He did receive re-training with the 75/TRB but did not receive a new East Lancs number?

If (1), then there would have been no need to give him a new East Lancs number - he was just transferred at some point to the MGC direct from the East Lancs

If (2), then he might have transferred direct to the MGC after serving with the 75/TRB

Russ

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When you say this did not happen to his brother Tom (I assume you mean Thomas Alston, East Lancs 15600, later MGC 151951) do you mean:

1) He didn't receive any re-training with the 75/TRB or

2) He did receive re-training with the 75/TRB but did not receive a new East Lancs number?

If (1), then there would have been no need to give him a new East Lancs number - he was just transferred at some point to the MGC direct from the East Lancs

If (2), then he might have transferred direct to the MGC after serving with the 75/TRB

Russ

Thomas for some reason was not among those renumberd after the battle of the Somme & he didn't join the M.G.C. untill late 1917.

All this number changing only seems to occur with some of the Pals who were wounded on July 1/2, it didn't happen after that period.

I also have several sets of mens papers, where even the army record office them selves are confused, there are copys of letters to a wife or mother asking for last known address and service number.

As far as I can find this illogical renumbering of wounded men only occured with those Acc Pals, who enlisted in 1914, those who joined after that date & those who were posted to the Battalion in May & June 1916 were unaffected.

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Do you have a service record of a Pal who went to the 75/TRB after being wounded but did not get re-numbered on his eventual return to the East Lancs?

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I also have several sets of mens papers, where even the army record office them selves are confused, there are copys of letters to a wife or mother asking for last known address and service number.

As far as I can find this illogical renumbering of wounded men only occured with those Acc Pals, who enlisted in 1914, those who joined after that date & those who were posted to the Battalion in May & June 1916 were unaffected.

I do know of one extremely rare case, in which a series of Service Records for a Company of D.L.I., were lost prior to service overseas and they all had to be renumbered out of the Battalion sequence.

Generally you had two sets of Records - an "Original" set that travelled with you and a "Duplicate" set which remained at home and were eventually deposited within the Regimental Record Office, usually at the Depot. Many years ago I saw a beautiful photo of the N.F. Depot Staff, taken late in the War of which two thirds of the staff members were women.

Doesn't solve your problem, but there may be something within those records which may give you a clue as to why they were renumbered..

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Do you have a service record of a Pal who went to the 75/TRB after being wounded but did not get re-numbered on his eventual return to the East Lancs?

Pte. Ralph Crompton. 16008. 11th E.L. trnsfd as Pte. 9927 A.C.C. Oct 1915. Trnsfrd as Pte. 27269 to 11th E.L. May 1916. Wounded July 1st, on recovery posted to 6th E.L. as Pte. 27269

Pte. D. Crossley 22176 wnd July 1st on recovery posted as Pte 35430 to 1/5th E.L.

L/Cpl. E. Culley 15795. wnd July 1st 1916 on recovery posted as L/Cpl. 15795 to 7th E.L.

On the service records I have aquired. When a man is wounded and posted to a hospital in England the next entry on his service sheet usually shows D or 3rd E.L. even though he might never be posted to a front line battalion again, but be discharged.

I have the records for one man who served in the Lancs Fus, was wounded reported in the local papers as K.I.A; spent 10 months in hospital eventually returned to his unit and saw the end of the war with his original number.

None of it makes ay logical sense.

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I'll start with Daniel Crossley

He enlisted into the 12/EL at Press Heath on 15/11/1915 and was given the EL number 22176 (the 12/EL was the pre-curser to the 75/TRB, which came into being on 01/09/1916 - see below)

After training he was posted to the 11/EL on 02/03/1916 with the BEF

He was wounded on the Somme

He was posted back to the UK on 05/07/1916, to EL Depot (which is what "D" stands for)

On recovery he was posted to the 12/EL on 19/08/1916

He was then transferred to the 75/TRB on 01/09/1916 (he would then have received a new number of the type TR/3/xxxxx - see post #9 above)

After re-training with the 75/TRB he was transferred to the 3/EL and given the new EL number of 35430

He was then posted back out to France to the 30/IBD on 07/01/1917

After a spell at the IBD he was posted to the 11/EL

I don't see anything illogical with the this man's movements and EL numbers

I'll have a look at the others later

Russ

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I'll start with Daniel Crossley

He enlisted into the 12/EL at Press Heath on 15/11/1915 and was given the EL number 22176 (the 12/EL was the pre-curser to the 75/TRB, which came into being on 01/09/1916 - see below)

After training he was posted to the 11/EL on 02/03/1916 with the BEF

He was wounded on the Somme

He was posted back to the UK on 05/07/1916, to EL Depot (which is what "D" stands for)

On recovery he was posted to the 12/EL on 19/08/1916

He was then transferred to the 75/TRB on 01/09/1916 (he would then have received a new number of the type TR/3/xxxxx - see post #9 above)

After re-training with the 75/TRB he was transferred to the 3/EL and given the new EL number of 35430

He was then posted back out to France to the 30/IBD on 07/01/1917

After a spell at the IBD he was posted to the 11/EL

I don't see anything illogical with the this man's movements and EL numbers

I'll have a look at the others later

Russ

Thanks Russ

But I am well aware of Daniel Crossley's where abouts during his sevice in WW1. I cannot see the need to renumber, no one else in the East Lancs has the number 22176, and the numbers were never used again so once again whats the LOGIC behind renumbering.

I have service records of men with as many as 3 different service numbers whilst they were being shuffled between the 3rd & 10th E.L. Then their final number on posting to a line battalion.

