Regimental Numbers and the Expansion of British Infantry Regiments in 1914

This article will look at the expansion of British infantry regiments in 1914 and the effect that this had on the numbering series already in use at the time.

Typically in 1914, a British infantry regiment might consist of two ‘regular’ battalions of career soldiers, a 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, and perhaps one or more Territorial Force battalions. In general terms, men joining Special Reserve signed up for six years’ service and immediately underwent six months’ training with the obligation to complete a further three to four weeks’ training every year thereafter. Similarly, men joining the Territorial Force, signed on for up to four years’ home or Territorial service only.

They would generally meet up every Saturday night (hence the term, ‘Saturday Night soldiers’) and would attend a two week training camp every July or August. Men joining the Territorial Force were not obliged to serve overseas but could volunteer to do so by taking an Imperial Service obligation.

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