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Remembered Today:

Medal Cards & I.B.D's


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I've recently spent several weeks creating a  file of medal cards for the 11th East Lancs men, to replace the file William (Bill) Turner made of the Accrington Pals, this has involved a lot of work photoshopping the mess Ancestry made when they scanned the cards, whilst doing this I noticed on a good 70% the digits 30 in the top left hand corner, and the East  Lancs  I.B.D. was 30 at Etaples, confirmed  by numerous men's service records.

This set me thinking, so I started searching thro all the other cards I have for men in my patch, who served in practically every regiment in the British Army, 100's had a number scribbled in the top left hand corner, checking this against their service records and it was the I.B.D. they'd been posted to sometime during their service, WHY does it need to be on their medal card.  Below I've attached what I found. This info has come from the Medal Cards & Service records of several 1000 men in my patch from Abbott's to Young's

4 Royal Lancs

5 Manchesters

6 Royal Warwicks

8 Liverpools  & 24

11 Cameronians

15 Gordon Highlanders.

16 Connaught Rangers

17 Leicesters

19 Yorkshire Regt.

20 Lancs Fusiliers

21 Royal Scots

22 Cheshires

24 South Wales Borders

26 Scottish Rifles

30 East Yorks Light InftLancs

33  West Riding

34 Border Regt

41 Middlesex

45 Notts & Derby

47 Loyal North Lancs

48 Northumberland Fus

50 Royal West Kent

51 Yorks Light Inft

53 Shropshire Light Inft

60 Kings Royal Rifles.

64 North Staffs

68 Durham Light Inft

72 Seaforths

83 Royal Irish Rifles

100 Leinster's.

 Where was the location of all these I.B.D's I know a lot were in and around Etaples, but where were the rest. I've got nowhere using the internet.   WHY did it need to be scrawled on their cards HOW did those who filled in the details on those cards know ?.





Edited by Retlaw
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1 hour ago, RussT said:

The numbers refer to the old numeral for the respective Regiment of Foot


Not all of them, for instance Middlesex were 57th and 77th Foot. 


Middlesex used 41 (and later J) IBD at Etaples.

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And Northumberland Fusiliers were 5th Foot


Notts and Derbys were 45th Foot though

Edited by John Beech
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Many Black Watch are marked 42. I thought it signified the old regiment of foot number also.

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Border Regiment forerunner was 34th Foot.


Perhaps just a coincidence eh?


Steve Y

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By far and away the numbers indicated concur with the old 'foot regiment' designation for the post-1881 regiment, yes there are some oddball ones listed in Retlaw's initial post but the majority are the old designation.


Did the I.B.D numberings go as high as 100 as indicated for the Leinster's or even 72 for the Seaforth's?  Not according to the Long Long Trail they didn't, so my money is still on the old 'Regiment of Foot' designation as the number indicated and any similarity with an I.B.D. number is purely coincidental or a clerical error.....



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Thank you all for your answers, if as you say they are the old foot regiment numbers, i found too many for it to be a coincidence  that it also matched their I.B.D. number, even when all thats laid to rest, it still doesn't answer the question  WHY the need for it to be scrawled top left on their medal card, what purpose would it serve, Not all foot regiments had any thing other than name, rank, number, medals and or S.W.B. on their card.  Still puzzled.

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The cards were stored in alphabetical order of the surname and where names were the same, then in order of precedence of the unit they first went overseas with. By having the regimental numbering on them they could be sorted easily without reference to an order of precedence list. The clerks doing the sorting would probably remember the order of precedence of the main corps, Cavalry, Guards, RE, RFA, ASC etc, by heart 

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The pre-1881 numbers were preserved as the designations of the regimental districts, according to the new 1st Battalions' old numbers. These districts were grouped into twelve District Record Offices (plus the Rifle regiments). Records for all the relevant regiments were kept by the Officer i/c Records, a colonel (though in practice by a retired officer assistant) at the District HQ.


So the numbers refer to the regimental depots, not to IBDs. The IBDs were originally sent out with divisions, numbered with the same number as the division, and serving all battalions within the division. These IBDs were later consolidated into lettered depots with a more geographical remit.


It is possible that the attributions of the Manchesters and Middlesex refer to the earlier system. 2/Manch were originally in 5th Division.



Edited by Ron Clifton
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