Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Reservists in the Norfolk Regiment pre 1914


armypal

Recommended Posts

Hello could anyone help me please.

I'm trying to identify a uniform for a soldier in the Norfolk Regiment. He served prior to 1914 and was called up as a Reservist in 1914.

The uniform tunic looks as if it is dark blue or red with possibly a yellow collar with the Regimental insignia on it.

Are there records for reservists, as their are no Wartime Service records for him.

Many thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, armypal said:

Hello could anyone help me please.

I'm trying to identify a uniform for a soldier in the Norfolk Regiment. He served prior to 1914 and was called up as a Reservist in 1914.

The uniform tunic looks as if it is dark blue or red with possibly a yellow collar with the Regimental insignia on it.

Are there records for reservists, as their are no Wartime Service records for him.

Many thanks.

 

What you are describing is either a full dress tunic, or an undress frock.  You can identify which it is by white piping down the front edge, which would signify a tunic.  Most but not all frocks had 5-buttons (although there was also a 7-button version), but they do not usually have the white piped front.  It is clear that he served prewar from your description of his uniform, but he might only have been a member of a Special Reserve (SR) Battalion, or a Territorial Force (TF) unit and not a Regular.  Before 1908 the Special Reserve had been known as Militia Battalions, and Territorial Force had been known as Volunteer Battalions.  Both of these were auxiliary, part-time citizen soldiers.  The Militia/SR completed 10-weeks basic training and then only reported once a year for a 2-week training camp, the rest of the time working in their civilian occupation.  The VB/TF attended twice weekly training sessions at drill halls near their homes.  Records of auxiliary soldiers are retained by both, the National Archives and regional libraries, although not every single one has survived.   See: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/volunteers-territorials/

 

Norfolks.jpg

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, armypal said:

Hello could anyone help me please.

He served prior to 1914 and was called up as a Reservist in 1914.

Are there records for reservists, as their are no Wartime Service records for him.

Name and number would be a good place to start:)

 

Cheers,

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Peter.

Thankyou so much for your helpful reply.

The soldier that I was looking for was Richard Napthen, who was born in East Harling in Norfolk in 1898.

In 1914 he was called back to serve in the 1st Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment, with the Regimental number 

3/6722.

He received the 1914-1915 Star medal,Victory medal and War medal, but his Army service papers do not exist.

Any help would be much appreciated in order for me to solve the mystery!

Regards and thanks

armypal

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Frogsmile

Thankyou for your very helpful reply.

I have looked at the photo again and realise from your description that he was wearing a scarlet Serge frock and not a tunic as there is no piping on the front of the garment. This  confirmed my idea that he was serving pre 1914.

His Regimental number indicates too  that he was part of the Special Reserve pre 1914 and I know that he was working in the local area in 1911 from the census. I didn't find his name on the list of the  local Territorial Volunteers.

He received the 1914 - 1915 Star medal , which  indicates that he wasn't among the first of the local men who went to France.

Thankyou for your help.It has certainly enlightened me to a new aspect of local history. 

Regards 

armypal

Edited by armypal
Spelling mistake.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The surviving Service records for another Special Reservist might provide a broadly comparable path. Private 3/6732 William Sampson enlisted as a Special Reservist on a 6 year term on the 9th March 1910 and joined the strength of the 3rd Battalion. He attended various parades and camps in the pre-war era, (not always successfully - his disciplinary sheet has several records for late on parade \ absent from parade \ smoking on parade \ dirty rifle on parade, etc). He was mobilised on the 8th August 1914. The record is quiet on what happened to him in the immediate months, but as he was already on the establishment of the 3rd Battalion I assume he went with them to Felixstowe to be fully trained and tested for fitness. He was then posted to the 1st Battalion, landing in France on the 19th January 1915.

 

I see Richard Napthen landed in France on the 11th January 1915, hence why I think the timelines are comparable. Others that landed with Richard on that date that I'm aware of are 3/6674 Robert Sands, 3/6852 Stephen Sissen, 3/6881 James William Littleproud and 3/8216 William Smith, all bound for the 1st Battalion.

 

William Smith does have some surviving records but these are less relevant to the likely path followed by Richard Napthen. William enlisted as a Special Reservist for 1 year on the 26th August 1914, so was mobilised immediately and despatched to the 3rd Battalion.

