Renumbering of the Territorial Force Royal Engineers 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.

Background

The renumbering of the Territorial Force in 1917

Changes to the numbering of TF Royal Engineers was promulgated in Army Council Instruction (ACI) 2243 of 1916, published on 1 December 1916, which also dealt with changes in the arrangements for RE TF records, pay and other administrative matters. These arrangements were to take effect from 1 January 1917 but were later postponed until 1 February 1917. Although not explicitly stated in ACIs, it is likely these postponements also applied to renumbering.

Detail from the campaign medal index card of Sapper Thomas McSloy of one of the Durham Field Companies of the Royal Engineers, Crown copyright. The card shows his original number 955 and his new number 470459 issued in 1917.

Detail from the campaign medal index card of Sapper Thomas McSloy of one of the Durham Field Companies of the Royal Engineers, Crown copyright. The card shows his original number 955 and his new number 470459 issued in 1917.

Those soldiers defined as TF were renumbered with numbers from 400001 upwards. Men retained these numbers for as long as they served in the RE, even if they were subsequently posted to a regular RE unit. The detailed allocation of numbers to TF units is shown below, together with the County Territorial Association(s) responsible for the unit.

The only RE TF units not allocated blocks of numbers were RE TF anti-aircraft units. Men serving in these were given numbers from the allocation of their original TF unit (presumably they were considered as ‘attached’ to anti-aircraft units).

RE soldiers who were designated regulars as far as the renumbering process was concerned were identifiable as such by their numbers: 1 – 400000. They retained this number as long as they served in RE, even if they were later posted to a TF RE unit. They did not get new numbers in 1917. A regular soldier who transferred to the RE from the another arm of service, or who was posted to an RE unit from Army Reserve Section B, was allocated a regular number, irrespective of whether he had originally joined a regular or TF unit. For example if he had been a Territorial infantryman or gunner, then transferred to the Territorial RE, he was treated as a regular for the purposes of renumbering.

From 1 January 1917 every man enlisted into the RE, or transferred from another arm, was dealt with as a regular soldier and allocated a regular number even if he served in a TF RE unit.

The detailed allocation of numbers to TF Royal Engineers units

From To … allocated to … Remarks
400001 402000 1 Highland Field Coy
402001 404000 2 Highland Field Coy
404401 406000 3 Highland Field Coy
406001 408000 Highland Div Sig Coy
408001 410000 City of Aberdeen (Fortress) Coys
410001 412000 City of Dundee (Fortress) Coys
412001 414000 1 Lowland Field Coy
414001 416000 2 Lowland Field Coy
416001 418000 3 Lowland Field Coy
418001 420000 Lowland Div Sig Coy
420001 422000 Renfrew (Fortress) Coys
422001 424000 City of Edinburgh (Fortress) Coys
424001 426000 Scottish Sig Coy ACI 2344 of 15 Dec 16 – ‘Men belonging to the Northern Army Cyclist Signals Coy will receive numbers from this block’
426001 428000 1 West Lancs Field Coy
428001 430000 2 West Lancs Field Coy
430001 432000 3 West Lancs Field Coy
432001 434000 West Lancs Div Sig Coy
434001 436000 Lancs (Fortress) Coys
436001 438000 Western Sig Coy
438001 440000 1 East Lancs Field Coy
440001 442000 2 East Lancs Field Coy
442001 444000 3 East Lancs Field Coy
444001 446000 East Lancs Div Sig Coy
446001 448000 1 Welsh Field Coy (Cheshire)
448001 450000 2 Welsh Field Coy
450001 452000 3 Welsh Field Coy
452001 454000 Welsh Div Sig Coy
454001 457000 Glamorgan (Fortress) Coys
457001 459000 1 Northumbrian Field Coy
459001 461000 2 Northumbrian Field Coy
461001 463000 3 Northumbrian Field Coy
463001 465000 Northumbrian Div Sig Coy
465001 470000 Tyne Electrical Engineers
470001 472000 Durham (Fortress) Coys
472001 474000 North Riding Fortress Coys
474001 476000 East Riding Fortress Coy
476001 478000 1 West Riding Field Coy
478001 480000 2 West Riding Field Coy
480001 482000 3 West Riding Field Coy
482001 484000 West Riding Div Sig Coy
484001 486000 Northern Sig Coy
486001 488000 1 N Midland Field Coy
488001 490000 2 N Midland Field Coy
490001 492000 3 N Midland Field Coy
492001 494000 N Midland Div Sig Coy
494001 496000 1 S Midland Field Coy
496001 498000 2 S Midland Field Coy
498001 500000 3 S Midland Field Coy
500001 502000 S Midland Div Sig Coy
502001 504000 Southern Sig Coy
504001 506000 1 Wessex Field Coy
506001 508000 2 Wessex Field Coy
508001 510000 3 Wessex Field Coy
510001 512000 Wessex Div Sig Coy
512001 514000 Cornwall (Fortress) Coy
514001 516000 Devonshire (Fortress) Coy
516001 518000 Dorsetshire (Fortress) Coy
518001 520000 Hampshire (Fortress) Coy Originally allocated only 518001 – 520000 in ACI 2243 – additional numbers 521800 – 522000 allocated by ACI 668 of 23 Apr 17
520001 521779 Wiltshire (Fortress) Coy Originally allocated 520001 – 522000 in ACI 2243 – amended by ACI 668 of 23 Apr 17
521800 522000 Hampshire (Fortress) Coy Originally allocated only 518001 – 520000 in ACI 2243 – amended by ACI 668 of 23 Apr 17
522001 524000 1 East Anglian Field Coy
524001 526000 2 East Anglian Field Coy
526001 528000 3 East Anglian Field Coy
528001 530000 East Anglian Divisional Sig Coy
530001 532000 Essex (Fortress) Coys
532001 534000 1 Home Counties Field Coy
534001 536000 2 Home Counties Field Coy
536001 538000 3 Home Counties Field Coy
538001 540000 Home Counties Divisional Sig Coy
540001 544000 Kent (Fortress) Coy Originally allocated 540001 – 542000 in ACI 2243. Amended by ACI 2384 of 20 Dec 16.
544001 545000 Cinque Ports (Fortress) Coy Originally allocated 542001 – 544000 in ACI 2243. Amended by ACI 2384 of 20 Dec 16.
545001 546000 Sussex (Fortress) Coy Originally allocated 544001 – 546000 in ACI 2243. Amended by ACI 2384 of 20 Dec 16.
546001 548000 1 London Field Coy
548001 550000 2 London Field Coy
550001 552000 3 London Field Coy
552001 554000 4 London Field Coy
554001 556000 5 London Field Coy
556001 558000 6 London Field Coy
558001 560000 1 London Divisional Sig Coy
560001 562000 2 London Divisional Sig Coy
562001 568000 London Electrical Engineers
568001 570000 London Signal Coy ACI 2344 of 15 Dec 16 – ‘Men belonging to 2nd Mtd Div Sig Coy, 3/2nd Sig Sqn and Southern Army Cyclist Co will be numbered in this block’
570001 572000 Army Postal Service (TF)
572001 574000 1 London & Tyne Electrical & Mechanical Coy

Links

The renumbering of the Territorial Force in 1917

The Corps of Royal Engineers