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ASC Number Prefixes 2019


Gardenerbill
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In recent posts about ASC soldiers I have noticed there is still confusion around the ASC number prefixes, particularly around the link to the new armies. I am not an expert, but I have an interest in mechanical transport and I have studied the M series ASC numbers in detail. The results of my findings are in in an earlier topic so I will provide a summary here. Some of the information comes from ‘Army Service Corps 1902 – 1918’ by Michael Young, any reference to this book will be abbreviated to ‘ASC MY’ and a page number. In 1902 when the first MT companies were created there was a single set of numbers with different prefixes for each branch of the ASC [ASC MY p239]; M, R, S, and T. There were also specialists and special reserve with their own series of numbers (see below), medal index cards can be found for these pre-war variants as many of them served in the Great War.

 

1110614816_ASCMYp239a.jpg.c2719830be95bb660788f9703694a90c.jpg

 

Is there a link to the new armies?

 

According to Michael Young [ASC MY p239] above, the ASC introduced a new set of prefixes aligned to the new armies. Along with the new prefixes a new series of numbers, with blocks allocated to each branch was started. The first new army prefixes (T1, S1, M1 but not R1) were introduced in September 1914. I can find no MICs for ASC men with R1 prefix. As my area of interest is MT, the only examples I have are for MT men, the earliest M1 example I have is:

 

M1/5493 Pte Bertie G Luxford Attested Grove Park 25th September 1914

 

In order to establish a probable link to the first new army, please can forum pals who have an Ancestry or FMP subscription, find the following:

An early attestation date for a T1 prefix in the range T1/101 to T1/2489

An early attestation date for a S1 prefix in the range S1/2490 to S1/2752

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An early booklet in my collection (whose author's name I cannot recall) says that M1, M2, M3 and M4 (and similar for the R's, S's and T's) relate to the first four New Armies, but doesn't actually say that M1 = K1, M2 = K2 etc. My reading is that M1 to M4 refer to New Army attestations but not necessarily that the number corresponds to the Army. Many people have contended that, for example, M4 corresponds to the Fourth New Army but I don't regard that as anywhere near proved. If it is true, then why do no numbers prefixed M5, R5, S5 or T5 appear to have been issued?

 

Ron

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MT seem to have stuck at M2, the very rare M3 or M4 prefixes turn out to be men transferred from other branches whose numbers were prefixed for example T3 or T4. ASC MY p240 states 'With a view to simplifying the question of Regimental Numbers and prefixes in the ASC, it was decided from 20 November 1916 inclusive, to discontinue the use of /2/ and the /4/ as denoting the New Army numbers, and simply to use the T, S, M or R as the case may be.

 

I would like to try and establish the intention behind the use of these prefixes and see if they align with the new armies starting with the first.    

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1 hour ago, Gardenerbill said:

In recent posts about ASC soldiers I have noticed there is still confusion around the ASC number prefixes, particularly around the link to the new armies. I am not an expert, but I have an interest in mechanical transport and I have studied the M series ASC numbers in detail. The results of my findings are in in an earlier topic so I will provide a summary here. Some of the information comes from ‘Army Service Corps 1902 – 1918’ by Michael Young, any reference to this book will be abbreviated to ‘ASC MY’ and a page number. In 1902 when the first MT companies were created there was a single set of numbers with different prefixes for each branch of the ASC [ASC MY p239]; M, R, S, and T. There were also specialists and special reserve with their own series of numbers (see below), medal index cards can be found for these pre-war variants as many of them served in the Great War.

 

1110614816_ASCMYp239a.jpg.c2719830be95bb660788f9703694a90c.jpg

 

Is there a link to the new armies?

 

According to Michael Young [ASC MY p239] above, the ASC introduced a new set of prefixes aligned to the new armies. Along with the new prefixes a new series of numbers, with blocks allocated to each branch was started. The first new army prefixes (T1, S1, M1 but not R1) were introduced in September 1914. I can find no MICs for ASC men with R1 prefix. As my area of interest is MT, the only examples I have are for MT men, the earliest M1 example I have is:

 

M1/5493 Pte Bertie G Luxford Attested Grove Park 25th September 1914

 

In order to establish a probable link to the first new army, please can forum pals who have an Ancestry or FMP subscription, find the following:

An early attestation date for a T1 prefix in the range T1/101 to T1/2489 

An early attestation date for a S1 prefix in the range S1/2490 to S1/2752 

T1/55  - 12 Aug 14

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=GBM%2FWO363-4%2F007286447%2F00993&parentid=GBM%2FWO363-4%2F7286447%2F38%2F993

T1/148 - 17 Aug 14  but number later changed to TS/10645.

