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Remembered Today:

Pte James Harris


sandymae
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Please could someone tell me why Pte James Harris would have two service no's for the Devonshires?

His MIC gives:

Pte James Harris Devon Regt 30162

Pte James Harris Devon Regt 203270

Awarded the Victory Cross and British Medal.

On 10/11/1917 he died of wounds and is buried at Pont d' Achelles, Nieppe.

I have found a wonderful old book in the local Library written in 1920 called 'The Devonshire Regiment', at the back of the book it lists all the casualties 1914 -1918 in alphabetical and Bt order, which makes it easy.

But although I am trying hard to put things together, I just don't understand some details................sorry to ask!

Sandra

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Hi

He might have been wounded and then, when fit to return, was lucky enough to get back into his former regiment with a new number

David

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Sandra,

I would say it's most likely he was a member of the Territorial Force, initially using the numbering system adopted by the Devonshire battalion from 1908 and still in use when he joined. In 1917 ALL TF men were RENUMBERED and given a six-digit number.

The Devonshires were, indeed, allocated the block of numbers 200001 to 240000

This positively identifies him as 4th Battalion.

Check out this article on the main site HERE

Kind Regards,

SMJ

Please could someone tell me why Pte James Harris would have two service no's for the Devonshires?

His MIC gives:

Pte James Harris Devon Regt 30162

Pte James Harris Devon Regt 203270

Awarded the Victory Cross and British Medal.

On 10/11/1917 he died of wounds and is buried at Pont d' Achelles, Nieppe.

I have found a wonderful old book in the local Library written in 1920 called 'The Devonshire Regiment', at the back of the book it lists all the casualties 1914 -1918 in alphabetical and Bt order, which makes it easy.

But although I am trying hard to put things together, I just don't understand some details................sorry to ask!

Sandra

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Simon and David,

Thank you for you replies.

The link explaining Numbering was clearly put.......even I managed to understand it, and by clicking on highlights, went to other informative pages - I needed to get brain cell in tune!

The CWGC say that James Harris was in 2nd Bt when he died.

Off to put my nose in the Books again............................

Sandra

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Men changed numbers when they:

a ) Changed Regiments e.g. moved from Devonshire Regiment to Royal Fusiliers

b ) Changed Corps e.g. moved from Devonshire Regiment (Infantry Corps) to Royal Engineers (Corps of Royal Engineers)

c ) Changed from Regular Army to Territorial Force or vice versa.

In James Harris's case, he appears to have moved from a Regular battalion to a Territorial battalion and back again. Example ( c )

The sequence will be:

- Joined as a Regular. Allocated 30162 number. Embarked overseas.

- Later (probably after early 1917) he moved to a Territorial battalion and was allocated number 203270.

- Later still, he transferred to 2nd battalion where he was killed.

Now, you might expect from my first explanation that he would get another "Regular" number having changed battalion type, however from 1917 onwards the differences between Regular and Territorials were blurred and, in any case, after mid-1916 when conscription came in there was very little heed paid to the difference. As such, a man transferring from a Territorial battalion to a Regular battalion after early 1917 would not be classed as changing from T.F. to Regulars and therefore kept his T.F. number.

Steve.

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Hi Sandra,

What Battalion does the Devonshire casualty list put him in?

There are many reasons why he may have been with 2/Devonshire when he died. If you think about what was happening at that time, things were pretty chaotic even for the Western Front. He may well have been reinforcing 2nd Battalion which certainly suffered heavy casualties at 3rd Ypres (Passchendaele).

You may find more information from the Devons Museum, which you should visit.

They do accept requests for information from their archives and are pretty helpful

Check them out here at The Keep Military Museum, Dorchester, Dorset

Good luck.

SMJ

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  • 11 months later...

Hi Simon

I wonder if you can help. If the soldiers serial numbers can help pinpoint the unit he was in, can I give you my great uncle's numbers? As some background he enlisted in Exeter, was in the RFA as a gunner, Francis William Down. He was in India in 1916/7 near Calcutta, and went with the 18th India Division to Meso. There he joined 337th RFA Brigade, dying there in June 1918. His first number is 3115 - my research seems to be pointing towards either the Home Counties Div, or the Devonshires (also my assumption that if he was in the Territorials, presumably he'd have been a member pre-war, which would indicate the Devonshires?). The second number is 866089, which I'm again guessing is the 18th India Division. I'll also try that weblink for the museum in Dorchester.

Thanks for any help you can provide!

Anton

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