Renumbering the TF Infantry in 1917

Men serving in the Territorial Force got new numbers in 1917 and a great deal can be determined about their service from these numbers. This page should help you understand what it all means.

Introduction

This change of numbering of infantrymen was promulgated in Army Council Instruction (ACI) 2414 of 1916, published on 23 December 1916. As with the equivalent ACIs for other arms, ACI 2414 also dealt with changes in the arrangements for TF records, pay and other administrative matters. These arrangements were to take effect from 1 March 1917. The renumbering did not apply to the Royal Defence Corps, the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps or the Honourable Artillery Company (Infantry).

The basics of the system

Each corps of infantry was allocated a block of TF numbers starting at 200001. This means that, unlike the other arms, infantry TF numbers were duplicated – but not within the same corps. The allocation for each infantry corps was then broken into smaller blocks for each battalion. These are shown below.

All infantry soldiers defined as TF were allocated a new number. The man retained this number as long as he served in a particular corps, even if he was subsequently posted to a regular battalion of the corps.

If a TF infantryman subsequently transferred to a different corps (infantry or otherwise), he received a new number. He was initially posted to a TF unit of his new corps, renumbered with a TF number, and then could be posted to a regular unit – which means he may never have actually served in the TF unit associated with his new number.

(Regular soldiers retained their existing numbers as long as they served in that corps of infantry. If a regular subsequently transferred to a different infantry corps, he received a regular number in the new corps, irrespective of whether he joined a regular or TF unit in that corps).

From 1 January 1917 the only soldiers who could be treated as TF when initially joining an infantry corps were:

  • Men who enlisted (or had already enlisted) directly into infantry TF units and were not subject to the Military Service Acts (i.e. were not liable for conscription)
  • Men serving on TF attestations in other arms – such as the TF artillery – who transferred to infantry TF units
  • Men directly posted to TF infantry units from Army Reserve Section B

Exceptions

Exceptions arise from the fact that ‘corps of infantry’ and infantry regiments were not always identical. In the majority of cases they were (e.g. for the Royal Scots or the Durham Light Infantry there is no practical difference between the regiment and the corps) but those units which were composed entirely of TF units required special treatment. These included the London Regiment, a very large regiment that was entirely composed of TF units, the Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Monmouthshire Regiments. The King’s (Liverpool Regiment) also had some peculiarities. As will be seen, there was some scope for confusion in this system. ACI 1245, published on 11 August 17, clarified matters by tabulating the rules for transfers between the various corps of infantry.

The London Regiment

This is the most complex area of TF renumbering. Under the provisions of the Corps Warrant, each battalion of the London Regiment was affiliated to a regular regiment. But for the purposes of renumbering the London Regiment was treated as a separate corps of infantry and allocated a single series of numbers. However, for subsequent transfers of soldiers, each battalion of the London Regiment was treated as part of its affiliated regiment,
thus

Battalion(s) of the London Regiment … … were affiliated to …
1, 2, 3, 4, 29, 30 Royal Fusiliers*
6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 31, 32 KRRC*
5, 8, 10, 17, 25, 28 Rifle Brigade*
14 Gordon Highlanders
18 Royal Irish Rifles*
7, 19 Middlesex R.
20 Royal West Kent R.
21,23 East Surrey R.
22, 24 Queens (Royal West Surrey R.)
* Regiments which had no TF battalions of their own 

When a soldier was transferred in or out of the London Regiment, he was treated in the following way as regards renumbering him:

From To Example Effect on his number
Bn of London Regt Bn of London Regt of the same corps From 3rd to 29th Bn None, he kept the same number
Bn of London Regt Bn of London Regt of a different corps From 3rd to 6th Bn Renumbered in the TF series of his new battalion
Bn of London Regt Regular army Bn of the same Corps From 3rd Londons to 1st Royal Fusiliers None, he kept his number
Bn of London Regt A TF Bn of a different regiment in the same Corps From 14th Londons to 4th Gordons Renumbered in the TF series of his new battalion
Non-London TF Bn Bn of London Regt in same corps From 4th West Kents to 20th Londons Renumbered in the TF series of his new battalion
Regular army Bn Bn of London Regt in same corps From 2nd Middlesex to 19th Londons None, he kept his number

The King’s (Liverpool Regiment)

The 10th (Scottish) Battalion was treated as part of the Liverpool Regiment – but for subsequent transfers it was treated as part of its affiliated regiment as set out in the Corps Warrant – the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders. Similar principles as for the London Regiment were followed for renumbering if a man was subsequently transferred, i.e.
From Liverpool Scottish to regular Cameron battalion – no renumbering;
From Liverpool Scottish to TF Cameron battalion – renumbered to Cameron TF number;
From Liverpool Scottish to another battalion of Liverpool Regt – renumbered with Liverpool Regt number.