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=GBM%2FWO363-4%2F007303098%2F00261&parentid=GBM%2FWO363-4%2F7303098%2F11%2F261

T1/197 - 19 Aug 14

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=gbm%2fwo363-4%2f007266246%2f00645&parentid=gbm%2fwo363-4%2f7266246%2f43%2f644

 

Craig

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Thanks Craig,

According to the long long trail K1 (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Divs) 'came into existence as a result of Army Order No. 324, issued on 21 August 1914,'. I conclude the numbers for prefixes T1, S1, and M1 align closely with the establishment of the K1 divisions. 

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Just now, Gardenerbill said:

Thanks Craig,

According to the long long trail K1 (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Divs) 'came into existence as a result of Army Order No. 324, issued on 21 August 1914,'. I conclude the numbers for prefixes T1, S1, and M1 align closely with the establishment of the K1 divisions. 

I would agree Mark - the timing seems to fit nicely with the staffing of that.


When I looked previously at the numbering I did wonder if they started off with the good intentions of the prefixes matching the K armies and then either gave up or otherwise lost interest in continuing the connection.

 

Craig

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That's how it looks to me as well.

 

The T2 numbers start at T2/9401 can you find a near number attestation date for these.

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5 minutes ago, Gardenerbill said:

That's how it looks to me as well.

 

The T2 numbers start at T2/9401 can you find a near number attestation date for these.

T2/9404 issued 7 Sep 14

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=GBM%2FWO363-4%2F007266822%2F00894&parentid=GBM%2FWO363-4%2F7266822%2F59%2F894

 

For comparison
T1/9557 issued 7 Sep 14

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=GBM%2FWO363-4%2F007309497%2F00124&parentid=GBM%2FWO363-4%2F7309497%2F7%2F124

 

Looks to me like 7 Sep 14 was probably the date the cross over between the T1 and T2 started - possibly some residual men still allocated to T1 and that is the crossing in the numbers.


Craig

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The Long Long Trail is a vague about K2, it only has September 1914 (15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20th Divs). Same for K3.

Edited by Gardenerbill
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4 minutes ago, Gardenerbill said:

The Long Long Trail is a vague about K2, it only has September 1914 (15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20th Divs). Same for K3.

Prior to 5 Sep 14

Newspaper of 5 Sep 14 - https://search.findmypast.co.uk/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0001062%2f19140905%2f044&stringtohighlight=kitchener second army

image.png

 

EDIT:

Recruiting started 7 Aug 14 -

image.png

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000159%2f19140903%2f048&stringtohighlight=kitchener second army


Craig

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I don't think the ASC would have been able to keep up with the high rate of volunteering, which might explain why the MT branch gave up at M2. Also, in answer to Ron's question, according to The Long Long Trail, the K5 Divisions 37 to 42, were renumbered to 30 to 35 and became K4 10th December 1914, which may explain why there are no T5 or S5 prefixes.     

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1 minute ago, Gardenerbill said:

I don't think the ASC would have been able to keep up with the high rate of volunteering, which might explain why the MT branch gave up at M2. 

I think it has to be.

 

Craig

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The first range of M2s are M2/10251 to M2/10399. However I found an S3/10221.

Edited by Gardenerbill
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1 hour ago, Gardenerbill said:

I don't think the ASC would have been able to keep up with the high rate of volunteering, which might explain why the MT branch gave up at M2. Also, in answer to Ron's question, according to The Long Long Trail, the K5 Divisions 37 to 42, were renumbered to 30 to 35 and became K4 10th December 1914, which may explain why there are no T5 or S5 prefixes.     

But at the same time, a new Fifth Army was formed, consisting of 36th (Ulster), 37th (a division put together from spare K1, K2 and K3 battalions), 38th (Welsh), 39th, 40th and 41st Divisions (the last three being new formations. 37th and 38th Divisions were formerly numbered 44th and 43rd. (See Becke, Part 3B.) These were all essentially formed of locally raised "Pals" battalions, with the TF divisions coming into the numbering at 42.

 

Ron

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Of course, just to mix things up, the “W” prefix was used for the horse transport and supply personnel in the 38th (Welsh) division!

 

Has anyone seen medals with M1/SR and M2/SR prefixes?