 

The 1st Battalion War Diary records the arrival of an officer and 45 men on the 13th January 1915 while they were in Billets at Dranoutre. Later the same day the Battalion relieved the 1st Cheshires in ternches near Wulvergem, so very likely the new arrivals got a very early baptism of fire.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, armypal said:

Hello Frogsmile

Thankyou for your very helpful reply.

I have looked at the photo again and realise from your description that he was wearing a scarlet Serge frock and not a tunic as there is no piping on the front of the garment. This  confirmed my idea that he was serving pre 1914.

His Regimental number indicates too  that he was part of the Special Reserve pre 1914 and I know that he was working in the local area in 1911 from the census. I didn't find his name on the list of the  local Territorial Volunteers.

He received the 1914 - 1915 Star medal , which  indicates that he wasn't among the first of the local men who went to France.

Thankyou for your help.It has certainly enlightened me to a new aspect of local history. 

Regards 

armypal


It’s also possible that he had completed a regular, short-service engagement of 5-years with the colours and was serving out his 7-years with the reserve when called up.  These, regular reservists, were also maintained on the SR’s books alongside the auxiliary reserve.  You would need to examine his records and other information to be sure.  However as he doesn’t seem to have any Boer War medals that seems less likely, so the evidence seems to lean towards the auxiliary reserve.

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:


It’s also possible that he had completed a regular, short-service engagement of 5-years with the colours and was serving out his 7-years with the reserve when called up.  These, regular reservists, were also maintained on the SR’s books alongside the auxiliary reserve.  You would need to examine his records and census information to be sure.

 

No surviving service records. According to Paul Nixons site, the Regular Army Battalions of the Norfolk Regiment issued service number 6722 between the 19th February 1903 (6503) and the 4th February 1904 (6838). From the census data Richard Napthen was born circa 1890, so unless he joined as a Boy Soldier, and even that is stretching it if he had to be 14 minimum, then seems very unlikely Richard Napthern was a regular Army Soldier. Can't entirely be ruled out - the 1901 Census of England & Wales appears to show him living in the household of his stepfather, James Wix, at East Harling and without wanting to resort to cliches, thats a bit of a well worn path to the Armed Forces. Probably not however in this case as on the 1911 Census of England and Wales Richard was still living with his stepfather and mother, and in completing the census return James Wix has listed his 21 year old son as Richard Wix.

 

Service number is too high to be in the Territorial Army Battalions, (assuming the leading 3 was a subsequent addition, but again seems unlikely).

 

On balance a Special Reservist seems most likely, signing up prior to March 1910, the enlistment date for William Sampson. The Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum in Norwich do hold some muster registers I believe so possibly could narrow the date down. But if he signed up like William Sampson for six years then would still have been liable for mobilisation in August 1914.

 

Attached are the first page of William Sampsons' attestation and also the page relating to his pre-war service, (both courtesy of FindMyPast).

 

Cheers,

Peter

 

 

William Sampson Attestation Page sourced Find MyPast.jpg

William Sampson Pre-War service page sourced FindMyPast.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some regiments have a specific subset of their BWM & VM medal roll which is specifically for men of the Special Reserve. Is this also the case for the Norfolk Regiment?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no distinction on the medal rolls between Special Reserve and other on the BWM & VM medal rolls for the Norfolk Regiment. They are in alphabetical order. Napthen is on the roll within WO 329/846 & Sampson is on WO 329/848

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for checking. I didn't think they were separated out but was just looking to see if I could confirm from a couple of the 3/ prefix numbers whether they were Special Reservists or not.

 

Cheers,

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fortunately, the issue date for the numbers issued to (i) those enlisting under Regular terms and (ii) those enlisting under Special Reserve terms are considerably different for the Norfolk Regiment, so this does help in making the differentiation. For other infantry regiments, there is not such a marked difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, PRC said:

 

No surviving service records. According to Paul Nixons site, the Regular Army Battalions of the Norfolk Regiment issued service number 6722 between the 19th February 1903 (6503) and the 4th February 1904 (6838). From the census data Richard Napthen was born circa 1890, so unless he joined as a Boy Soldier, and even that is stretching it if he had to be 14 minimum, then seems very unlikely Richard Napthern was a regular Army Soldier. Can't entirely be ruled out - the 1901 Census of England & Wales appears to show him living in the household of his stepfather, James Wix, at East Harling and without wanting to resort to cliches, thats a bit of a well worn path to the Armed Forces. Probably not however in this case as on the 1911 Census of England and Wales Richard was still living with his stepfather and mother, and in completing the census return James Wix has listed his 21 year old son as Richard Wix.

