Regimental numbers

of the

46th (South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot,

35th Brigade,

The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry,

The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry,

1st Battalion, The Light Infantry,

and

5th Battalion, The Rifles




The following information has been compiled from information contained in John Sly's article, "Name, rank and . . ." (Medal News, September, 1991, pp. 20-21); the Muster Rolls and Pay Lists of the 46th Regiment; the "Soldiers Died" CD-ROM; the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register; "Post Second World War British Army Serial Numbers" by Stephen Pallas and Leigh Day (Journal of the Orders and Medals Research Society, Vol. XXXIX, No. 1), and with the invaluable assistance of Brian Cornelius, Irv Mortenson, Graeme Marfleet, and British Medal Forum member "john_mac", which is gratefully acknowledged. The dates of joining the regiment in the period from August, 1914 to October, 1918 are for the most part conjectural, but are believed to be reasonably accurate. It should be borne in mind that a man who joined the 46th Regiment; the 35th Brigade; or the DCLI in a particular month or year could have served for many years with another regiment prior to doing so.


From 1830 to 1856

Regimental Number   Date of issue
1 to 547   before 20/9/18331
548 to 646   before 23/10/1833
647 to 768   before 23/2/1834
769 to 853   before 8/7/1834
854 to 948   before 20/1/1835
949 to 1033   before 6/10/1835
1034 to 1179   before 15/2/1837
1180 to 1281   before 1/4/1838
1282 to 1388   before 21/4/1839
1389 to 1448   before 4/8/1839
1449 to 1541   before 17/6/1840
1542 to 1620   before 5/10/1841
1621 to 1751   before 15/12/1842
1752 to 1848   before 10/10/1843
1849 to 1951   before 7/12/1844
1952 to 2057   before 23/10/1845
2058 to 2119   before 25/2/1846
2120 to 2220   before 11/7/1846
2221 to 2352   before 11/12/1846
2353 to 2469   before 21/10/1847
2470 to 2556   before 13/11/1849
2557 to 2670   before 2/12/1851
2671 to 2769   before 26/3/1852
2770 to 2848   before 7/9/1852
2849 to 2948   before 9/6/1853
2949 to 3059   before 9/2/1854
3060 to 3151   before 5/3/1854
3152 to 3267   before 17/6/1854
3268 to 3350   before 30/6/1854
3351 to 3461   before 17/10/1854
3462 to 3553   before 16/1/1855
3554 to 3667   before 24/5/1855
3668 to 3776   before 24/6/1855
3777 to 4165   before 29/3/1856
4166 to 4207   before 12/6/1856
4208 to 4211   before 24/8/1856

At the end of the Crimean War, the establishment of the regiment was reduced to a peace-time footing, and I have found no evidence of any new numbers being issued between 23rd August, 1856 and 31st July, 1857. On 2nd October, 1856, a new sequence of regimental numbers was started for the 46th (and for all other units, throughout the Army). This sequence started from the number 1 and was in use for the next seventeen years. It was not applied retrospectively. Number 1 (Pte. Patrick Troy) appears for the first time in the Pay List for April, 1857, as already being a member of the regiment, other single-digit numbers were issued to men who transferred into the 46th at the end of July, 1857.

From 1857 to 1873

Regimental Number   Date of issue
1 to 64   before 16/1/1858
65 to 100   before 9/3/1858
101 to 212   before 22/11/1858
213 to 252   before 30/11/1858
253 to 301   before 18/12/1858
302 to 512   before 17/2/1859
513 to 547   before 3/4/1859
548 to 608   before 6/12/1860
609 to 671   before 3/2/1864
672 to 699   before 3/1/1865
700 to 745   before 13/2/1866
746 to 1079   before 3/1/1868
1080 to 1136   before 28/8/1869
1137 to 1174   before 12/8/1870
1175 to 1277   before 20/10/1870
1278 to 1325   before 26/11/1870
1326 to 1377   before 29/12/1870
1378 to 1392   before 4/2/1871
1391 to 1494   before 22/8/1872
1495 to 1523   before 19/10/1872
1524 to ????   before August, 1873

In 1873, the first of the Cardwell reforms saw the formation of "linked battalions" - creating "Brigades" or "Sub-Districts" of two battalions as a step towards amalgamation. The 46th were linked to the 32nd in Sub-District No. 35. From this date the Sub-District issued regimental numbers to both regiments from the same series, starting from number 1, but not applying the numbers retrospectively to existing soldiers. . The Muster Rolls and Pay Lists distinguish between these and Regimental numbers by the time-honoured method of adding a prefix - "32/" and "46/" for numbers issued prior to 1873, and "35B/" to those from the new sequence. Sadly, these prefixes were not always used in other documents, such as medal rolls.