 

All the best,

 

Gary

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7 hours ago, Waggoner said:

Of course, just to mix things up, the “W” prefix was used for the horse transport and supply personnel in the 38th (Welsh) division!

 

Has anyone seen medals with M1/SR and M2/SR prefixes?

 

All the best,

 

Gary

 

I have a victory medal impressed thus :-  M1SR  PTE.  G.H. FISHER.  A.S.C.

         

 

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Please forgive any repetition but rather late to the party, considering the chronology of the New Armies:

 

11 August 1914 Kitchener calls for 100,000 men between the age of 19 to 30 to volunteer, within two weeks the required number had come forward and formed the First New Army, or K1, comprising six Divisions.

 

21 August Army Order 324 approves the addition to the Army of six Divisions and Army Troops.   By the time  the order was issued another Division had been added.  This meant K1 would enter the order of battle as the 8th to 13th Divisions.  The return of regular battalions from overseas meant they were designated the 8th Division and the original 8th became the 14th.

Therefore to prove the statement  'T1 means recruited to Kitchener's 1st Army (KI)'  then logically the designation to the ASC should apply to men who enlisted between the above dates and were initially posted in support of the 8th to 14th Divisions.

 

28 August 1914 Kitchener demanded a further 100,000 men and when they came forward K2 was formed vide AO 382 of 11 September and the next six Divisions i.e. 15th to 20th, created  So we would expect T2 to be for men enlisted in this period and posted to support one of those Divisions.

 

The Third New Army, K3, followed shortly afterwards the Divisions numbered 21st too 26th.

 

14 September 1914 Army Order 389 proposes a fourth New Army which was approved in November.  This Army was to be formed from the reserve battalions of men who had come forward in August and September. In the meantime further Regular Battalions had returned from overseas and together with the TF took the Divisional numbers 27th - 29th.  This meant the ‘original’ Fourth Army was formed from Divisions numbered 30th - 35th.

 

10th December 1914 Fifth New Army approved, this largely comprised locally raised Battalions and the Divisions were designated 37th - 42nd.

 

March 1915 The last of the New Armies formed, originally designated the Sixth.

 

10 April 1915 The ‘original’ Fourth Army was broken up and the Infantry Brigades designated Reserve Infantry Brigades with the idea they would provide reinforcement to the K1 - K3.  The Fifth Army became the ’new’ Fourth and took over the Division designation previously held by the ‘original’ Fourth, i.e. 30th to 35th.  The Sixth became the Fifth New Army with Divisions numbering 36th to 41st. (the 39th and 40th designated ‘Bantams’.)

 

When considering  the relationship between T1 and K1, T2 and K2 etc two questions arise:-

 

Can a consistent relationship between T1 and K1 etc. be identified? (Knowing the T4 designation was also applied to men from the TF transferred to the Regulars in 1916.)

 

As pointed out above why didn’t the ASC continue the relationship in its number sequence? There’s no evidence T5 or T6 was ever applied.

 

I don’t know the answer to the second question but as noted above sampling might indicate a relationship which can prove the first.  For example, an ASC man recruited to support KI should have attested and been posted between 11 August 1914 and 21st August 1914.  He would have initially been posted overseas in support of one of the original Divisions, e.g. 8th Divisional Train.

 

The attached table(s) shows T1 was still being applied by the ASC in September, which post dates AO 324 but in the admittedly small sample predates AO 328.  It appears from notes on the Attestation Form, again as illustrated above at post 12, that as far as the ASC was concerned these troops were being recruited in support of 1st Army, though not all ended up there.  In terms of research it cannot be said with any certainty a man numbered T1 ended up in the First Army (K1) but I think it can be agreed they were amongst the first wartime recruits to the ASC and there is a clear distinction as to the date of attestation/enlistment, i.e. the ASC limited the time period, though when we get to T4 it seems the system collapsed.

 

I acknowledge it is a small sample, just ten from each category chosen more or less at random.  One interesting aspect, not highlighted by the table is that many of the T1 went to Bradford rather than Park Royal.  Had to post the tables as jpg 

 

Ken

T1 -T2.png

T3 - T4.png

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As an avid collector of FWW ASC medals by prefix, I am finding this discussion to be very interesting! It has perplexed me for some time that there doesn’t seem to be any record(s) of when the various prefixes were authorized and why. Or, is there and I am not aware of it?

 

Jim, thank you for this information! This is the first one that I am aware of.

 

All the best,

 

Gary

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