 

Service number is too high to be in the Territorial Army Battalions, (assuming the leading 3 was a subsequent addition, but again seems unlikely).

 

On balance a Special Reservist seems most likely, signing up prior to March 1910, the enlistment date for William Sampson. The Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum in Norwich do hold some muster registers I believe so possibly could narrow the date down. But if he signed up like William Sampson for six years then would still have been liable for mobilisation in August 1914.

 

Attached are the first page of William Sampsons' attestation and also the page relating to his pre-war service, (both courtesy of FindMyPast).

 

Cheers,

Peter

 

Thanks Peter, I did say he seemed more likely to have been auxiliary reserve and you have confirmed that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 08/07/2020 at 00:25, PRC said:

The surviving Service records for another Special Reservist might provide a broadly comparable path. Private 3/6732 William Sampson enlisted as a Special Reservist on a 6 year term on the 9th March 1910 and joined the strength of the 3rd Battalion. He attended various parades and camps in the pre-war era, (not always successfully - his disciplinary sheet has several records for late on parade \ absent from parade \ smoking on parade \ dirty rifle on parade, etc). He was mobilised on the 8th August 1914. The record is quiet on what happened to him in the immediate months, but as he was already on the establishment of the 3rd Battalion I assume he went with them to Felixstowe to be fully trained and tested for fitness. He was then posted to the 1st Battalion, landing in France on the 19th January 1915.

 

I see Richard Napthen landed in France on the 11th January 1915, hence why I think the timelines are comparable. Others that landed with Richard on that date that I'm aware of are 3/6674 Robert Sands, 3/6852 Stephen Sissen, 3/6881 James William Littleproud and 3/8216 William Smith, all bound for the 1st Battalion.

 

William Smith does have some surviving records but these are less relevant to the likely path followed by Richard Napthen. William enlisted as a Special Reservist for 1 year on the 26th August 1914, so was mobilised immediately and despatched to the 3rd Battalion.

 

The 1st Battalion War Diary records the arrival of an officer and 45 men on the 13th January 1915 while they were in Billets at Dranoutre. Later the same day the Battalion relieved the 1st Cheshires in ternches near Wulvergem, so very likely the new arrivals got a very early baptism of fire.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

 

 

Thankyou Peter, for all the time and trouble you have taken in trying to help me to solve the puzzle regarding Richard Napthen's Army career. I was especially interested in the similarities  in enlistment between Richard and the other men who landed with him in France on the same day. The records for William Sampson were equally interesting, but the word ' Dead' written across them was a chilling reminder of what happened to so many men. You were so right in saying that the new arrivals got an early ' baptism of fire'.

Growing up I was  intrigued by my Grandad's ashtray that looked like an army cap.(made from the end of a shell case) but I never thought I would be so interested in the war he had served in.

Thankyou again.

Helen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 08/07/2020 at 10:42, FROGSMILE said:


It’s also possible that he had completed a regular, short-service engagement of 5-years with the colours and was serving out his 7-years with the reserve when called up.  These, regular reservists, were also maintained on the SR’s books alongside the auxiliary reserve.  You would need to examine his records and other information to be sure.  However as he doesn’t seem to have any Boer War medals that seems less likely, so the evidence seems to lean towards the auxiliary reserve.

 Thankyou Frogsmile.

I too thought he might have had Boer War medals. I know that Richard survived and William Sampson didn't , so now I want to follow up on the others who.landed with him.in France on the same day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 09/07/2020 at 16:26, armypal said:

 Thankyou Frogsmile.

I too thought he might have had Boer War medals. I know that Richard survived and William Sampson didn't , so now I want to follow up on the others who.landed with him.in France on the same day.


