Army Numbers

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Jethro, Sep 18, 2005.

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  1. Would a service number stay the same throughout a soldiers life regardless?. I have a service number for my great grandfather when he was a bombardier in WW1, would his number be the same when he got commissioned?. He was then called up in the Royal Observer Corp in WW2 would he have the same number? Any help appreciated.
  2. Probably not.

    Until a certain date (which escapes me . . .) you had a Regimental Number which changed as you changed Regiment. This was post WW1 as Grandad Bunny had a W Yorks Regt no, then a Middx Regt no as he was posted.

    It's also likely your number would change on commisioning. It does now, so I'd guess it did then.

    Kind regards


    PS you might try the PRO site


    as they have a number of useful little online guides to tracking down your ancestors.

    If you have any more info about your Gt Grandfather as a Bdr, PM me if you wish and I'll see if there is any info about his Bty in Farndale's excellent History of The Royal Regt of Artillery books dealing with the WW1 period.
  3. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    Service numbers definately changed on commisioning during WWI and that number was recommissioned
    if they served in WWII as well. However as the ROC was not part of the army role (think it was RAF IIRC) then
    he may well have received another number.

    Fluffy is right. The PRO sight will give you his service number from the RA and may have his offr number as well.
    It may take some digging around though. You need to select the medal card search and once you have found him it
    will cost £3.50 as a pdf download. Just been doing the same myself!!!

    Good luck and be patient :)
  4. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

  5. ok bit of an update, apparently when commissioned, officers did not recieve a service number as such. They had a long number for ration roll and pay. Exact dates escape me but i think it was some time in the 20s that officers were given numbers and used them from the next day. Interesting info about the ROC maybe coming under the RAF Gremlin thanks very much.

    Have PMed you battery details FluffyBunny

    Thanks very much for the help.
  6. Jethro, don't know if it's too late or irrelevant but now officers have a 6 digit number not the 8 digit OR number. You probably knew that mind.
  7. Short answer no during WW1 the number sytem was such that the number would change when transferring between regiments, their are even cases where soldier y in 1st btn of x regiment has the same number as soldier z serving in the 3rd btn of x regiment.

    This system which is quite confusing was tackled in Army Order No 338 of 1920 which allocated a block of numbers to each regiment(R.H.A/R.A. numbers were allocated 721001 to 1396000, H.A.C. and R.G.A. were both allocated seperate blocks each), which stayed with the soldier until regardless of him being transferred to another regiment (not too sure about commissions from the ranks)

    Not much help but it maybe of interest.
  8. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    In 1920 AO 338,520 and 521 dierected a single numbering system throughout the Army, numbers in blocks were allocated to regiments and Corps. 1-294,000 were allocated to the RASC. WO1 (RSM) George Redman was No. 1! He had joined as a boy in 1888 and left a few months after his number was allocated.

    Bet his pay parade didnt take long!
  9. My Grandfather served with the 7th Londons, Middlesex and Essex reg's in WW1 - and had a different regimental number for all three. I noticed on the page I got from the National Archives that most soldiers who served with two or more units got a new number when they joined.
  10. whilst we are talking about regi no's how is it possible to find the guy below me in number i have succesfully (by luck) found the guy above me. and the search goes on for the guy below me!

    stupid i know but hey iv got nothing better to do.

  11. You really don't have anything better to do ?!!

    Mine was 24442298 - there you go you can discount me and I've just narrowed the search for you a little !
  12. You really don't have anything better to do ?!!

    Mine was 24442298 - there you go you can discount me and I've just narrowed the search for you a little !
  13. I couldn't give you dates, but prior to WW2 there was a system of 'regimental numbers' so if you transfered between cap badges, or in some cases actual regiments you'd be given a new number, although, it was not always the case, as if the number suited the new unit they might decide to let you keep it. I don't believe there was any hard and fast rule.

    After that there was a system of 'army numbers' or 'service numbers' which if you remained in the army regardless of which branch you served would remain the same. Much simpler for the system and the soldier.
  14. According to a web page about REGIMENTAL NUMBERS OF THE DCLI, the change to Army numbers allocated in blocks took place in 1920.