From 1873 to 1881

Regimental Number   Date of issue
(35B/)1 to (35B/)52   before 22/8/1873
(35B/)53 to (35B/)101   before 6/5/1874
(35B/)102 to (35B/)166   before 30/8/1874
(35B/)167 to (35B/)253   before 12/11/1874
(35B/)254 to (35B/)300   before 28/8/1875
(35B/)301 to (35B/)403   before 30/11/1875
(35B/)404 to (35B/)482   before 12/1/1876
(35B/)483 to (35B/)515   before 20/3/1876
(35B/)516 to (35B/)551   before 4/7/1876
(35B/)552 to (35B/)570   before 10/8/1876
(35B/)571 to (35B/)659   before 6/6/1877
(35B/)660 to (35B/)747   before 8/3/1878
(35B/)748 to (35B/)965   before 28/5/1878
(35B/)966 to (35B/)1018   before 21/6/1878
(35B/)1019 to (35B/)1051   before 23/7/1878
(35B/)1052 to (35B/)1107   before 17/10/1878
(35B/)1108 to (35B/)1193   before 2/5/1879
(35B/)1194 to (35B/)1591   before 1/12/1880
(35B/)1592 to (35B/)1698   before 22/3/1881
(35B/)1699 to (35B/)????   before August, 1881

In August, 1881, the amalgamation of the 32nd and 46th Regiments was completed, with the creation of the 1st. and 2nd. Battalions, the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. This saw the introduction of another new sequence of regimental numbers, starting from number 1, again only applied to transferees and new recruits.

From 1881

Regimental Number   Date of issue
1 to 1690   before 30/1/1885
1691 to 2161   before 24/9/1886
2162 to 2183   before 22/1/1887
2183 to 2720   before 8/7/1888
2721 to 3457   before 30/8/1891
3458 to 4141   before 18/7/1893
4142 to 5368   before 2/3/1898
5369 to 6068   before 30/11/1899
6069 to 6412   before 30/7/1901
6413 to 7556   before 21/8/1903
7557 to 8330   before 14/3/1906
8331 to 8591   before 12/4/1907
8592 to 8747   before 15/7/1907
8748 to 9252   before 12/2/1909
9253 to 9278   before 19/7/1909
9279 to 9424   before 9/5/1910
9425 to 9702   before 21/1/1911
9703 to 9753   before 25/6/1911

The following numbers were issued immediately prior to and during the First World War:

First World War
         
Regimental Number First Casualty Remarks
9754 to 10250 August, 1914 Joined DCLI before August, 1914. 1st and 2nd Battalions.
10251 to 10999 September, 1914 Joined DCLI before September, 1914. About half went to the 1st Battalion, and the rest formed the core of the newly-raised (4th September) 6th Battalion.
11000 to 11999 January, 1915 Joined DCLI before September, 1914. A small number went to the 1st Battalion, and the majority of the rest were shared between the 6th and 7th Battalions, the latter being formed on 22nd September.
12000 to 12999 January, 1915 Joined DCLI before September, 1914. Shared between the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th Battalions.
13000 to 13494 February, 1915 Joined DCLI before 2nd September, 1914. Predominantly 7th Battalion, but significant numbers in 2nd Battalion.
13495 to 13999 February, 1915 Joined DCLI before 7th September, 1914. Predominantly 7th Battalion, but significant numbers in 2nd Battalion.
14000 to 14999 February, 1915 Joined DCLI before 7th September, 1914. Predominantly 7th Battalion, but significant numbers in 1st and 6th Battalions.
15000 to 15999 February, 1915 Joined DCLI before 7th September, 1914. Predominantly 7th Battalion, but significant numbers in 1st, 2nd, 6th and 8th Battalions, the last having been raised on 26th September, 1914.
16000 to 16217 February, 1915 Joined DCLI before 8th September, 1915. Predominantly 7th Battalion, but significant numbers in 1st, 2nd, 6th and 8th Battalions.
16218 to 16999 February, 1915 Joined DCLI before 21st December, 1914. Predominantly 7th Battalion, but significant numbers in 1st, 2nd, 6th and 8th Battalions.
17000 to 17397 February, 1915 Joined DCLI before 22nd December, 1914. Predominantly 1st Battalion, but significant numbers in 2nd, 6th and 7th Battalions.
17398 to 17999 February, 1915 Joined DCLI before February, 1915. Predominantly 1st Battalion, but significant numbers in 2nd, 6th and 7th Battalions.
18000 to 18624 March, 1915 Joined DCLI before 26th February, 1915. Predominantly 1st Battalion.
18625 to 18999 March, 1915 Joined DCLI before March, 1915. Predominantly 1st Battalion.
19000 to 19999 May, 1915 Joined DCLI before April, 1915. Predominantly 1st and 6th Battalions.
20000 to 20999 May, 1915 Joined DCLI before May, 1915. Predominantly transferees to 2nd Battalion from Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
21000 to 21999 July, 1915 Joined DCLI before June, 1915. Predominantly 6th Battalion, but significant numbers in 1st and 10th Battalions, the latter having been raised on 27th March.
22000 to 22308 July, 1915 Joined DCLI before 8th June, 1915. Mostly seen in men of 1st, 6th, 7th and 10th Battalions.
22309 to 22460 July, 1915 Joined DCLI before 16th June, 1915. Mostly seen in men of 1st, 6th, 7th and 10th Battalions.
22461 to 22999 July, 1915 Joined DCLI before July, 1915. Mostly seen in men of 1st, 6th, 7th and 10th Battalions.
23000 to 23999 March, 1916 Joined DCLI before February, 1916. Mostly seen in men of 1st, 6th, 7th and 10th Battalions.
24000 to 24999 April, 1916 Joined DCLI before March, 1916. Predominantly 10th Battalion, but significant numbers seen in 1st and 7th Battalions too.
25000 to 25999 April, 1916 Joined DCLI before April, 1916. Predominantly 12th Battalion, which had been raised on 23rd March.
26000 to 26999 May, 1916 Joined DCLI before May, 1916
27000 to 27212 June, 1916 Joined DCLI before 12th December, 1915. Predominantly transferees to 1st and 6th Battalions from Somerset Light Infantry.
27213 to 27999 June, 1916 Joined DCLI before June, 1916. Predominantly transferees to 1st and 6th Battalions from Somerset Light Infantry.
28000 to 28999 September, 1916 Joined DCLI before July, 1916. Predominantly 6th and 7th Battalions.2
29000 to 29999 December, 1916 Joined DCLI before August, 1916. Predominantly transferees.2
30000 to 30999 April, 1918 Joined DCLI before September, 1916. Transferees to 1st Battalion, predominantly from 61st Territorial Reserve Battalion. 2
31000 to 31999 September, 1916 Joined DCLI before September, 1916. Predominantly transferees to the 1st Battalion from Dorset Regiment.2
32000 to 32999 November, 1917 Joined DCLI before October, 1916. Predominantly transferees to 1st Battalion.2
33000 to 33999 February, 1917 Joined DCLI before November, 1916. Predominantly Cornishmen in 1st Battalion.2
34000 to 34999 December, 1916 Joined DCLI before December, 19163
35000 to 35999 April, 1917 Joined DCLI before April, 1917. Predominantly transferees to 1/4th Battalion.
36000 to 36999 December, 1917 Joined DCLI before December, 1917. Predominantly transferees to 1st and 10th Battalions.
37000 to 37999 December, 1917 Joined DCLI before December, 1917. Predominantly transferees to 1/5th Battalion from Territorial Reserve.
38000 to 38999 March, 1918 Joined DCLI before January, 1918. Predominantly transferees.
39000 to 39999 None Joined DCLI before February, 1918? No evidence that this range was ever used.
40000 to 40999 May, 1918 Joined DCLI before March, 1918. Predominantly transferees to 7th Battalion from Territorial Reserve.
41000 to 41999 April, 1918 Joined DCLI before April, 1918. Predominantly transferees to 1st Battalion from Territorial Reserve.
42000 to 42999 None Joined DCLI before May, 1918? No evidence that this range was ever used.
43000 to 43999 None Joined DCLI before June, 1918? No evidence that this range was ever used.
44000 to 44999 None Joined DCLI before June, 1918? No evidence that this range was ever used.
45000 to 45999 July, 1918 Joined DCLI before July, 1918
46000 to 46999 July, 1918 Joined DCLI before July, 1918
47000 to 47028 October, 1918 Joined DCLI before August, 1918
48000 to 48999 March, 1917 Apparently issued to 11th Battalion (raised 23/3/16; became 95th Territorial Reserve Battalion from 1/9/16). Records are cockeyed - stating "Formerly T.R." in most instances.

