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Remembered Today:

service numbers


Kevin Keeley

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I have read, with interest, the explanations of variations in service numbers when soldiers moved to new regiments or divisions but am still confused. My father, Dvr M Keeley has a F21 which shows his SN as 685389; his MIC shows two SNs 1243 and 685389 and his medals show just 1243. 1243 seems a strange (low) SN to me and I wonder if this is something connected with his service with 3rd Brigade, later with 277th Brigade and, later still, with Army Field Artillery.

Help!

Kevin Keeley :unsure:

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Driver Keeley was a Territorial soldier.

In 1908 all the part-time sections of the Army (Volunteers, Militia, yeomanry, etc.) were reorganised in to the Territorial Force. From 1-4-1908 every man was given a new number (officially... some retained old numbers). Each battalion or unit (e.g. artillery brigade) gave its men numbers from their own series.

Hence his low number, 1243.

As you can probably gather, this meant an awful lot of men with the same number.

In 1917 it was decided to renumber all these men. At that point their old 4-digit numbers were discarded and they were henceforth known by 6-digit numbers.

The artillery were given one long series starting from 300001 and heading upwards with each "pair" of Brigades being issued with a given series of numbers.

See the post here for a breakdown:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...c=42338&hl=

His 685389 number would have placed him in one of:

685001-690000 277 BDE, RFA TF/ 1/3 W LANCS

685001-690000 287 BDE, RFA TF/ 2/3 W LANCS (BROKEN UP FEB 17)

which matches his known service in 277th Brigade.

Steve.

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Kevin,

As he was a territorial in the artillery, he would have been given the next consecutive (4 digit) number when he enlisted. So, he was the 1,243rd man to enlist in the unit after it's formation.

These numbers were first issued from number 1 in 1907/8 on the formation of the Territorial Force.

As an artillery unit contained fewer men than an equivalent infantry unit the 4 digit number would probably be much lower than that of an infantryman enlisting at the same time.

In early 1917, as a result of the confusion caused by the massive increase in the Army, each TF unit was allocated a block of numbers. In your father's case the 3rd West Lancs Brigade, RFA was allocated 685001-690000. Therefore, your father was the 389th most senior (in service) man serving in the unit at the time of the renumbering. The most senior would have been allocated 685001.

His number would not have changed on his transfer to the Army Field Artillery.

I hope that helps.

Ken

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"So, he was the 1,243rd man to enlist in the unit after it's formation"

No! His name was that placed against the numer 1243 there may have been gaps or ommisions. Pedantic I know but number series are never that simple in my experience.

Personally i would not consider 1243 a low number for an Artillery Battery or Brigade.

Roop

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"So, he was the 1,243rd man to enlist in the unit after it's formation"

No! His name was that placed against the numer 1243 there may have been gaps or ommisions. Pedantic I know but number series are never that simple in my experience.

Personally i would not consider 1243 a low number for an Artillery Battery or Brigade.

Roop

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