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Lincolnshire Military Resources

Lincolnshire Regiments prior to 1900

The Lincolnshire Regiment began as:

If the word "Egypt" appears on an ancestor's headstone on a grave in France, it means that they got it for fighting on the Nile against the French (Napoleon) in 1801. It is one of the regiment's battle honours. You may also see it represented on cap badges as the Sphinx upon a tablet which has Egypt within it.

the National Archives now has a free data base of all the men who fought at Trafalgar, including the 87 who were from Lincolnshire. Go to National Archives Trafalgar and input *Lincoln* in the place of birth box.

Trevor FLAVELL tells us: "The 84th Regiment of Foot was a local regiment raising troops in Yorkshire Lincolnshire, and also Lancashire. The regiment formed and reformed a number of times and eventually became the Yorks and Lancs Regiment."

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Lincolnshire Regiments in WW I

Although men from all over the Empire served in the Lincolnshire Regiments in World War One, a large percentage of the troops were local Lincolnshire lads. You can learn more in "The History of the Lincolnshire Regiment 1914 - 1918", a CD-ROM from The Archive CD Books Project. Officers and Men from each battalion of the regiment are listed, and the Roll of Honour section contains 89 pages.

Lincolnshire men also served in other units, both before and during WW I. In the early 1800's, many men were drawn to the 76th Regiment of Foot which became 2nd Btn. Duke of Wellington's. In 1881, that unit became the West Riding Regiment.

An Army man wounded in action who was sent home to England would likely be reassigned to another Army unit, depending on the service's needs. When reassigned, his service number would change.

Here is some information on Lincolnshire Regiments (this entire section provided by Eric Walter of Liverpool):

When the War broke out, there were eight Battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment. The 1st and 2nd were the regular Battalions and active throughout the War. The 2nd was stationed in Bermuda and did not arrive in France until 5th November 1914.

The 3rd Battalion was called the Special Battalion. It seems to have been used for training purposes and confined to duties in England and Ireland. Because of this, very little is known about its activities. A Battalion did not keep a Diary until it went overseas. The 3rd went to Ireland in the 1920's probably to give support to the Black & Tans to keep civil order. (Note: Rita Bailey advises that they were sent in 1916.)

There were two Garrison battalions. The 1st Garrison Battalion served in India and the 2nd in the United Kingdom. There was also the Depot Battalion. This was the Headquarters of the Regiment and stationed at Lincoln. It did administrative work.

Finally in the pre-War situation, there were two Territorial Battalions of the Regiment. A territorial battalion was one raised and largely financed by the local County Territorial Committee. The two in existence at August 1914 were the 4th and the 5th. The 4th recruited from the south of the County and the 5th from the north, the recruiting centre being Grimsby.

The fact of War immediately demanded the creation of new battalions. In September 1914, all County Regiments formed Second Line Territorial battalions - so the 4th became 2/4th and the 5th the 2/5th. The First Line Units never fought alongside the Second Line Units - the 1/4th and 2/4th for example were never "together". They were parts of larger units - a Brigade (which was four Battalions up to January 1918 and then three) and Division which consisted of three Brigades.

In March 1915, Third line infantry units were created - the 3/4th and 3/5th. These were training units and recuperation units. Neither as a unit went overseas - so there is no diary and very little information. When a man was fully trained or fully fit, he was transferred to one of the four active territorial units. The units were engaged in coastal defence work throughout the War - there was an obsession that the enemy would invade along the east coast. The two units were combined in late 1915/early 1916.

Another Territorial Battalion was raised in June 1915. This was initially called the 28th Provisional Battalion, but later designated 13th Lincolns. Its men were those deemed unsuitable for active service and the units spent the war carrying out agricultural duties mainly in Somerset and Essex and provided men to load and discharge ships - certainly from Ipswich to France and possibly on other routes too.

So far we have seen the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th Battalions. There were four other fighting Battalions - raised specifically for the year and ending with its end - these were the 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th. These were battalions of The New Army. The 10th was known as the Grimsby Chums (See the BritGenWeb Grimsby Roll of Honour). Sometimes, reference is made to Battalions with the 'missing' numbers - the 9th, 11th and 12th. There is some support to suggest that there were 9th and 11th Battalions: they would have been training/recuperation units for the New Army battalions. There is no definite proof of what the 12th Battalion was, if it existed. It seems that it was the designation given at some time during the War to the Lincolnshire Regiment's Labour Battalion/Labour Company. Such a battalion did exist and because it served overseas, there is a War Diary. The majority of its men seem to have been drafted in from other units when they became unsuitable for first line fighting duties: many of the men had served in other County Regiments and had no link with the County.