For all other “All-TF” infantry regiments

All-TF Regiment Treated as part of
Cambridgeshire R Suffolk R
Herefordshire R King’s (Shropshire Light Infantry)
Hertfordshire R Bedfordshire R
Highland Cyclist Bn Black Watch
Huntingdonshire Cyclist Bn Bedfordshire R
Kent Cyclist Bn Royal West Kent R
Monmouthshire R South Wales Borderers
Northern Cyclist Bn Northumberland Fusiliers
The Brecknockshire and Buckinghamshire Battalions were treated as part of South Wales Borderers and Ox & Bucks Light Infantry respectively.

The renumbering system

The detailed allocation of numbers to TF infantry units is shown in this table:

From To Battalion Regiment Remarks
200001 250000 5 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
250001 275000 6 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
275001 300000 7 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
300001 325000 8 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
325001 350000 9 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
350001 375000 16 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
200001 240000 5 Bedfordshire Regiment
240001 265000 11 Bedfordshire Regt
265001
290000 Bedfordshire Regt Allocated to 1 Hertfordshire Regt
290001 315000 Bedfordshire Regt Allocated to Huntingdon (Cyclists)
200001 225000 4 Berkshire Regimentt
200001 240000 4 Border Regiment
240001 265000 5 Border Regt
200001 225000 Brecknockshire Battalion Numbered in South Wales Borderers series
265001 290000 Bucks Battalion Numbered in Ox & Bucks LI series
325001 350000 1 Cambridgeshire Regiment Numbered in Suffolk Regt series. Originally allocated 315001 – 340000 in ACI 2414, amended by ACI 126 of 21 Jan 17.
200001 225000 4 Cameron Highlanders
225001 250000 10 Cameron Highlanders
200001 240000 4 Cheshire Regiment
240001 265000 5 Cheshire Regt
265001 290000 6 Cheshire Regt
290001 315000 7 Cheshire Regt
315001 340000 23 Cheshire Regt
200001 240000 4 Devonshire Regiment
240001 265000 5 Devonshire Regt
265001 290000 6 Devonshire Regt
290001 315000 7 Devonshire Regt Cyclists
315001 340000 15 Devonshire Regt
340001 350000 16 Devonshire Regt
200001 225000 4 Dorsetshire Regiment
200001 240000 4 Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
240001 265000 5 Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
200001 250000 5 Durham Light Infantry
250001 275000 6 Durham Light Infantry
275001 300000 7 Durham Light Infantry
300001 325000 8 Durham Light Infantry
325001 350000 9 Durham Light Infantry
350001 375000 26 Durham Light Infantry
375001 400000 27 Durham Light Infantry
200001 240000 4 Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
240001 265000 5 Buffs (East Kent Regt)
265001 275000 10 Buffs (East Kent Regt)
200001 240000 4 East Lancs Regiment
240001 265000 5 East Lancs Regt
200001 240000 5 East Surrey Regt
240001 265000 6 East Surrey Regt
200001 225000 4 East Yorks Regimentt
225001 250000 5 East Yorks Regt Cyclists
200001 250000 4 Essex Regiment
250001 275000 5 Essex Regt
275001 300000 6 Essex Regt
300001 325000 7 Essex Regt
325001 350000 8 Essex Regt Cyclists
350001 375000 15 Essex Regt
375001 400000 16 Essex Regt
400001 425000 17 Essex Regt
200001 240000 4 Gloucestershire Regiment
240001 265000 5 Gloucestershire Regt
265001 290000 6 Gloucestershire Regt
290001 315000 17 Gloucestershire Regt
200001 240000 4 Gordon Highlanders
240001 265000 5 Gordon Highlanders
265001 290000 6 Gordon Highlanders
290001 315000 7 Gordon Highlanders
315001 320000 Gordon Highlanders  Shetland Companies
200001 240000 4 Hampshire Regiment
240001 280000 5 Hampshire Regt
280001 305000 6 Hampshire Regt
305001 330000 7 Hampshire Regt
330001 355000 8 Hampshire Regt
355001 380000 9 Hampshire Regt Cyclists
380001 405000 17 Hampshire Regt
235001 260000 1 Herefordshire Regiment Numbered in Shropshire Light Infantry series. Originally allocated 225001 – 250000 in ACI 2414, amended by ACI 126 of 21 Jan 17.
265001 290000 1 Hertfordshire Regt Numbered in Bedford Regt series
350001 375000 Highland Cyclist Battalion Numbered in Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) series. Originally allocated 340001 – 365000 in ACI 2414, amended by ACI 126 of 21 Jan 17.
200001 240000 5 Highland Light Infantry
240001 280000 6 Highland Light Infantry
280001 305000 7 Highland Light Infantry
