Territorial battalions numbering

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Charley Fortnum, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Very helpful, Owen - thanks.

    Would anybody be able to shed light on a tangental topic: some territorial battalions duplicated themselves during the Great War and again when the outbreak of hostilities looked inevitable in 1939. For instance, 4th Bn Essex Regiment spawned 1/4th & 2/4th and the 5th became 1/5th & 2/5th. In the First World War, there was (initially?) a distinction between them, with the '1st line' battalions being posted overseas and the '2nd line' battalions remaining at home, but this distinction (almost inevitably) broke down and people went wherever they were posted.

    I'd like to know whether there was still much (or any) of a distinction in the Second World War? In theory or in reality? Certainly, a number of 2/4th officers and men were drafted to replace casualties suffered by the 1/4th, but equally a lot of their reinforcements came from the Gloucestershire Regiment.
  2. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    No such distinction on the Second World War.

    1/4 Hamphires served in 128 Inf Bde 46 Inf Div whilst 2/4 Hampshires served with 28 Inf Bde 4 Inf Div.

    The Territorial battalions were chopped in two and rebuilt into two active service battalions.


    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Cheers, Frank.

    Give what you say, one wonders why they felt the need to retain the 'fractional' numbering system - why not simply establish a new T.A. battalion under a new number?
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Thought I'd split this from the previous topic as it can lead us elsewhere.
    4th Wilts divided to form the 5th Bn.
    Depends on the Regiment I assume as to why they numbered themselves as they did.
    Thinking of all those Queens battalions, 1/5th 1/6th 1/7th then 2/5th 2/6th & 2/7th.
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    It might have depended on the quantity of Territorial battalions. If the Wilts only had one, there was no complication in the duplicate battalion taking the next number. Same with the 3rd County of London Yeomanry begetting 4 CLY.
    Where there were multiple Territorial battalions, splitting into 1/X and 2/X maintained the local affiliations.
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  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    As Franks mentioned the Hampshires I'll add some info from David Scott Daniell's ''The Royal Hampshire Regiment 1918-1954''

    Their 4th Battalion divided in two 1/4th recruited in Andover, Winchester and Romsey with it's HQ at Winchester.
    The 2/4th recruited in Aldershot, Alton, Basingstoke , Farnborough and Cove, it's HQ at Aldershot.

    The 5/7th Bn became so full they were able to form seperate 5th & 7th Battalions.

    Their 6th Bn became gunners & formed 59th & 69th Anti-Tank Regiment RA

    The 8th Bn also became gunners.

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