Steve Morse reminds us that: A number of men who were wounded ended up moving or re-enlisting in the Labour Corps. It was supposed to be non-combatant but by the amount of Gallantry awards they received, this was not always the case. A dangerous job working anywhere near the front line - gun or not.

Labour Corps - Formed in 1917. It included more than 100,000 Chinese. Disbanded 1919. Many sick, lame and lazy where put in it as well. A number of men unfit for front line duty volunteered for the Labour Corps.

Steve Morse reminds us: On Saturday, 1st July 1916, the temperature was 72 degrees F and the sky was clear. Men from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and many other Shires began their stroll across 'No Man's Land' The 1st. 8th and 10th Lincolns towards Fricourt. The 11th Sherwoods where told that lunch would be brought up to them at Mouquet (Mucky) Farm. They were decimated and the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters were part of the attack which took it late in September. The attack on Gommecourt saw the 1/5th Lincolns, 1/5th Leicesters and 139 brigade of 46th Division - the Brigade consisted of 1/5th, 1/6th, 1/7th and 1/8th Sherwood Foresters. All paid dearly for their bravery. Many Battalions of the local regiments would be thrown into the battle over the 5 months it raged. The 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters arrived in France from Egypt on 1st July 1916 but they too would suffer at Thiepval in September. The first day of the Somme saw casualties of 57,470 - 19,240 killed and 35,493 wounded. It was the bloodiest day in the British Army's history.

People forget though that the Battles of the Somme lasted another 141 days and many more thousands on all sides would die and receive wounds. The British Official historian describes the period from 15 July to 14 September as one of 'heavy losses, great hardships, and tremendous physical and moral strain' for troops of all armies.

You can also visit these resources:

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How can a man's Unit be identified?

The answer is "only by luck!" His service record - if it is available - will not state his battalion but only the regiment. If wounded, it will give the date and clues to location and by putting the two together, intelligent deductions can be drawn. Apart from this:

  1. If he went to Ireland during war time, he would have been in the 2/4th or 2/5th Lincs. If he went after the war, it would have been as part of 3rd battalion.
  2. If he went to Egypt he would have been in 1/4th or 1/5th Lincs.
  3. If he was a Territorial and lived in the South of the County, there is a +95% chance he was in the 1/4th or 2/4th: if the north - 1/5th or 2/5th.
  4. If he fought in Gallipoli, he would have been in the 6th Battalion.
  5. If his number has 6 figures and the first two are '20', he would at some stage have been in the 1/4th or 1/5th: if the first two are '24', at some stage in 2/4th or 2/5th.

There was no logic about the allocation of numbers: some numbers other than those given above can reveal the battalion - but only by comparing it with "known examples" and this can take lots of effort.

Roger Partridge tells us that the 69th Foot was also known as The South Lincolnshire Regiment, but at a later date it became the 2nd Battalion of the Welch Regiment during one of the Army's big reorganisations.

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Lincolnshire Military Monuments & Rolls of Honour

Military Monuments were erected for the Great War. When World War II ended, some communities added the names of their dead to the existing monuments or built new ones. A Roll of Honour records the names of all the men and women who served in combat or war-related duty in a community. The list is short, but visit the Roll of Honour site to see if it can help your search.

Linconshire FHS has: Lincolnshire War Memorials Volume 1 - Caistor and Market Rasen areas. Photographs of all known memorials in churches, on trees, seats, and even a house! The names in the surname list are only those of those who died, about whom a little information has been added where possible. There are therefore other names on the CD that may be on Rolls of Honour etc.

Simon Meeds has contributed the World War II letters of William A SEYMOUR whioch discuss his experiences in the RAF as he writes home to his family in Amber Hill near Boston, Lincolnshire.

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Misc. Lincolnshire Military Resources

This site has a list of men and women who served in Lincolnshire-based units up through World War One. The list is short at present, but you are welcome to add to it by contacting the site coordinator. Meanwhile, see if any names look familiar on our Military Men & Women, 1500 - 1918 page.

"THE POACHERS - the History of the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment 1685 to 1969", by David Nalson, Published by the Trustees of the Royal Lincolnshire Regimental Museum, ISBN 0-9546539-1-2 and is available soft back or hard back.

At the outbreak of the war with France in 1793 the Royal Navy had only approx. one-sixth of her warships and manpower available for service. In 1795, the Quota Acts were brought in to help achieve the number of men needed for the Navy. These Acts required the English Counties to provide a stated number of men by applying a scheme of paying a bounty to each person recruited. Here is a list of the known Lincolnshire men who wer paid the bounty.

If your ancestor was from around Grimsby, then visit these resources:

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Last updated on 24-January-2014
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