278,232 Pages

The British Army First World War reserve brigades. At the start of the First World War British Army volunteers in the vast majority of cases joined their local infantry regiments reserve battalion.

In 1916 when conscription was first introduced for the British Army, the existing regimental system could not cope with the large influx of recruits. By January 1916, when conscription was introduced, 2.6 million men had already volunteered for service, a further 2.3 million were conscripted before the end of the war; by the end of 1918, the army had reached its peak strength of four million men. To train the recruits from 1916 onwards twenty-six reserve brigades were raised, with an official complement of over 208,500 soldiers.

Background[edit | edit source]

In August 1914, 300,000 men had signed up to fight, and another 450,000 had joined-up by the end of September.[1] Recruitment remained fairly steady through 1914 and early 1915, but it fell dramatically during the later years, especially after the Somme campaign, which resulted in 360,000 casualties.[2] A prominent feature of the early months of volunteering was the formation of Pals battalions.[3] Many of these pals who had lived and worked together, joined up and trained together and were allocated to the same units. The policy of drawing recruits from amongst the local population ensured that, when the Pals battalions suffered casualties, whole towns, villages, neighbourhoods and communities back in Britain were to suffer disproportionate losses. With the introduction of conscription in January 1916, no further Pals battalions were raised.[4] Conscription for single men was introduced in January 1916. Four months later, in May 1916, it was extended to all men aged 18 to 41.[5] The Military Service Act March 1916 specified that men from the ages of 18 to 41 were liable to be called up for service in the army, unless they were married (or widowed with children), or served in one of a number of reserved occupations, which were usually industrial but which also included clergymen and teachers. This legislation did not apply to Ireland, despite its then status as part of the United Kingdom (but see Conscription Crisis of 1918).[6] By January 1916, when conscription was introduced, 2.6 million men had volunteered for service, a further 2.3 million were conscripted before the end of the war; by the end of 1918, the army had reached its peak strength of four million men.[4]

Reserve Brigades[edit | edit source]

At the start of the First World War, most British Army infantry regiments had their own reserve battalions. After conscription was introduced from the 1 September 1916 onwards, the reserve infantry battalion were reorganised. The previous regimental system simply could not cope with the influx of recruits and a centralised training and reserve system was introduced.[7]

The reserve battalions still kept their regimental affiliations, cap badges and accoutrements, until 1 September 1916, when the regimental distinctions disappeared and the battalions were re-designated as the 1st to 116th reserve battalion in one of twenty-six reserve brigades. The Training Reserve had an official complement of 208,500 soldiers.[7]

Another consequence of the centralised training system, was when recruits were posted to an battalion on active service, they would be sent to where there was a vacancy and not his local regiment. This system lasted until May 1917, when the reserve battalions were once again affiliated with a particular regiment and became known as graduated or young soldier battalions of their regiment.[7]

List of brigades[edit | edit source]