305001 330000 8 Highland Light Infantry
330001 355000 9 Highland Light Infantry
355001 380000 21 Highland Light Infantry
290001 315000 1 Huntingdon (Cyclists) Numbered in Bedford Regt Series
265001 290000 Kent Cyclist Battalion Numbered in West Kents series
200001 240000 5 King’s Liverpool Regiment
240001 265000 6 King’s Liverpool Regt
265001 305000 7 King’s Liverpool Regt
305001 330000 8 King’s Liverpool Regt
330001 355000 9 King’s Liverpool Regt
355001 380000 10 King’s Liverpool Regt
380001 405000 25 King’s Liverpool Regt
405001 430000 26 King’s Liverpool Regt
200001 240000 4 King’s Own (Royal Lancashire Regiment)
240001 265000 5 King’s Own (Royal Lancs)
265001 290000 12 King’s Own (Royal Lancs)
200001 240000 4 King’s Own Scottish Borderers
240001 265000 5 King’s Own Scottish Borderers
200001 240000 4 King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
240001 265000 5 King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
200001 240000 5 Lancashire Fusiliers
240001 280000 6 Lancs Fusiliers
280001 305000 7 Lancs Fusiliers
305001 330000 8 Lancs Fusiliers
200001 240000 4 Leicestershire Regiment
240001 265000 5 Leicestershire Regt
200001 240000 4 Lincolnshire Regiment
240001 265000 5 Lincolnshire Regt
265001 290000 13 Lincolnshire Regt
200001 230000 1 London Regiment
230001 250000 2 London Regt
250001 280000 3 London Regt
280001 300000 4 London Regt
300001 320000 5 London Regt
320001 350000 6 London Regt
350001 370000 7 London Regt
370001 390000 8 London Regt
390001 420000 9 London Regt
420001 450000 10 London Regt
450001 470000 11 London Regt
470001 490000 12 London Regt
490001 510000 13 London Regt
510001 530000 14 London Regt
530001 550000 15 London Regt
550001 570000 16 London Regt
570001 590000 17 London Regt
590001 610000 18 London Regt
610001 630000 19 London Regt
630001 650000 20 London Regt
650001 680000 21 London Regt
680001 700000 22 London Regt
700001 720000 23 London Regt
720001 740000 24 London Regt
740001 760000 25 London Regt Cyclists
760001 780000 28 London Regt
780001 800000 29 London Regt
800001 820000 30 London Regt
820001 840000 31 London Regt
840001 860000 32 London Regt
200001 240000 4 Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
240001 265000 5 Loyal North Lancs
265001 290000 12 Loyal North Lancs
290001 315000 14 Loyal North Lancs
200001 250000 5 Manchester Regiment
250001 275000 6 Manchester Regt
275001 300000 7 Manchester Regt
300001 350000 8 Manchester Regt
350001 375000 9 Manchester Regt
375001 400000 10 Manchester Regt
400001 425000 28 Manchester Regt
200001 240000 7 Middlesex Regiment
240001 265000 8 Middlesex Regt
265001 290000 9 Middlesex Regt
290001 315000 10 Middlesex Regt
315001 340000 32 Middlesex Regt
225001 265000 1 Monmouthshire Regiment Numbered in South Wales Borderers series
265001 290000 2 Monmouth Regt Numbered in South Wales Borderers series
290001 315000 3 Monmouth Regt Numbered in South Wales Borderers series
315001 340000 4 Monmouth Regt Numbered in South Wales Borderers series
200001 240000 4 Norfolk Regiment
240001 265000 5 Norfolk Regt
265001 290000 6 Norfolk Regt Cyclists
290001 315000 11 Norfolk Regt
315001 325000 12 Norfolk Regt
200001 240000 5 North Staffordshire Regiment
240001 265000 6 North Staffordshire Regt
200001 225000 4 Northamptonshire Regiment
225001 250000 9 Northampton Regt
365001 390000 Northern Cyclist Battalion Numbered in Northumberland Fusilers series
200001 240000 4 Northumberland Fusiliers
240001 265000 5 Northumberland Fusiliers
265001 290000 6 Northumberland Fusiliers
290001 315000 7 Northumberland Fusiliers
315001 340000 35 Northumberland Fusiliers
340001 365000 36 Northumberland Fusiliers
365001 390000 Northumberland Fusiliers Allocated to Northern Cyclist Battalion
200001 240000 5 Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment (Sherwood Foresters)
240001 265000 6 Notts & Derby Regt
265001 305000 7 Notts & Derby Regt
305001 330000 8 Notts & Derby Regt
330001 355000 21 Notts & Derby Regt
200001 240000 4 Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
240001 265000 10 Ox & Bucks Light Infantry
265001 290000 Ox & Bucks Light Infantry Allocated to Bucks Bn
200001 300000 Rifle Brigade Allocated to 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 Rifle Brigade
200001 240000 4 Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)
