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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

RE service numbers.


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The short answer is maybe...

Longer answer...

Territorial Force numbers (> 400000) were applied to units in the same way as those to Infantry and Artillery during early 1917. However, if they later moved units they kept the number.

Some of the numbers were issued in batches, maybe all of them, but any database (I have about 3000 numbers linked to units from Gazette (mainly), SDGW, etc.) Some of these form definite patterns. Others none at all. Of course, 3000 numbers is 1 in 100 so there are gaps galore.

As far as dates are concerned, I know/have theorised:

- Numbers around 43000-44000 were allocated in September 1914 (a group of local engineers all joined up together on 2-9-14). I have estimated anything over about 25000 is war-time enlistment;

- My great-grandfather (no prior military experience) went overseas with a number of 71127 in October 1915, so possibly allocated early 1915;

- Numbers up to 200000 seem to be before the end of 1916 (great-uncle, 236948, was transferred to RE from Infantry by April 1917). Other dates of enlistment/mobilisation appear to generally support the theory.

- Some high 300000 numbers (380,000-390,000) appear to have been used for UK based troops much earlier in the war.

Theatre of War... Who knows!

Not an exact science, really.


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