Please note this is very much a work in progress and in many ways is just a recording of my thoughts/research as I try to unravel the Territorial numbering system, primarily from mid-1916 onwards.
April 1908 – 1916
The last of the 4-digit numbers
Was 7804/242592 Percy NcNeil the last man to be given a 4-digit number by the Sherwood Foresters Regimental Depot?
Percy served with the South Nott Hussars (1026) before being wounded and transferred to Hospital in England. He returned to France with 1/5th Battalion (7804), before being transferred to the 1/6th Battalion as part of the 28th Reinforcement. He was NOT renumbered at this time, possibly because the 5th Reserve Battalion (i.e. the amalgamated 3/5th and 3/6th Battalions) were issuing unique 4-digit numbers for men that were posted to the 1/5th and 1/6th Battalions.
The 5-digit numbers
Issued between July and December 1916
The 1/6th (Derbyshire) Battalion
- 20001/242595 unknown
- 20002/242595 George Stephen Hall (formerly 4204 1/8th Battn)
- 20003/242596 Charles Haynes (formerly 2118 1/8th Battn)
- 20004/242597 Alfred William Hind
- 20005/242598 Edwin Hudson
- 20030/242622 Albert Walker
- 20031/242623 Cecil Woodward
- 20032/242624 Nelson Woolven
Amongst this group of men the Service Record of 242613 Frank Shaw are available and record the following details
- Mobilised on the 21st July 1916 and posted to the 7th Reserve Battalion the same day. A this time he would have received a 4-digit number (6448).
- On the 9th December 1916 he was transferred to the 1/8th Battalion and proceeded to France. NOTE: it is not clear if he was renumbered prior to leaving England or on arrival at the 14 Infantry Base Depot.
- On the 22nd December he was posted to the 1/6th Battalion and received a 5-digit number (20021).
- He was renumbered 242613 in Spring 1917.
Finally, there is a group of 15 men (all identifiable) that were renumbered non-alphabetically, for example:-
- 20033/242625 Sydney Swan
- 20034/242626 Royal Murray
“Draft of 40 OR from Base (20 OR old 7th Battn & 15 OR old 8th Battn)”, which confirms the need to issue the series of 5-digit number prior to the Territorial Force renumbering.
Similar to the 1/6th Battalion, the 1/5 Battalion also received Reinforcements in December totalling 2 Officers and 94 Other Ranks. For example, the Service Record for 20037 Chatterton (below) records his posting the 1/5th Battalion on the 2nd December and assigned the new Regimental Number 20037.
Example 1: 20038/203304 Henry Harmstone Farmer
- Henry attested on the 21st February 1916 and was placed in the Army Reserve.
- Mobilized on the 26th July 1916, posted to the Sherwood Foresters Depot and given number 56797.
- Posted to the 6th Reserve Battalion on 29th July 1916 and given number T5694.
- Transfered to the 5th Reserve Battalion on 1st September 1916 and given number 6130.
- Transfered to the 1/6th Battalion from the 5th Reserve on 18th November 1916.
- Arrived at the 14 IBD at Calais on the 20th November 1916.
- Posted to the 1/5th Battalion on 2nd December and given the Regimental number 20038.
- Renumbered 203304 in February 1917.
- Killed in action on the 17th October 1918.
Example 2: 3990/203321 Harold Cecil Caulton
20031/203297 Alfred Thomas Masters who was posted to the 1/5th Battalion at the 14 IDB on the 18th October 1916 (below). Alfred was from Yeovil and enlisted in December 1915. He was posted to the 8th Reserve Battalion (4530) before transferring to the 7th Reserve Battalion when they merged on the 1st September 1916 and he was renumbered 6652.
For example during July the 1/5th Battalion received reinforcements of 422 other ranks
On 22nd July 1/5th Battn received 250 and the 1/7th Battn received 190
These men were issued with 5-digit numbers as follows
20545 William Falconbridge (e March 1916) joined 1/5th Battn on attachment 22/07/1916
20629 Harold Branson 1/5th Battn (e May 1915; formerly 4651 1/7 and 3/7) and killed in action 8/10/1916.
Posted to 1/5th Battn on 29/8/1916 or 22/07/1916 (Auth AO204/16 & ACI 1499/16)
5062/20538 Pte William White was a forestry worker from Baslow who was posted to the 3/6th Battalion in March 1916. He was transferred to the 1/6th Battalion on the 5th July and arrived in France (14 IBD at Calais) with the 14th Reinforcement. He was posted to the 1/7th Sherwood Foresters on the 22nd July 1917 and renumbered using the 1916 5-digit numbering series
Recording the transfer of men between the Sherwood Foresters Territorial Battalion.
The 26**** number series
260001 died on the 8th May 1917
260019 Pte Thomas Alfred Stafford
263000 – 263030
1/6th & 2/6th
325001 – 325049
Used to transfer men to the 1/8th Battalion from the 14 IBD on the 8th February 1917
Some men from Aberdeen Highland Field Company Royal Engineers
Some men from Royal Army Ordnance Corps
328001 – 328050
Numbers issued between 8th January 1917 to 27th December 1917 transfer men to the 1/8th Battalion from 1/7th Battalion – many men seem to be men who were wounded and treated in England before returning to France.
Also Notts & Derby TF men returning from Labour Corps, ASC, 1/5th Lincolns