I was glad to help.  It’s a poignant story.  Joining the SR was something that working class lads in rural areas did especially, whereas the urban working class and especially aspirational middle class men tended to join their local Territorials, which had more of a working men’s club culture.  The SR were by far the older force, and as militia (previously) had a longer history than the regular army.  The militia of the USA was merely a continuance of the British practice that they inherited.  Joining the militia enabled young teenagers in particular to get what was to a degree perceived as a 2-week paid holiday each year, as although they had to carry out training, live ammunition was rationed (due to public expense) and they could only do so much ‘drill’ in a day.  Typically they had finished work (parades) by mid-afternoon and could then ‘walk-out’ of camp in their scarlets and flirt with the local girls. For lads who at most might have a suit for Sunday best it was an attractive aspect of service.  However, as they grew older their time became more committed, especially to seasonal agricultural work and so attendance might tail off.  In the case of Richard Napthern he seems to have enlisted around 1911, going by his number, and we can assume that like Samson he attended the fortnight’s training camp each year.  It’s a rather sobering thought to think that apart from his basic training after enlistment, he had completed only 3-years worth (6-weeks) of training before being mobilised in 1914 and killed in action within a year.

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My understanding is that SR training was initially for five months, followed by 27 days annually.  For this, a soldier received the same pay as a regular when training and serving, and was eligible for  bounties both during the year [£1..10..0 on completing initial training, one on completing annual training of £1, and three more separate £1 bounties, payable on 1st October, 1st December, and 1st February].

This from my article in Stand To! I have SR Regulations somewhere and need to check.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Muerrisch said:

My understanding is that SR training was initially for five months

 

The page from the records for William Sampson in post 8 shows “Drill on Enlistment 9.3.10 to 8.8.10” which seems to align with that statement.

 

Cheers,

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thankyou Frogsmile.

 

I didn't really understand the difference between the Special Reserve and the Territorials before I read your reply.

I had done a lot of research on local Territorials, who were as you say urban working class and middle class men. So I am now a lot clearer in my mind about about why men like Richard Napthen joined the Special Reserve.

 

I found a family connection to the Reservists by chance yesterday  while looking at my Grandfather's family history and found some documents I had saved many years ago.

 

A tenant farmers son, it  turned out that he had joined the 3rd Battalion of the Norfolk Special Reserves .Though this was in 1897.

 

He didn't stay very long and went to Canada. Although he volunteered for the Army on his return without telling my Granny. He was rejected as he had  lost part of one of his feet to 'frostbite' in Canada.

 

Thankyou again.

Helen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Muerrisch said:

My understanding is that SR training was initially for five months, followed by 27 days annually.  For this, a soldier received the same pay as a regular when training and serving, and was eligible for  bounties both during the year [£1..10..0 on completing initial training, one on completing annual training of £1, and three more separate £1 bounties, payable on 1st October, 1st December, and 1st February].

This from my article in Stand To! I have SR Regulations somewhere and need to check.

Thankyou Mueurrisch  for your kind and informative reply.

This is brilliant and very helpful. Which issue of 'Stand To' was your article in ,as I would like to read it.

Thanks again, 

Helen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, armypal said:

Thankyou Mueurrisch  for your kind and informative reply.

This is brilliant and very helpful. Which issue of 'Stand To' was your article in ,as I would like to read it.

Thanks again, 

Helen.

PM me and I will send it to your email address. It is centred on the Royal Welch Fusilier but the generalities applied to all line infantry including reserves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, Muerrisch said:

Finished just in time for harvest?

Hi Muerrisch.

There was some debate! about another soldier stealing his uniform as they were due to go on parade!!

His father bought him out of the Reserves after this apparently. 

1 hour ago, PRC said:

 

The page from the records for William Sampson in post 8 shows “Drill on Enlistment 9.3.10 to 8.8.10” which seems to align with that statement.

 

Cheers,

Peter

Thanks Peter.

Edited by armypal
Missing word
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Muerrisch said:

PM me and I will send it to your email address. It is centred on the Royal Welch Fusilier but the generalities applied to all line infantry including reserves.

Thankyou.Very kind of you.

I think some of the Royal Welch Fusiliers came from the town where my daughter lives! I'll P M you. What's your P M address please?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...