This post will look at army service numbers issued to men joining the regular battalions of the Middlesex Regiment between 1881 (when the regiment was formed) and 1916.
From 1881 to 1900 the Middlesex Regiment comprised two regular battalions: the 1st Battalion - formerly the 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot - and the 2nd Battalion - formerly the 77th (East Middlesex) Regiment of Foot. In 1900, during the Boer War, two more regular battalions were authorised and these became the 3rd and 4th Battalions. This presented a problem for the two Middlesex Regiment Militia battalions - the Royal Elthorne Militia and the Royal East Middlesex Militia - which prior to 1900 had been the 3rd and 4th Battalions respectively. With the addition of the two new regular battalions they now became the 5th and 6th Battalions.
After the conclusion of the Boer War, the Middlesex Regiment retained its two additional battalions and therefore went to war in 1914 with four regular battalions. Three of these four battalions - the 1st, 2nd and 4th - were fighting in France before the year was out. The 3rd Battalion was stationed in India in August 1914 and didn't reach the Western Front until January 1915.
The L/ prefix was generally, but by no means uniformly used for regular Middlesex Regiment enlistments and I have omitted this prefix (where it occurs) from the list below. The data - which should be regarded as a snapshot - has been compiled as a result of looking at service records held in the WO 363 and WO 364 series at the National Archives and now accessible on-line.
In fact, there are over 74,000 Middlesex 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 Middlesex 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.
121 joined on 15th November 1881
462 joined on 20th November 1882
539 joined on 10th January 1883
888 joined on 12th January 1884
1344 joined on 29th April 1885
1735 joined on 29th April 1886
2244 joined on 6th September 1887
2356 joined on 2nd January 1888
2562 joined on 9th February 1889
3033 joined on 24th October 1890
3233 joined on 15th May 1891
3490 joined on 28th January 1892
4049 joined on 18th January 1893
4631 joined on 29th March 1894
4710 joined on 16th August 1895
4792 joined on 21st February 1896
5160 joined on 16th September 1897
5332 joined on 14th February 1898
5669 joined on 16th January 1899
6165 joined on 23rd March 1900
6865 joined on 15th January 1901
7729 joined on 30th January 1902
8326 joined on 2nd January 1903
9590 joined on 15th January 1904
10063 joined on 16th February 1905
10888 joined on 2nd January 1906
11492 joined on 12th February 1907
12137 joined on 10th March 1908
12466 joined on 26th January 1909
12818 joined on 4th January 1910
13356 joined on 30th January 1911
14082 joined on 13th May 1912
14442 joined on 29th January 1913
14821 joined on 2nd March 1914
When Britain went to war with Germany in August 1914, the Middlesex Regiment maintained the number series above for men enlisting for regular periods of service and started new number series for those men enlisting for wartime service only. It also started new series for war-time enlistments joing the 5th (Special Reserve) & 6th (Extra Reserve) Battalions which I'll deal with in future posts.
War-time only enlistments in the 11th - 15th service battalions, the 20th - 22nd Battalions, the 28th - 32nd Battalions and the 1st Garrison (Home Service) Battalion had their numbers prefixed with the letter G/ (or GS/ in some cases). Those men enlisting as regular, career soldiers, still received their numbers from the old series, prefixed with the letter L/.
L/15019 joined on 15th August 1914
L/15278 joined on 2nd December 1914
L/15371 joined on 18th February 1915
L/15446 joined on 14th March 1915
L/15449 joined on 14th April 1915
L/15680 joined on 11th May 1915
L/15807 joined on 1st June 1915
L/16013 joined on 21st July 1915
L/16079 joined on 6th August 1915
L/16314 joined on 26th October 1915
L/16315 joined on 1st December 1915
L/16433 joined on 10th February 1916
I've borrowed the image in this page from Norfolk County Council's (NCC) website. NCC notes the soldier as Private Reginald Eugene Kerridge of the 1st Middlesex. Private Kerridge's number was G/24450 indicating that although he may have served with the regular 1st Battalion, he joined up for war-time service only.
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From The Naval & Military Press:
The Die-hards in the Great War
"The ‘Die-Hards’ is the nickname of the Middlesex Regiment, earned at the battle of Albuera in the Peninsular War in May 1811. The Regiment was one of five that had four regular battalions before the outbreak of war, it also had two Special Reserve battalions (5th and 6th) and four Territorial battalions, 7th to 10th..." Click the link to read more.