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Retlaw

I would put these cases down to clerks making mistakes, or misunderstanding the rules about renumbering on transfers. The question of logic doesn't seem to enter into it. In your experience, are cases like these confined to the East Lancs Regiment, or to the regiments served by No.3 Infantry Records Office?

Ron

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Russ

Thanks Russ

But I am well aware of Daniel Crossley's where abouts during his sevice in WW1. I cannot see the need to renumber, no one else in the East Lancs has the number 22176, and the numbers were never used again so once again whats the LOGIC behind renumbering.

I have service records of men with as many as 3 different service numbers whilst they were being shuffled between the 3rd & 10th E.L. Then their final number on posting to a line battalion.

Because it's laid down in Kings Regulations, Para 1900 and that's what we're trying to tell you - it doesn't matter if the number doesn't clash - he was transferred out and was no longer regarded as EL - he went and served with another 'Corps'.

Even if he'd been EL(T.F.) and changed EL(T.F.) battalions prior to 1917 - he would have been 'renumbered', without even leaving the Regiment, again as laid down in TFR's. There are exceptional circumstances during wartime service, as I've previously pointed out, but they are a rarity and seemingly at the discretion of the Regimental Records Officer.

post-7376-0-12147200-1436108244_thumb.jp

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These examples are neither mistakes nor misunderstandings, and logic as such has nothing to do with it. The simple matter of fact is that the regulations with respect to numbering at the time warranted a renumbering when a man transferred from one unit (a different regiment or corps) to another .

For the two examples I have given (James John Alston in post #9 and Daniel Crossley in post #18), the men were transferred to the 75/TRB before transferring back to the East Lancs. The 75/TRB was a different unit to the East Lancs Rgt. So it was entirely in accordance with army regulations for them to have been re-numbered. There is no mystery and the logic is fully self-consistent with army regulations. You might conclude that the numbering regulations were cumbersome and ill-thought out but they were not illogical (although mistakes could sometimes be made for those very reasons)

You might well then the ask as to why the other example you gave in post #17 for Ralph Crompton (named Arthur Crompton in all his official records) did not warrant a re-numbering following his wounding on the Somme and when he moved from the 11tth to the 6th Bn ELs. The simple answer is that he was not transferred to any other unit between those two EL battalions - he recovered from his wounds whilst he remained with the EL. He did not go to the 75/TRB for re-training unlike the other two examples provided. So Arthur (Ralph) Crompton's set of numbers complies fully with the army regulations with respect to numbering. There is no mystery to his numbers.

I'm not denying that examples can be found that might defy understanding (or indeed are in breach of regulations). But every example you have offered up so far is entirely understandable and explicable as being in accordance with army regulations. Perhaps you could detail an example that contravenes the regulations.

PS. I could not find a service record for your fourth example given in post # 17 for Ernest Culley - perhaps you could post a link to it. Given that his EL number evidently did not change following his wounding on the Somme, then my prediction is that he recovered from his wounds whilst he remained with the EL. If you know otherwise, then that would be interesting.

Russ

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I think the question is why were the men not given back their original number which may not seem logical. Obviously when transferring to another regiment or corps a new number would be given but KRs does not say that he should not hold the same number in the same regiment he originally had on returning. Any man transferring out from the RGA and then transferring back received their old number back, which seems logical to me. The number was unique to him and would not have been given to any other serviceman even if he had not transferred back. I think Graham and Russ are correct in that one just has to accept what happened. It possibly helps if you are/have been a civil servant (anyone paid by the government) or worked in a corporation. Sometimes logic doesn't come into it, if like me, you haven't. Logic would tell you there was no reason that Pte. Crossley could not have had his original 22176 number back, but it seems to me one has to accept that was not how the ELs worked.

Kevin

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I think the question is why were the men not given back their original number which may not seem logical. Obviously when transferring to another regiment or corps a new number would be given but KRs does not say that he should not hold the same number in the same regiment he originally had on returning. Any man transferring out from the RGA and then transferring back received their old number back, which seems logical to me. The number was unique to him and would not have been given to any other serviceman even if he had not transferred back. I think Graham and Russ are correct in that one just has to accept what happened. It possibly helps if you are/have been a civil servant (anyone paid by the government) or worked in a corporation. Sometimes logic doesn't come into it, if like me, you haven't. Logic would tell you there was no reason that Pte. Crossley could not have had his original 22176 number back, but it seems to me one has to accept that was not how the ELs worked.

Kevin

Logic was indeed applied, but only to those who were Reservists - they were called back and given their 'old' numbers back - however that only applied to those who were still within their five year term of Reserve service up to August 1914. You only had to be one day over that five year period and your Reserve commitment was finished totally and so on coming back after mobilisation you would have been regarded as a 'new' enlistment and given a new number, as your old number would have been struck off the Nominal Roll. This I found happening to old NF's just outside of their Reserve service.

The East Lancs weren't unique in renumbering their old wounded on return after spells in the Training Reserve, you'll find that all infantry units followed the logic as laid down in KR's and it becomes even more clearer if you have large regimental databases, which clearly show how it worked, as in the case of the 95,456 individuals I've documented.

In the case of those lads who served solely within the 'Territorial' element of a Regiment and who were never transferred, they could in theory be numbered up to 'six' times(as could possibly happen in the N.F.(T.F.) and never even have left the Regiment and it would work thus;-

4/1234 - 1/4th Bn,NF

5/5678 - transfered to 1/5th Bn,NF

6/2468 - transferred to 1/6th Bn,NF

7/1357 - transferred to 1/7th Bn,NF

246890 - renumbered 1917

4256789 - renumbered 1920 on formation of T.A.

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post-7376-0-20046200-1436128572_thumb.jp

The logic of Territorial numbering in accordance with Regulations for the Territorial Force.

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