Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

mickey selcon

TF Force 5 figure Regimental number

Recommended Posts

mickey selcon

Hi

I am looking for some guidance on a soldier I am researching. He is Pvt 37551 George Willie BENTLEY who served in the 2/5th Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, a TF unit. His service record doesn't appear to have survived but it is likely that he would have joined up sometime in 1916. His Medal Index Card and Service Medal Roll identify that he qualified for the BWM and VM and it is likely that he would have deployed with the Battalion when they went to France in February 1917.

 

It is my understanding that TF soldiers were given 4 figure Army numbers until the reorganisation in 1917 when they were changed to 6 figures, but George's record shows that the only number he was given was 37751, a 5 figure number. Can anyone explain why this was the case? Could it be something to do with the 2/5th originally being a 2nd line unit?

 

Hoping for some guidance

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Open Bolt

My understanding is that the battalions issued numbers, starting at 1 in 1908, when the TF formed. Some battalions made it to 4 digits before 1917, and others to 5. Certainly the Special Reserve (often 3rd Bn) cleared a lot of men through, especially in 1916, so 5 digits are entirely possible when issued there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alan24

I would suggest that all TF units started with service number 1 in April 1908 and would have initially had several hundred men who would have transferred from the Militia that the new TF unit was replacing. 

 

By 1917 it would have been very unlikely that more than 9999 men had passed through the unit, meaning most units would still be issuing 4 figure numbers right up to the 1917 renumbering. 

 

Perhaps in this case he was a regular enlistee, say 3rd battalion, who was transferred to a TF unit and kept his number. After conscription in March 1916 I understand that men could be transferred from regular units to TF units and vice versa.

 

Any units he serviced with solely in England would not show up on his MIC

 

So lets say he was conscripted some time in 1916 and trained as an MSA recruit with a regular number and later posted overseas to a TF unit as a possible scenario. 

 

Regards

 

Alan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mickey selcon

Thank you for all your help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252
37 minutes ago, Alan24 said:

I would suggest that all TF units started with service number 1 in April 1908 and would have initially had several hundred men who would have transferred from the Militia that the new TF unit was replacing.

Certainly the case in my expereince.

 

Quote

By 1917 it would have been very unlikely that more than 9999 men had passed through the unit, meaning most units would still be issuing 4 figure numbers right up to the 1917 renumbering. 

Usually around the 6XXX or 7XXX range but rarely higher.

 

I would say he quite possibly came via 72nd and 76th Training Reserves and was conscripted in early/mid 1917. There were based together at Press Heath and formed the Young Soldier & Graduated Battalions for the training of new recruits - https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/training-reserve/

 

#37554 KORL enlisted 1 June 1917  - previously 48th, 72nd and 76th Training Reserve.
#37556 KORL enlisted 19 April 1917 - previously 72nd and 76th Training Reserve


Craig

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PRC

Post the introduction of conscription there was no Territorial Force enlistments - they were all standard duration of the war terms and conditions.. Men on mobilisation would get a service number from the available blocks for the unit he trained with - which could have been any UK based  unit.

 

However seems likely he was with the Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, although it may not necessearily have been the 2nd/5th from the outset.

 

The practice of renumbering varies from regiment to regiment. Yes those who had the old 1 to 4 digit service numbers were renumbered at the start of 1917 into the relevant six digit service number range, and men who transferred in from other regiments would have been issued numbers in the new six digit range. But the five digit numbers are some and some.

 

35 minutes ago, Alan24 said:

Any units he serviced with solely in England would not show up on his MIC.

 

That is the standard guidance issued to the records offices, but some do include that information. It almost seems to come down to individual clerks as the service rolls for different regiments at the same records office can vary widely, while even within the rolls for specific battalions you will get references to Training Reserve Battalions served with, (for example), on some pages and not on others.

 

Cheers,

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
steve fuller

In the case of the Bedfordshires, I also see TF men moving to non-TF units and vise-versa, with their pre-move service numbers remaining intact; e.g. TF number 2645 changed to non-TF number 32130 on transfer from a TF to a new army unit very late in 1916 but TF number 200570 remained as such after transfer to a New Army unit in January 1918 and was killed with that number 2.5 months later

 

Have not looked into whether it was an admin-based delay in issuing new numbers, or whether their service numbers did not change from sometime after 1917, to reflect the TF/non-TF unit they found themselves in. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Porter

Army Order 173 of 1916, published on May 18, 1916, allowed TF numbering up to 19999.

 

IMG_0544.jpg.0ecfc17ef48ae37641be422e6e157726.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mickey selcon

Thank you everyone for the guidance, it is very much appreciated and helps a lot.

 

Thanks again

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IRC Kevin

With a five-figure number the likelihood is that he was conscripted and as Craig suggested earlier, came to the 2/5th via one of the training reserve battalions. The nearest man number-wise with a complete surviving service record from the battalion is 37786 Cyril John Matthews (who, when I sort my Battalion Roll by number, does appear to belong to the same sequence of numbers as George Bentley). Matthews was conscripted on 13 Jan 1917 and joined the battalion in France from the 48th Training Reserve Battalion on 17 May 1918. Sadly, the War Diary makes no mention of any drafts of replacements arriving and the Divisional A&Q Diary merely records that 1,340 ORs arrived as replacements in March 1918 without saying how many to each battalion.

Unfortunately, the only mention that George Bentley gets in my book about the battalion (The Lion and the Rose Volume 3) is in the Battalion Roll in one of the appendices. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ken Lees
7 hours ago, Alan24 said:

I would suggest that all TF units started with service number 1 in April 1908 and would have initially had several hundred men who would have transferred from the Militia that the new TF unit was replacing. 