240001 265000 5 Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)
265001 290000 6 Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)
290001 315000 7 Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)
315001 340000 13 Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)
340001 350000 14 Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)
350001 375000 Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) Allocated to Highland Cyclist Bn, who were originally allocated 340001 – 365000 in ACI 2414, amended by ACI 126 of 21 Jan 17.
200001 250000 4 Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)
250001 275000 5 Royal Scots
275001 300000 6 Royal Scots
300001 325000 7 Royal Scots
325001 350000 8 Royal Scots
350001 375000 9 Royal Scots
375001 400000 10 Royal Scots Cyclists
200001 240000 4 Royal Scots Fusiliers Includes ‘The Ardeer Company’
240001 265000 5 Royal Scots Fusiliers
265001 290000 11 Royal Scots Fusiliers
290001 300000 12 Royal Scots Fusiliers
200001 240000 4 Royal Welsh Fusiliers
240001 265000 5 Royal Welsh Fusiliers
265001 290000 6 Royal Welsh Fusiliers
290001 315000 7 Royal Welsh Fusiliers
315001 340000 23 Royal Welsh Fusiliers
340001 350000 24 Royal Welsh Fusiliers
350001 360000 25 Royal Welsh Fusiliers
200001 240000 5 Scottish Rifles
240001 265000 6 Scottish Rifles
265001 290000 7 Scottish Rifles
290001 315000 8 Scottish Rifles
315001 340000 15 Scottish Rifles
200001 240000 4 Seaforth Highlanders
240001 265000 5 Seaforth Highlanders
265001 290000 6 Seaforth Highlanders
200001 225000 4 Shropshire Light Infantry
225001 235000 10 Shropshire Light Infantry
235001 260000 Shropshire Light Infantry Allocated to 1 Herefordshire Regt.
200001 240000 4 Somerset Light Infantry
240001 265000 5 Somerset Light Infantry
265001 290000 11 Somerset Light Infantry
290001 300000 12 Somerset Light Infantry
200001 240000 4 South Lancashire Regiment
240001 265000 5 South Lancashire Regt
265001 290000 14 South Lancashire Regt
200001 240000 5 South Staffordshire Regiment
240001 265000 6 South Staffordshire Regt
200001 225000 South Wales Borderers Allocated to Brecknock Bn
225001 265000 South Wales Borderers Allocated to 1 Monmouth Regt
265001 290000 South Wales Borderers Allocated to 2 Monmouth Regt
290001 315000 South Wales Borderers Allocated to 3 Monmouth Regt
315001 340000 South Wales Borderers Allocated to 4 Monmouth Regt
200001 240000 4 Suffolk Regiment
240001 265000 5 Suffolk Regt
265001 290000 6 Suffolk Regt Cyclists
290001 315000 14 Suffolk Regt
315001 325000 15 Suffolk Regt
315001 340000 Suffolk Regt Allocated to 1 Cambridge Regt
200001 240000 4 Royal Sussex Regiment
240001 265000 5 Royal Sussex Regt
265001 290000 6 Royal Sussex Regt Cyclists
290001 315000 15 Royal Sussex Regt
315001 325000 16 Royal Sussex Regt
200001 240000 5 Royal Warwickshire Regiment
240001 265000 6 Royal Warwickshire Regt
265001 305000 7 Royal Warwickshire Regt
305001 330000 8 Royal Warwickshire Regt
330001 355000 18 Royal Warwickshire Regt
200001 240000 4 Welsh Regiment
240001 265000 5 Welsh Regt
265001 290000 6 Welsh Regt
290001 315000 7 Welsh Regt Cyclists
315001 325000 24 Welsh Regt
200001 240000 4 Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)
240001 265000 5 Royal West Kents
265001 290000 Royal West Kents Allocated to Kent Cyclist Battalion
200001 240000 4 Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)
240001 265000 5 Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regt)
265001 305000 6 Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regt)
305001 330000 7 Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regt)
200001 240000 4 Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)
240001 265000 5 Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regt)
265001 290000 19 Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regt)
200001 240000 5 West Yorkshire Regiment
240001 265000 6 West Yorkshire Regt
265001 305000 7 West Yorkshire Regt
305001 330000 8 West Yorkshire Regt
200001 225000 4 Wiltshire Regiment
200001 240000 7 Worcestershire Regiment
240001 265000 8 Worcestershire Regt
200001 240000 4 York & Lancaster Regiment
240001 265000 5 York & Lancs Regt
200001 240000 4 Yorkshire Regiment
240001 265000 5 Yorkshire Regt
265001 290000 18 Yorkshire Regt

