Prince Albert’s (Somerset Light Infantry)

Regimental Depot

Taunton Barracks

The barracks as shown on a 1914 Ordnance Survey map of Taunton. It was later called Jellalabad Barracks (a little confusing as during the Great War there had been a barracks of the same name at Tidworth). The keep on Mount Street and various other parts of the site still exist.

Battalions of the Regular Army

1st Battalion
August 1914 : in Colchester. Part of 11th Brigade, 4th Division.
22 August 1914 landed at Le Havre.

2nd Battalion
August 1914 : in Quetta, India. Part of 4th (Quetta) Division. Transferred to 1st (Peshawar) Division in December 1917. Remained in India throughout the war.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
August 1914 : in Taunton. A training/depot unit, it remained in UK throughout the war. Moved to Bull Point and other forts near Devonport on 8 August 1914 and stayed there until November 1917 when going to Londonderry. Moved to Belfast in April 1918.

The regimental badge as depicted on a CWGC grave headstone. This image courtesy of the excellent Rowden Surname website.

Battalions of the Territorial Force

1/4th Battalion
August 1914 : in Lower Bristol Road, Bath. Part of South-Western Brigade, Wessex Division.
9 October 1914 : sailed from Southampton, landing at Bombay 9 November 1914. Moved to garrison service at Madras and moved to Jullunder on 12 February 1915.
August 1915: moved to Peshawar.
4 February 1916: began to mobilise at Nowshera.
18 February 1916: departed from Karachi on the ship “Elephanta”.
21 and 23 February 1916 : landed at Basra and came under 37th Indian Brigade, 3rd Indian Division.
Remained in Mesopotamia throughout the rest of the war.
5 May 1916 : transferred to 41st Indian Brigade.
March 1918 : transferred to 56th Indian Brigade, which was attached to 14th Indian Division in September 1918.

1/5th Battalion
August 1914 : in Taunton. Part of South-Western Brigade, Wessex Division.
9 October 1914 : sailed from Southampton, landing at Bombay 9 November 1914.
11 May 1917 : landed in Suez, Egypt, came under orders of 223rd Brigade, 75th Division

2/4th Battalion
Formed at Bath in September 1914 as a Second Line battalion. Became part of 135th Brigade, 2nd Wessex Division.
12 December 1914 : departed on the ship “Saturnia” for service in India.
January 1915: landed at Bombay and proceeded to Bangalore.
August 1915 : moved to Madras and then moved to the Andaman Islands where a German raid was expected, but returned to India January 1916. Landed at Calcutta and moved to Dinapore, Barrackpore and Dum Dum.
25 September 1917 : landed in Suez, Egypt, came under orders of 232nd Brigade in 75th Division.
1 June 1918 : landed in Marseilles, having been detached from the Division, and proceeded to the Western Front.
19 June 1918 : attached to 34th Division as Pioneer Battalion.

2/5th Battalion
Formed at Taunton in September 1914 as a Second Line battalion. Became part of 135th Brigade, 2nd Wessex Division.
12 December 1914 : landed in India. The Division was broken up on arrival. Became divisional troops to Burma Division, then in January 1916 joined part of Rangoon Brigade in same Division.

3/4th and 3/5th Battalions
Formed at home stations in March 1915.
April 1916 : became Reserve Bns and 5th then absorbed 6th on 1 September 1916 while at Hursley Park, Winchester. Moved to Bournemouth in October 1916; Sutton Veny in March 1917; Larkhill by late 1917 and finally Oswestry in April 1918.

11th Battalion
Formed on 1 January 1917 from what had previously been the 85th Provisional Battalion of the TF. It had been formed at Yeovil in April 1915 from “Home Service only” personnel and was under command of 227th Brigade.
Known to have been at Herne Bay in October 1917 and Wrentham in March 1918. Between 27 April 1918 and 16 July 1918, it was entitled ‘Garrison Guard’ Bn.
6 May 1918 : moved to France and attached to 177th Brigade, 59th (2nd North Midland) Division.

12th (West Somerset Yeomanry) Battalion
Formed at Ismailia in Egypt on 4 January 1917 from dismounted yeomanry regiment.
January 1917 : came under orders of 229th Brigade in 74th (Yeomanry) Division.
30 April 1918 : embarked at Alexandria for Marseilles, landing 7 May.

Battalions of the New Armies

6th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Taunton in August 1914 as part of K1 and came under command of 43rd Brigade, 14th (Light) Division.
14 April 1918 : formed a composite unit with 5th Bn, Ox & Bucks Light Infantry, which was reduced to cadre strength two weeks later.
18 June 1918 : transferred to 16th Division and returned to England for reconstruction.
20 June 1918 : reconstituted by absorbing 13th Bn, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.
1 August 1918 : landed at Boulogne.
4 July 1918 : transferred to 49th Brigade in same Division.

7th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Taunton in September 1914 as part of K2 and came under command of 61st Brigade, 20th (Light) Division.
24 July 1915 : landed at Boulogne.

8th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Taunton in October 1914 as part of K3 and came under command of 63rd Brigade, 21st Division.
10 September 1915 : landed at Le Havre.
8 July 1916 : transferred with Brigade to 37th Division.

Lieutenant Colonel John Willoughby Scott received his commission with the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars. He was commanding the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry when he was killed in action, aged 38, on 23 April 1917. Lt Col Scott is buried at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez. Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum image HU9515.

9th (Reserve) Battalion
Formed in Plymouth in October 1914 as a Service battalion, part of K4, and came under command of 98th Brigade, original 33rd Division.
10 April 1915: became a Reserve Battalion.
1 September 1916 : converted into 45th Training Reserve Battalion in 10th Reserve Brigade.

Other Battalions

10th (Home Service) Battalion
Formed in Weston-super-Mare in November 1916 and placed under orders of 216th Brigade, 72nd Division.
November 1917 : disbanded in England, having left the Division in July 1917.

13th (Home Service) Battalion
Formed in Wrentham, Suffolk, on 27 April 1918, to replace 11th Bn in 227th Brigade.

1st Garrison Battalion
Formed in Plymouth in January 1917.
Moved to India in February 1917. Joined Rawalpindi Brigade in 2nd (Rawalpindi) Division.




Other infantry regiments

4th Division

14th (Light) Division

16th (Irish) Division

20th (Light) Division

21st Division

34th Division

37th Division

43rd (Wessex) Division

45th (2nd Wessex) Division

59th (2nd North Midland) Division

72nd Division

74th (Yeomanry) Division

75th Division

Training Reserve

Regimental archive

Somerset Military Museum