This post will look at regimental numbering in the Cheshire Regiment which was formed on 1st July 1881 from the 22nd (the Cheshire) Regiment of Foot.
There are over 63,000 Cheshire Regiment service and pension records (for this regiment - and its antecedents) in various War Office series held at the National Archives. Clicking on the link will take you to the results on Findmypast but you will need a subscription or Pay-Per-View credits to actually view the records. Some of these records can also be viewed on-line on Ancestry although Findmypast has by far the most comprehensive service record collection.
Use the regimental numbers and dates on which these were issued, below, to determine parameters for when your own Cheshire Regiment ancestor would have joined up. Note though that these numbers are only for regular enlistments. Special Reserve and Territorial Force battalions operated completely separate regimental number sequences. George Henry Byrom (pictured above) was a Cheshire Regiment Special Reservist captured in 1914. You can read more about him by clicking on his name.
The newly formed regiment was established as the county regiment for Cheshire and started numbering from 1 in 1881.
24 joined on 31st October 1881
73 joined on 20th January 1882
396 joined on 17th January 1883
984 joined on 11th January 1884
1391 joined on 5th January 1885
2165 joined on 1st February 1886
2498 joined on 12th January 1887
2617 joined on 26th November 1888
2675 joined on 1st July 1889
2868 joined on 15th January 1890
3277 joined on 7th March 1891
3562 joined on 6th January 1892
4224 joined on 7th April 1893
4629 joined on 13th February 1894
5041 joined on 9th April 1895
5204 joined on 8th February 1896
5394 joined on 15th February 1897
5669 joined on 22nd February 1898
6158 joined on 20th February 1899
6443 joined on 1st November 1900
During the South African War, The Cheshire Regiment raised three volunteer service companies. Men joining these companies were issued with numbers in the following ranges:
1st VSC: numbers within the range 7330 to 7526
2nd VSC: numbers within the range 7447 to 7578
3rd VSC: numbers within the range 7765 to 7780
On 17th February 1900, the 1st VSC comprising three officers – Captain S Thornley, Lieutenant J Bates and Lieutenant J S Craig – and 113 men, embarked for South Africa aboard SS Gascon.
6488 joined on 7th February 1901
6772 joined on 19th February 1902
7084 joined on 5th February 1903
7419 joined on 22nd February 1904
7868 joined on 7th February 1905
8099 joined on 11th January 1906
8232 joined on 21st January 1907
8850 joined on 8th January 1908
9170 joined on 16th February 1909
9408 joined on 7th February 1910
9658 joined on 27th June 1911
10002 joined on 26th November 1912
10103 joined on 27th May 1913
10523 joined on 3rd May 1914
The First World War
When Britain went to war in August 1914, men joining the new service battalions were issued with numbers from the same series in use by the two regular battalions.
Recruitment rates 1881-1911
Between 1st July 1881 and 7th March 1891, The Cheshire Regiment recruited 3,277 men, an average of 336 soldiers a year. Although still well below the national average for the decade, this was nevertheless to be the regiment’s best showing.
By 7th February 1901, the regiment had enlisted its 6,488th recruit and could claim an average recruitment rate for the decade of 324 men. A little over ten years later and the average recruitment rate had dropped again, this time to 307 men per annum. In total, between 1st July 1881 and 27th June 1911, The Cheshire Regiment recruited 9,658 men, well below the national average (353) at 322 men a year.
1st Battalion stations 1881-1914
1914 France & Flanders (from August)
2nd Battalion stations 1881-1915
1899 South Africa
1909 Schwebo (Burma)
1915 France & Flanders (from January)
I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.
The History of the Cheshire Regiment in the Great War
The Cheshire Regiment - The First Battalion at Mons and the Miniature Colour
Cheshire Bantams - 15th, 16th & 17th Battalions, The Cheshire Regiment
War Record of the 1/5th (Earl of Chester's) Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment, August 1914 - June 1919