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Renumbering of soldiers on arrival in theatre of war

From 1916 onwards it became common for an infantry man to be transferred to a different regiment or corps when he arrived in France. This required him to be issued with a new number. Army Council Instruction 1499 of 1916 defined the procedure. This is a precis and explanation of the ACI.

  • Each regular and TF Infantry Record would issue to the officer in charge of Base Records a block of their regimental numbers in extension of their present series [to be used for renumbering men]. They would issue a block of 5000 numbers for each regiment and 1000 for each TF battalion, with further blocks being issued as they were used up.
  • The numbers were allotted to regular soldiers who were being transfered to other corps; or to TF soldiers who were posted to other regular or TF units of the corps in which they were already serving; or to TF soldiers being transferred to regular or TF units of another corps.
  • The man’s old and new numbers, regiments and units would be published in the Daily Part II Orders of the unit to which he was being transferred.
  • Shoukd it happen that a regular soldier, who had been allotted a new number from the general series, was found to be serving on a normal or Special Reserve engagement, he would be allotted a new number from the proper series and all other numbers cancelled.
  • The renumbered men would be supplied with new identity discs as well as appropriate regimental badges, insignia, etc.