200001 to 200999 May, 1916 Part of sequence allocated to 4th DCLI from 1/3/17; issued to 1/4th and 2/4th DCLI. Possibly reserved for renumbering existing troops.
201000 to 201999 March, 1916 Part of sequence allocated to 4th DCLI from 1/3/17; issued to 1/4th and 2/4th DCLI. Possibly reserved for renumbering existing troops.
202000 to 202999 March, 1917 Part of sequence allocated to 4th DCLI from 1/3/17. Possibly reserved for new recruits.
         
240001 to 240999 January, 1917 Part of sequence allocated to 5th DCLI from 1/3/17; issued to 1/5th DCLI. Possibly reserved for renumbering existing troops.
241000 to 241999 May, 1917 Part of sequence allocated to 5th DCLI from 1/3/17; issued to 1/5th DCLI. Possibly reserved for new recruits.
         
260000 to 260999 August, 1915 Part of sequence allocated to 5th DCLI from 1/3/17, but mostly seem to have been issued to transferees from the Hampshire Regiment to the 6th DCLI.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion (Royal Cornwall Rangers Militia)
         
Regimental Number First Casualty Remarks
3/3251 to 3/5852 August, 1914 Joined 3/DCLI before 30th August, 1914

Trying to make sense of the allocation of regimental number blocks to specific battalions during the First World War is not easy. The following general statements are, however, believed to be true:

The DCLI started a new numbering sequence on the 1st March, 1919, with a zero prefix to one-, two-, three-, and four-digit numbers (e.g. the first number recorded is 08; the next number after 0999 was 01000; the last number recorded is 02491). These numbers applied to new recruits, and transferees only.

From 1919 to 1920

Regimental Number   Date of issue
08 to 02491   between 1/3/1919 and 1920

This sequence was made obsolete by the introduction of Army Numbers in 1920, when numbers in the range 5429001 to 5485000 were allocated to the DCLI; these were applied retrospectively and to new recruits. This number stayed with the soldier throughout his career, regardless of any transfers between units.

From 1920 to c. 19484

Army Number   Date of issue
5429001 to 5432458   between 1920 and May, 1922
5432459 to 5435561   between May, 1922, and Feb, 1931
5435561 to 5438399   between Feb, 1931, and May, 1939
5438400 to 5445187   between May, 1939, and Jan, 1942
5445188 to 5485000   between Jan, 1942, and c. 1948

In September, 1943, enlistments directly into the DCLI ceased, with all new recruits being enrolled in a "General Service Corps". Members of the General Service Corps were issued 8-digit service numbers from the block of numbers between 14200001 and 15000000. After training, men were posted to all units in the Army, including the DCLI. (The number 14905178 is known to have been issued to a General Service Corps enlistee who earned a War Medal and a General Service Medal with clasp for Palestine, 1945-48, with the DCLI.) The block of numbers from 15000001 to 15005000 was used for local enlistments in India into British Corps and Regiments. A second series of numbers, beginning with 19000001, was used from early in 1946 until in 1948.

