Author Topic: Regimental numbers and enlistment dates  (Read 387 times)

Offline Gardenshed

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Regimental numbers and enlistment dates
« on: Saturday 24 November 18 08:03 GMT (UK) »
Hello

I saw in a post (sorry, I can’t find it now) that it is possible to work out when a soldier enlisted from his regimental number. I have looked on the Long long Trail website but cannot see any pre 1920 lists or tips how to do this.

One of my great uncles was John George Mayne born South Shields in 1889, who died in France in 1916. He was a private in the Northumberland Fusiliers, 8th Battalion, # 20574. As he was in the Balkans by 13 Sep 1915 (first theatre of war as per his Medal Roll Index Card) I understand that he must have volunteered prior to the introduction of the Group Scheme but I wondered if it could be further narrowed down. SWDITGW says he enlisted in York.

Thanks for any help.

GD

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Offline MaxD

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Re: Regimental numbers and enlistment dates
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 24 November 18 09:21 GMT (UK) »
In the case of a soldier who died, the Register of Soldiers' Effects (on Ancestry) will, in almost all cases, have details of his war gratuity.  Using the site https://wargratuity.uk/war-gratuity-calculator/ for a modest membership sub, the calculator will allow calculation of his war service from which his enlistment to about the nearest month can be established.

There are other ways with men who survived but are not relevant to your case so I don't list them here.
  See later post for a rewrite

MaxD

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Offline Gardenshed

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Re: Regimental numbers and enlistment dates
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 24 November 18 09:47 GMT (UK) »
Thank you MaxD

Online Maiden Stone

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Re: Regimental numbers and enlistment dates
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 24 November 18 16:49 GMT (UK) »

There are other ways with men who survived but are not relevant to your case so I don't list them here.

Would you please elaborate? All except one of mine survived.

Offline MaxD

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Re: Regimental numbers and enlistment dates
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 24 November 18 19:55 GMT (UK) »
I dug myself a Heffalump trap with the way I worded the last sentence.  I really should have written "There are other ways which may produce an answer with men who survived but are not relevant to your case so I don't list them here".
There is no one size fits all system, not surprising given that the army numbering system has more minefields than the South/North Korean border.  In the background is, among others, the regimental nature of the system until after the war which produces men with the same number in different regiments, the change of numbers when a man changed unit and the 1917 re-numbering of the Territorial Force.
These are places which have solid data. http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.com/p/index.html  should be the first port of call but does not purport to cover all battalions or indeed all regiments and corps or much beyond 1914 in most cases.
The records of recipients of the Silver War Badge usually have the date of enlistment as part of the record.
The Royal Artillery Attestation records and the Tank Corps Enlistment records which includes the cavalry (it says 1919 but includes earlier dates) on FindMyPast have enlistment dates.
There are then the “look for clues” approaches.
The “near numbers” trick is where one searches for surviving records of men (including those that themselves did not survive)in the same battalion with numbers very near to the one you seek.  Not foolproof but may with other clues give the answer.
The Longlongtrail has a number of info pieces on numbering and re-numbering which can give pointers.
There are reference/history books such as for example No Labour No Battle, the history of the Labour Corps which has guidance for Labour Corps numbers which can sometimes be used as a start point for further research.
There are researchers, regimental museums and some web sites where a specific study has been made of a particular unit (there is one on Sherwood Foresters).  They aren’t listed anywhere, they have to be ferreted out.
Take a moment to look at this forum (and if you can, others concerned specifically with the Great War) to see the queries related to enlistment dates and note the variety of approaches in the answers, many (most?) of which don’t come up with anything definite.  All indicating that except in some cases it is a matter of casting around in as many directions as possible and of adding clues together .
This is probably getting a bit incoherent now and I may have missed something obvious in which case I’m sure someone will let me know!  I should make sure I emphasise the caveat that all these ideas might give the answer.
This last is going to sound a bit OTT but one has to have a fairly broad understanding of the way the army works.  Knowing where to look is only half the battle, the other half is knowing how to cross check your result before going firm on a date.
MaxD
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Offline Gardenshed

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Re: Regimental numbers and enlistment dates
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 24 November 18 21:55 GMT (UK) »
That is very helpful indeed MaxD.  I am hugely impressed by the depth and breadth of the knowledge evidenced by you and other contributors to this board.

Also, Maiden Stone, thank you so much for asking. I too have a number of survivors but didn’t want to take up more than my fair share of expert time by asking a follow up question straight away, so am pleased this topic was also of interest to you.

Offline MaxD

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Re: Regimental numbers and enlistment dates
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 25 November 18 10:14 GMT (UK) »
Inevitably I left out a most important point.  Looking for an enlistment date with a service number of course implies only a medal record, or in some cases a medical record, is the start point.  The vital thing here is that the numbers on a medal record are those a man served overseas with so a man starting in UK with regiment A and transferring to regiment B before he goes overseas will have a regiment B number, clearly not the one he enlisted with.
In sum, unless one is working from a definitive record which clearly shows the enlistment date, any one of the black arts described will always, by me at least, be heavily caveated with a generous sprinkling of might be, is likely to be, suggests that and other weasel words!

MaxD

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Offline jim1

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Re: Regimental numbers and enlistment dates
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 25 November 18 10:56 GMT (UK) »
Very impressive MaxD.
I think a mod should sticky this to the top of the board for the benefit of others.
One might consider local newspapers as they sometimes give a potted military history of a man killed, wounded or honoured.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
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Offline MaxD

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Re: Regimental numbers and enlistment dates
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 25 November 18 11:10 GMT (UK) »
Thanks Jim and a very useful addition.

MaxD
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