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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

TA units and soldiers after the war


delta

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I understand that TA units were demobilised after the war; in role were they employed, did many of the mobilised troops stay on and how much difficutly did they have recruiting "fresh blood."

Stephen

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This is a very fascinating question to which I can only give you bits of an answer, some of which are based on supposition

The TA was re-constituted in 1920 with a new charter. Units were en-cadreated before returning home and then re-constituted as peace time TA units.

There was a great deal of re-organisation of the TA for I believe two reasons. 1) lessons of the war 2)problems of the previous organisation

The war revealed a need for more RA and less cavalry so many Yeomanry units re-rolled as gunners and, for the most part the separate RHA Batteries did not reform. The two battalions formed of public employees Post Office Rifles and Civil Service Rifles (8th and 15th London), were done away with on the grounds that their members were better employed at their desks or in similar military roles in time of war.

This is partly reading between the lines on my part, but I believe when the TA was created in 1908 they had to use the units they had inherited from the Volunteer Force and Yeomanry and build round them. With the creation of formations at Division level and a plethora of supporting units the TAs was probably too large to sustain at establishment.

In the pre-war days there was a movement in favour of National Service for Home Defence and a powerful movement against this also. The TA was in many ways a last ditch effort to create an effective 2nd Line through voluntary enlistment. If it failed it would have been kept up by compulsion.

In the post war political situation NS was out of the window, even for home service - so there had to be some pruning.

With regard to recruitment etc I think it would vary a lot from area to area. I believe the Lancs. Fusiliers had problems due to heavy local casualties in the war. Interestingly though one are which I know of, Prudhoe, in Northumberland had very heavy casualties and the Territorial Association were in two minds about re-opening the drill hall. However, when they did there was always a waiting list for the local unit. Some units moved from Central London to outer London in the inter-war period to follow the demographic changes.

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This is partly reading between the lines on my part, but I believe when the TA was created in 1908 they had to use the units they had inherited from the Volunteer Force and Yeomanry and build round them.

I was always under the impression, someone no doubt will correct me if I'm wrong, that volunteer battalions were taken on as Special Reserve battalions and the TA had to start from scratch.

Andy

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No Militia became Special Reserve with the same battalion numbers or disbanded as surplus to requirements - the Volunteer Battalions exchanged their "bespoke" numbers eg 1st VB Kings Liverpool Regiment for a sequential number following the SR Bns eg 5th Bn Kings Liverpool Regt.

The men had to sign on to a new engagement and not all were eligible (age limits etc differed)

All the TA units, except those newly formed, had a clearly identifiable preceding unit

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Sorry mate, getting my militia and volunteer units mixed up. Thanks for the clarification.

Andy

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