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Remembered Today:

Concerning formation strengths etc


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Not sure if this has been covered in the past, if so, perhaps someone could point me in the right direction.

So ? is - Could someone educate a Naval collector on the strengths & make up of Battalion, Regiment, Division, Corps, Army etc, for the WWI period? Have encountered these terms many times during reading sessions, have some idea of what is what but unsure of specifics.

Thanks in advance,

Bryan in COLD Canada.

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Hussar & Clive ---Thanks very much, this is just the ticket! Am new to the forum so still "finding my way around". Did not realize there was so much info on WWI on the Home page, as have been scrolling thru the many message sites! Lots of information & excellent reading here, from very very knowledgable people!

Wonder was the designations 1/24, 2/24 etc used in Victorian times still in use in WWI? - expect if so there would be many Battalions of a certain Regt.

Bryan

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Wonder was the designations 1/24, 2/24 etc used in Victorian times still in use in WWI?

Bryan

The old titles, such as the 38th Foot, officially disappeared in 1881 but regimental traditions being what they are, many of the regular army battalions continued to refer to themselves in this way. The 38th Foot was the 1st South Staffordshires, and they still called themselves the 38th. Very confusing. (The index to officers papers also uses these designations, so officers from that battalion are shown as 38, not as South Staffordshire! Were they trying to make it hard for their grandson researchers, or what?)

Titles that look like 1/20th Londons and 2/20th Londons are however rather different. They refer to the 1st Line and 2nd Line battalions of, in my example, the 20th Battalion of the London Regiment. This only applied to Territorial units and was not recognised before 1914.

You do come across the odd thing that looks like 10/11th Battalion, where units had been temporarily merged.

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Hi Chris,

Thanks for this info - I knw that 1/24, 2/24 meant the 1st or 2nd Battn of the 24th Foot (in Victorian times beefore the Cardwell reforms of '81) but when WWI came along & many many more soldiers from the new Armies joined it becomes confusing - when you mention 10/11 do you mean 10th Battn of the (old) 11th Regt??? & what happened when two Regts combined - did their raised Battn's combine also??

Also wonder what Regt has the record for the max number of raised battn's???

Perhaps stupid ?'s but to a Navy chap somewhat confusing indeed, but would like to learn.

Thanks again !

Bryan

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Hello Bryan

No, I meant that the 10/11th meant that the 10th and 11th Battalions of a regiment had merged. There were not many of these, and they were usually after heavy casualties.

No regiments combined during the war, although there are one or two examples of battalions of different regiments being combined to make up a battalion, again after losses. An example I can think of: during the siege at Kut, a battalion, composed of returned wounded from the 2nd Dorsets and 2nd Norfolks, was formed at El Orah. It was called the Norsets! It lasted until July of that year, when enough reinforecments had arrived to re-establish the 2nd Dorsets and 2nd Norfolks.

The regiments with largest number of battalions (in all, including regular, territorial, new army, etc):

Northumberland Fusiliers 51 battalions

Royal Fusiliers 47

Kings (Liverpool) 49

Middlesex 49

Manchester 44

and the winner is...

London Regiment's 88 battalions.

Staggering numbers, I am sure you will agree.

Hope that helps.

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...a battalion, composed of returned wounded from the 2nd Dorsets and 2nd Norfolks, was formed at El Orah. It was called the Norsets!

The same thing happened in the world of dog breeding with the Labradoodle, an unfortunate mix (some might say) of Labrador Retriever and Poodle...but perhaps I should have posted this in the Utterly Off-topic section. :D

Gary

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Chris -

Thanks for the info on maximum number of Battn's raised - how many men would the 88 Battns of the London Regt involve? Presumably all of them would not have been to full Batt'n strength???

& that begs the ? also - how many of this approx number would have been casualties??? I am assuming a lot of them would have seen action at the Somme & Passchendael battles where the attrition rate was very high.

Thanks again,

Bryan

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further to the Norsets 'combination' mentioned by Chris --

Similar combinations also happened in the RN -

ie: perhaps the most well known - HMS ZUBIAN - She became a "composite" destroyer of 1917 made up of the fore portion of HMS Zulu & the after part of HMS Nubian, both of which ships wre heavily damaged thru enemy action (both had battle honours ' Dover Patrol 1914-16')& salved - Zubian went onto see more action in the Dover patrol in 1917-18 & at Both Zeebrugge & Ostend 1918.

but then this probably should be in the Ships section......

Bryan

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