Alphabetical & sequential numbering system in the 8th ?

Alphabetical & sequential numbering system in the 8th ?

Postby plbramham » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:05 pm

Looking at Spike’s website for the 8th Btn (http://freewebs.com/kendalpals/index.htm ) I was struck by what seems to be some sort of alphabetical and sequential numbering system. Look at these men with the surnames beginning with “W”:
All have serial numbers within 15 digit series range; all have surnames beginning with “W”, all lived in or enlisted in Kendal . I'm thinking that they enlisted on the same date in the same place one after another, but I do not have all the attestation documents (in the highly unlikely event that the papers have all survived!) to prove my hunch. However, I have found from a couple of surviving attestation papers that at least two of these men - John Wilkinson & Thomas G Wilson, enlisted on 15th September 1914 in Kendal.

15006 Ernest WILSON - 3 Caroline St. Kendal. Died 17/7/16
15010 Richard WALLACE - 6 Gawith Place. Kendal Died 5/7/16
15011 Robert WILLOCK – Castle St. Kendal. Died 31/5/17
15016 Thomas G WILSON - enlisted Kendal. Died 9/11/16
15019 John WILKINSON - 16 Castle St.Kendal Died 6/6/17
15020 Thomas Edward WILKINSON - Sizergh Castle Gardens, near Kendal Died 5/7/16

In the past I asked Tony at the museum if "batches" of numbers were handed out to specific recruiting centres after I spotted a pattern with 8th Btn men from Milnthorpe, and he confirmed that my guess was correct - the numbers were issued in "blocks" to certain recruiting centres on certain dates. Unfortunately the "master list" with details of these numbers, dates, and centres has not survived.
Spike has suggested an explanation that perhaps the officer’s in charge of recruitment may have made them line up alphabetically for attestation?
He also says that in the 11th (Lonsdale ) Btn. there are numbers close to each other on the same or following days, but no inkling of an alphabetical system, though there are blocks of men in the same company, enlisting on the same week, with consecutive numbers.

Any other thoughts anyone? The obvious one of course is the high attrition rate. All these men died, how many of the men with the serial numbers inbetween these were wounded, hence how few who volunteered actually came through completely unscathed?

Paul

P.S. Then I also noticed this sequence in the 8th Btn for men with surnames beginning with “D”:
15116 - DIXON, Ernest (no address details but, from the pattern emerging, I’ll bet he enlisted in Kendal!). Died 10/4/18
15118 - DENNISON, Ernest. 17 Lound St. Kendal. Died 6/10/16
15120 - DIXON, Robert Drysdale Westcliffe, Kendal. Died 15/9/18
15122 - DIXON, Walter. Highfield Kendal .Died 3-5/7/16
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Re: Alphabetical & sequential numbering system in the 8th ?

Postby spike » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:02 pm

As Paul says,
I think you have to presume someone at the recruiting centre, decided to ask the men to line up
in alphabetical order.

As most pals battalions were composed of groups of friends and colleagues who joined up together
probably in small groups, it is the only explanation I can think of.
Otherwise the men of Kendal and the surrounding areas were only mates or colleagues of people with
the same letter as a surname ( a sort of alphabet gang....)
SPIKE

LINK - Border Regiment in the Great War Websites
(right click and open in new tab)

In memory of -19455 Private John Farrer,
A Company 11th Border Regiment k.i.a. 1st July 1916
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Re: Alphabetical & sequential numbering system in the 8th ?

Postby IanT » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:59 pm

There are two sets of "service records" (24 images and 6 images) on Ancestry for Richard Wallace. The attestation date on the first page of both is illegible but in the Statement of Services the attestation date is 6th September 1914 but joined the regiment on 15th after initial few days in the reserve. Robert Willock attested on 10th September 1914 (also has two sets of records 38 images & 4 images), also briefly in the reserve then joined the regiment on 15th September. Interestingly against Corps at the top of each front page it says "Bdr Pals".
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Re: Alphabetical & sequential numbering system in the 8th ?

Postby plbramham » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:58 am

IanT wrote: Interestingly against Corps at the top of each front page it says "Bdr Pals".Ian


Yes I've noticed that on some Kendal enlistments. Also a few times I've seen: "The Border Pals", and just once: "8 Pals"
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Re: Alphabetical & sequential numbering system in the 8th ?

Postby plbramham » Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:34 pm

I've asked Stuart Eastwood at the museum about this and received this reply:

" Dear Paul,
It probably is like trying to answer the question, how long is a piece of string – there are no hard and fast rules about his.

Leaving the Territorials (4th & 5th Border) and Special Reservists (3rd Border) aside, the Regiment continued to issue numbers from its sequence of regular army numbers from the outbreal of the War. When the Border Regiment was formed in 1881 they renumbered the regular soldiers staring at 1. By August 1914 the regular army numbers had reached around 10800 and this sequence was continued right up to 1920.

In our databases there are a number of instances where there are runs of names in order, not truly alphabetical, but alphabetically by first letter of surname i.e. all the “A’s” etc. This is patchy. It may well be that as people joined, particularly with some of the Kitchener battalions that they attested for service, name goes in ledger alphabetically by first letter of surname and then regimental numbers are issued. Blocks of numbers were certainly issued/allocated and this is reflected in the numbers of the men in the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 11th Battalions. The 6th and 11th for example don’t seem to have any alphabetical runs of surname, but the 8th and 9th do. There are also blocks for batches of men transferred in from other units in 1915, 1916 & 1917 – in the 20,000’s and 30,000’s; two sequences of men from the Norfolk Regiment transferred in in 1915, some to the 8th are alphabetical and men transferred from the Herefords to the Lonsdales in 1916 are in two alphabetical runs.

Regards Stuart"
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Re: Alphabetical & sequential numbering system in the 8th ?

Postby joan » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:39 am

My research for the R.F.C. who were transferred to the Border regt, number were:

29545 James H Melville died 27/5/1918
29546 Charles Kirby
29550 Jesse Foster Linsley
29563 Erenest Perrin died 1/6/1918
29564 James Poole
29589 Walter Brookling Tucker died 27/5/1918
29590 Samuel Tilston died 27/5/1918
29593 John Taylor died 27/5/1918
29595 Harold W Vine died 24/5/1918
29598 Arthur William died 28/5/1918
29606 Harry Wigzell P.o.W.
29609 William Walmsley P.o.W.
29610 John Hubert Young
29611 John William C. Glen P.o.W
29613 Charles E William
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Re: Alphabetical & sequential numbering system in the 8th ?

Postby plbramham » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:09 pm

That's amazing research! Where on earth did you find it?
I assume that you have seen my earlier posting - viewtopic.php?f=125&t=1823&p=7098&hilit=colburn#p7098
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Re: Alphabetical & sequential numbering system in the 8th ?

Postby joan » Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:16 pm

Hi Paul, When I found my grandfathers war record, I got really caught up on it, I felt sad he was transferred to a strange unit after 4 year of home service, how many like others were moved with him, how many survived 27th May 1918, how many were P.o.W. I made lots of lists.

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Re: Alphabetical & sequential numbering system in the 8th ?

Postby AnnieC » Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:25 pm

I'd just like to add one more 'W' to your list, of concurrent numbers, its my Great Uncle , Calvert Wilkinson 15018 enlisted 05-09-14, Killed in action 12-04-18
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Re: Alphabetical & sequential numbering system in the 8th ?

Postby plbramham » Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:10 am

Thanks,
I was aware of that name, He is included in the Kendal Border Regiment roll of honour I created for Kendal parish church's Border Regiment chapel. I think he is also on Spikes' 8th Border Kendal Pals site?
Regards Paul
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