Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Rank of reservists rejoining


Recommended Posts


In looking at a casualty's family photo recently, I was struck by the fact that he had Sergeant's stripes on his khaki jacket.


The man concerned seems to have been a 1903 Infantry enlistment, which suggests he was on what was then a standard 3-and-9 year contract.  He was married in the UK in 1912, occupation labourer; and at the outbreak of war was in paid employment.  He went overseas in October 1914 as a Private, and is shown as such in all available records up to the time of his death in April 1915.  His service papers don't survive. 


The photo includes his very small children, two of whom were only born in Feb. 1914, so the picture would be correct, date-wise, for say August-October 1914.  So the question is: could he have been a Sergeant in his period of full-time service and carried that rank over into his reserve period and the time when he was mobilized?


I think I can guess the answer, but this would in any case be a chance to ask as to whether men passing into reservist status discarded their former rank, if higher than that of private?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have the prevailing regulations Clive, but a lot would depend on what his substantive rank was at the time he was discharged to the reserve.  From memory only I vaguely recall that efforts were made to reengage a man at his former substantive rank, but that where there were no vacancies I think he was accepted as either, a supernumerary, or at the next lower rank until such time as an establishment vacancy could be found.  Grumpy might be able to help better, perhaps you could send him a PM.  Good luck with your research - I imagine that there was something about it in mobilisation regulations.


NB.  As you will know a lot depended on a man's age at call up and when he last served.  Quite a number of the older reservists were hived off to the Service Battalions and it wasn't uncommon for some men who had not advanced in service beyond private suddenly to find themselves as sergeants.  It was commented upon in post war accounts that some of such men tried to teach out-of-date drill and tactics.

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...