 

 

The Territorial Force replaced the Volunteer Force in 1908, not the Militia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Muerrisch

The assumption that all TF units numbered from Number 1 in 1908 is untrue. The following extract is from Langley & Stewart, MHS Bulletin.

 

The Demise of the Volunteer Force and birth of the Territorial Force, 1908.

 

Against a background of history as described above, one might hope for a new order, a brave new world, with Territorial Force numbers stating afresh at number 1. for each unit. Each County Association responsible for a TF battalion was quasi-autonomous and it is unfortunate that the first TF regulations have no mention of numbering. Some units did not start a new series: these include the London Rifle Brigade and the 5th South Staffords. By contrast, the 6th Sherwood Foresters did indeed start at number 1. (Sergeant Broomhead), as did the Inns of Court Regiment. There was nothing to stop the several TF battalions affiliated to a regiment each taking different decisions: they could all or none start at number 1., for example, raising the distinct possibility that the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th ‘Blankshires’ might all be running series in parallel: fine and acceptable in peace, but the stirring and churning of war would throw up many pairs, trios and even larger multiples of numbers queueing at the same Pay Parade. 5th (TF) Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers, established by the amalgamation of 3rd (Dumfries) Volunteer Battalion, KOSB, and the Galloway (Kikudbright and Wigtown) Volunteer Rifle Corps less C Company Stranraer, hit on a novel, hopefully unique, numbering technique. The new battalion covered three counties, so what more logical, they thought, than to allocate blocks of numbers to each county:

Dumfries, companies A to D starting at number 1.,

Kirkudbrightshire, companies E to G, starting at 2000, and

Wigtownshire, H company, starting at 4000.

This continued until spring or summer 1910, when a Kirkudbrightshire man received 2332.

The awards of the Territorial Force Efficiency medal, first sanctioned in 1908, can be useful for analysis of sequences, but allowance has to be made for war-time service counting double, and one must assume a man obtained the award at the first possible date. Qualification was 12 years service and ‘trainings’. The attached scatter diagram (Figure 9) of the senior RWF TF battalion, the 4th, is typical. Allowing for a backlog in 1897, a fairly clear trend line can be drawn by eye, and an annual recruiting figure (about 300 per annum) derived. It is highly suggestive that a new series was not started in 1908 because, by the end of the war, men enlisted after that date might reasonably be expected to appear on the lists of awards.

A goodly number of TF units received the 1914 star or the 1914-1915 star. Whereas the presence of low numbers will tell us nothing, the presence of high regimental numbers, say over 5000, would be strongly suggestive that the pre-1908 VF number series continued after that date. Figure 9. shows that 4th (TF) RWF did not start at number 1. in 1908, whereas Figure 10. shows that 5th (TF) Gordon Highlanders did so. This latter also gives cumulative numbers by years up to and including 1916.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Muerrisch

Mildly miffed but not surprised that my contribution has been blanked. I only took 30 minutes to put together, so I suppose I should write that off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BillyH

Grumpy, you're not the first and won't be the last I'm afraid.  :rolleyes:

 

BillyH.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ken Lees
9 hours ago, Muerrisch said:

Mildly miffed but not surprised that my contribution has been blanked. I only took 30 minutes to put together, so I suppose I should write that off.

I found it both interesting and informative, if that's any consolation.

 

In the case of my own primary research area, the 9th King's Liverpool Regt. TF, the numbering began at 1 in 1908.

 

This thread (and your post in particular) has got me wondering how those first TF numbers were allocated - first to re-sign got the lowest numbers, or the senior (lowest numbered Volunteer man who had agreed to join the TF) got the lowest TF number? 

 

Another little project for the evenings as they draw in. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Open Bolt
26 minutes ago, Ken Lees said:

I found it both interesting and informative, if that's any consolation

Likewise - read with interest.

26 minutes ago, Ken Lees said:

Another little project for the evenings as they draw in. 

Let us know how you get on...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IRC Kevin
1 hour ago, Ken Lees said:

 

This thread (and your post in particular) has got me wondering how those first TF numbers were allocated - first to re-sign got the lowest numbers, or the senior (lowest numbered Volunteer man who had agreed to join the TF) got the lowest TF number? 

 

 

 

Interesting point. With the 6th KLR, it certainly wasn't done alphabetically. Looking at seven of the earliest numbers with surviving service records, all of whom signed on for 6th KLR TF from the 2nd VB KLR on 1 April 1908, it appears to be based on seniority of rank within the VB followed by seniority of service within each rank:

 

William Robert Ward was assigned 11 (promoted C/Sgt on 2 Nov 1904)

Frank Williams assingned 24 (promoted MG Sgt on 10 May 1902)

John Marrison assigned 32 (enlisted 28 Feb 1893)

William Edward Hipwell assigned 56 (enlisted 18 Jan 1904)

Alfred Horace Hume Jones assigned 78 (enlisted 15 Jan 1906)

Thomas Lewis assigned 87 (enlisted 14 Feb 1906)

Henry Theodore Imlach assigned 102 (enlisted 19 Nov 1906)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Derek Black
1 hour ago, Ken Lees said:

This thread (and your post in particular) has got me wondering how those first TF numbers were allocated - first to re-sign got the lowest numbers, or the senior (lowest numbered Volunteer man who had agreed to join the TF) got the lowest TF number?


This second proposition appears to be the one for my Terrier btn of interest.

 

Cheers,

Derek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...