From September, 1943 to c. 1948

Army Number   Date of issue
14000001 to 15000000   between September, 1943 and c. 1946
15000001 to 15005000   enlistments in India between September, 1943 and c. 1946
19000001 to 19200000   between c. 1946 and c. 1948

In 1948, the Army finally did away with numbers specific to units, and introduced a single sequence for all new recruits, (to both Regular and Territorial Army), commencing with 22000000. Again, this number stuck with the soldier throughout his time in the Army, and did not change on transferring between units. Fuller details are contained in Pallas and Day (op. cit.).

On 9th June, 1950, the 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, were formally amalgamated as 1st Battalion, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

On 6th October, 1959, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry was amalgamated with the Somerset Light Infantry, with 1/DCLI at Osnabruck turning into 1st Battalion, Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry.

On 10th July, 1968, the single-battalion (ignoring TA) Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry was amalgamated with KOYLI, KSLI and DLI, and became 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry.

From c. 1948 to c. 1985

Army Number   Date of issue
22000000 to 22199408   before October, 1950
22199409 to 23188252   before October, 1955
23188253 to 23845071   before October, 1960
23845072 to 24057159   before April, 1965
24057160 to 24182226   before April, 1969
24182227 to 24369281   before September, 1975
24369282 to 24589195   before September, 1980
24589196 to 24753060   before end 1985

As with most things military, things then start to get a bit more complicated (and, in fact, it is probable that they had been rather complicated for quite some time past). It appears that numbers began to be allocated in blocks again (see WWI period, above), and that some blocks were issued faster than others. From about 1986, the following is believed to be broadly the case:

From c. 1986 to 2005   
Army Number Block  Date of issue
24720000-24729999  1986
24730000-24739999  1985 to 1986
24740000-24749999  1985
24750000-24759999  1985 to 1986
24760000-24769999  1986
24770000-24779999  1986 to 1988
24780000-24789999  1986
24790000-24799999  1987
24800000-24809999  1987 to 1988
24810000-24819999  1988
24820000-24829999  1988
24830000-24839999  1988 to 1989
24840000-24849999  1988
24850000-24859999  1988
24860000-24869999  1989
24870000-24879999  1989
24880000-24889999  1988 to 1990
24890000-24899999  1991
24900000-24909999  1990
24910000-24919999  1990
24920000-24929999  1991
24930000-24939999  1993
24940000-24949999  1995
24950000-24959999  1993
24960000-24969999  1995
24970000-24979999  1997
25000000-25009999  1991
25010000-25019999  1992
25020000-25029999  1993
25030000-25039999  1994
25050000-25059999  1996
25070000-25079999  1997
25080000-25089999  1997 to 1998
25110000-25119999  1999
25130000-25139999  2001
25170000-25179999   2003
25200000-25209999  2004 to 2005

In 2006, yet another new sequence of numbers was introduced, this time a nine-digit number beginning with 3; it applied to all new enlistments into any of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom.

On 1st February, 2007, the 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry, became 5th Battalion, The Rifles.

From 2006 to date

Armed Forces Number   Date of issue
300000000 to ????????   still being issued


Notes:

  1. The 46th Regiment returned from India in August and September, 1833, having left over 250 men behind; these men had transferred to other regiments stationed in India rather than return home with the 46th. This left the regiment with approximately 500 men in the Service Companies, and about 50-100 men at the Depot. It would seem likely that Regimental Numbers were not allocated until the Regiment arrived in England. As can be seen from the speed at which numbers were issued, recruiting was brisk in 1833-34, as the Regiment brought itself back up to strength.

  2. The regimental numbers from 28601 to 33600 appear in the regimental Attestation records as a group under the heading of "Allotted to Records by phone, 3rd August 1916". Adjacent blocks were called into use at wildly differing times. For example, men in the first half of the 32XXX sequence became casualties during late 1917 and throughout 1918, and may be presumed to have joined the regiment in 1917, yet numbers from the second half of the sequence were issued to men who transferred from the 9th Devons to the DCLI on 1st March, 1919.

  3. One man (Pte. James Gilbert) who bears a 34XXX number is shown as having died in February, 1915. This datum is so odd, and so clearly fails to fit any pattern that it has been excluded from the above tabulation, on the assumption that it is a transcription error.

  4. It is believed that Boy soldiers who enlisted directly into the DCLI in the late 1940s were issued numbers from the pre-war DCLI sequence.



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