Many soldiers of the Territorial Force were transferred to the regular army during the war, especially just before or after going overseas. The method of their transfer produced documentary evidence – such as details given in the medal rolls – that can be confusing or misleading for the unwary researcher. This memorandum circulated by the headquarters of the 15th (Scottish) Division explains all.
It has been observed that in certain cases a doubt appears to exist regarding the correct procedure to be observed when reinforcements of the Territorial Force are ordered to join a unit of the Regular Army in the field.
- The transfer of soldiers of the Territorial Force to the Regular Army is legally inadmissible. Such soldiers may, however, now be transferred compulsorily from one “corps” to another and they may now also be compulsorily posted to any unit within the “corps” to which they belong under the provisions of Army Order 204 (b) and (c) of 1916. For the definition of the term “corps” see Army Orders 250 and 258 of 1916.
- The procedure is therefore as follows:
- First the men will be transferred (if necessary) from their present unit of the Territorial Force to a Territorial Force unit within the “corps” (as defined above) in which their services are required. This is merely a formal transfer – a paper transaction. They do not join this unit and they are not assigned regimental numbers in it.
- Secondly they are posted from the Territorial Force units to which they have thus been transferred to the unit which they reinforce and to which, to all intents and purposes, they will then belong. They must be assigned regimental numbers therein in accordance with paragraph 3(f) of the directions issued from this office on the procedure to be observed in making transfers under Army Council Instruction 1499 of 1916.
- At the end of the war such Territorial soldiers may rejoin their original corps if they wish or be discharged.
- The following is an example of the procedure in transferring and posting:
- A draft of the Highland Cyclist Battalion [a TF unit] is ordered to reinforce the 2nd Battalion of the Scottish Rifles [a regular unit].
- In the first place the transfer of the men of the draft from the Highland Cyclist Battalion to the 4th Battalion of the Scottish Rifles [a TF unit] is formally registered …
- … followed by the announcement that they are posted to the 2nd Battalion.
- They will then shed the regimental numbers, badges, etc which they have borne in the Highland Cyclist Battalion and will be allotted those pertaining to the Scottish Rifles, regular army.
The memorandum is contained within the war diary of the headquarters of the 15th (Scottish) Division (National Archives, WO95/1913) and is dated 8 September 1916.