The last 5000 numbers in the allocation to an infantry battalion were reserved for the use of Base Records in the various theatres – this was to allow for the renumbering of men transferred whilst serving overseas. This caused some confusion where the 1st and 2nd Lines of a TF battalion were serving in different overseas theatres and, in these cases, blocks of numbers were issued by TF records offices to the theatres concerned. These numbers did not need to be taken from the last 5000.

Tip: how do I use this table?

Taking note of the details above and especially what qualified a man for the renumbering, it would be reasonable to assume that he was serving in the unit to which his new number had been allotted. For example, Private 350111 Bill Smith, who was known to have been with the Manchester Regiment, would have been with the 9th Battalion.

Changes to the system: Army Council Instruction 2415 of 1917

Published on 11 August 1917, this Instruction clarified matters by by tabulating the numbering rules for transfers of men between corps of infantry.

Regular soldiers (which included conscripts to regular and new army units) were those serving on regular army attestations whether currently bearing a regular or TF number. The rules for renumbering these men if they had to be transferred became as follows:

Destination Transfer method Posting Renumbering rules
Royal Defence Corps Transferred to RDC Posted to a unit of RDC Allocated a TF number
Honourable Artillery Company Discharged and re-enlisted on TF attestation terms Posted to a unit of HAC Allocated a TF number
All others Transferred to the corps in which he is required to serve Posted to either a regular or TF unit as required Allocated a regular number in his new corps*
* Thus his number after transfer would not be from the numbering table shown above

TF soldiers (which included conscripts to TF units) were those serving on TF attestations whether currently bearing a regular or TF number. The rules for renumbering these men if they had to be transferred became as follows:

Destination Transfer method Posting Renumbering rules
A corps containing one or more TF units Transferred to the corps in which he is required to serve Posted to a regular or TF unit of his new corps as required Allocated a TF number in his new corps
A corps containing both regular and TF soldiers but no TF units Transferred to the corps in which he is required to serve Posted to unit of new corps Allocated a regular number*
A corps which contained no TF units or soldiers Discharged and re-enlisted on a regular attestation Posted to a unit of the corps in which he is required to serve Allocated a regular number in his new corps*
* Thus his number after transfer would not be from the numbering table shown above

Tip: I now know from his number that my man served with a TF unit. Where next?

Taking our example of Private 266117 Bill Smith, who was known to have been with the 9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This battalion was actually split into three during the war, the 1/9th, 2/9th and 3/9th. His number does not tell you which one Bill served with. To find out, you would need to find his service record or look at his entries in the medal rolls.

Links

Renumbering of the TF in 1917

The Infantry Regiments