Original regiment[7][8][9][10] Reserve
1st Reserve Brigade 16th (Reserve) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry      1st
17th (Reserve) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry      2nd
10th (Reserve) Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment      3rd
11th (Reserve) Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment      4th
10th (Reserve) Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment      5th
2nd Reserve Brigade 13th (Reserve) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment      6th
9th (Reserve) Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment      7th
11th (Reserve) Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry      8th
11th (Reserve) Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment      9th
15th (Reserve) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment      10th
3rd Reserve Brigade 9th (Reserve) Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment      11th
13th (Reserve) Battalion, Sherwood Foresters      12th
4th (Reserve) Battalion, Sherwood Foresters      13th
14th (Reserve) Battalion, Manchester Regiment      14th
13th (Reserve) Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers      15th
4th Reserve Brigade 11th (Reserve) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment      16th
11th (Reserve) Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment      17th
15th (Reserve) Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps      18th
14th (Reserve) Battalion, Rifle Brigade      19th
15th (Reserve) Battalion, Rifle Brigade      20th
5th Reserve Brigade 11th (Reserve) Battalion, East Surrey Regiment      21st
16th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers      22nd
10th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment      23rd
14th (Reserve) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment      24th
6th Reserve Brigade 10th (Reserve) Battalion, Norfolk Regiment      25th
10th (Reserve) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment      26th
10th (Reserve) Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment      27th
8th (Reserve) Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment      28th
7th Reserve Brigade 9th (Reserve) Battalion, Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)      29th
10th (Reserve) Battalion, East Surrey Regiment      30th
14th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers      31st
15th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers      32nd
8th Reserve Brigade 13th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment      33rd
13th (Reserve) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment      34th
7th (Reserve) Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment      35th
9th (Reserve) Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry      36th
9th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment      37th
9th Reserve Brigade 11th (Reserve) Battalion, Black Watch      38th
10th (Reserve) Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders      39th
8th (Reserve) Battalion, Cameron Highlanders      40th
13th (Reserve) Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders      41st
11th (Reserve) Battalion, Gordon Highlanders      42nd
10th Reserve Brigade 10th (Reserve) Battalion, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)      43rd
11th (Reserve) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment      44th
9th (Reserve) Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry      45th
13th (Reserve) Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment      46th
10th (Reserve) Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment      47th
11th Reserve Brigade 9th (Reserve) Battalion, Shropshire Light Infantry      48th
15th (Reserve) Battalion, King's (Liverpool) Regiment      49th
14th (Reserve) Battalion, Cheshire Regiment      50th
10th (Reserve) Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment      51st
12th Reserve Brigade 13th (Reserve) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry      52nd
9th (Reserve) Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers      53rd
18th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Scots      54th
9th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers      55th
12th (Reserve) Battalion, Scottish Rifles      56th
13th Reserve Brigade 9th (Reserve) Battalion, South Wales Borderers      57th
12th (Reserve) Battalion, Welsh Regiment      58th
13th (Reserve) Battalion, South Wales Borderers      59th
20th (Reserve) Battalion (3rd Rhondda), Welsh Regiment      60th
21st (Reserve) Battalion, Welsh Regiment      61st
14th Reserve Brigade 12th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers      62nd
18th and 20th (Reserve) Battalions, Royal Welsh Fusiliers      63rd
21st and 22nd (Reserve) Battalions, Royal Welsh Fusiliers      64th
14th (Reserve) Battalion, South Wales Borderers      65th
22nd (Reserve) Battalion, the Welsh Regiment      66th
15th Reserve Brigade 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers      –
4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers      –
3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles      –
4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles      –
5th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles      –
3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers      –
4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers      –
16th Reserve Brigade 21st (Reserve) Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment)      67th
22nd (Reserve) Battalion, the King's (Liverpool Regiment)      68th
25th (Reserve) Battalion, Manchester Regiment      69th
26th (Reserve) Battalion, Manchester Regiment      70th
27th (Reserve) Battalion, the Manchester Regiment      71st
17th Reserve Brigade 21st (Reserve) Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers      72nd
22nd (Reserve) Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers      73rd
17th (Reserve) Battalion, Cheshire Regiment      74th
12th (Reserve) Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment      75th
12th (Reserve) Battalion, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)      76th
18th Reserve Brigade 18th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Scots      77th
19th (Reserve) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry      78th
20th (Reserve) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry      79th
19th Reserve Brigade 32nd (Reserve) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers      80th
14th (Reserve) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment      81st
11th (Reserve) Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment      82nd
12th (Reserve) Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment      83rd
20th Reserve Brigade 29th (Reserve) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers
re-designated "A" Battalion Machine Gun Corps
30th (Reserve) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers
re-designated "B" Battalion Machine Gun Corps
31st (Reserve) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers
re-designated "C" Battalion Machine Gun Corps
21st (Reserve) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry
re-designated "D" Battalion Machine Gun Corps
21st Reserve Brigade 19th (Reserve) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment      88th
20th (Reserve) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment      89th
14th (Reserve) Battalion (Hull), East Yorkshire Regiment      90th
15th (Reserve) Battalions, York & Lancaster Regiment and East Yorkshire Regiment      91st
22nd Reserve Brigade 17th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment      92nd
15th (Reserve) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment      93rd
16th (Reserve) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment      94th
11th (Reserve) Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry      95th
16th (Reserve) Battalion, (Portsmouth), Hampshire Regiment      96th
23rd Reserve Brigade 12th (Reserve) Battalion, Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)      97th
14th (Reserve) Battalion, Essex Regiment      98th
12th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal West Kents      99th
24th (Reserve) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment      100th
27th (Reserve) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment      101st
28th (Reserve) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment      102nd
24th Reserve Brigade 27th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers      103rd
28th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers      104th
9th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers      105th
30th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers      106th
31st (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers      107th
26th Reserve Brigade 13th (Reserve) Battalion (Cambridgeshire), Suffolk Regiment      108th
19th (Reserve) Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps      109th
22nd (Reserve) Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps      110th
23rd (Reserve) Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps      111th
17th (Reserve) Battalion, Rifle Brigade      112th
28th Reserve Brigade "E" Battalion Machine Gun Corps      113th
"F" Battalion Machine Gun Corps      114th
"G" Battalion Machine Gun Corps      115th
"H" Battalion Machine Gun Corps      116th

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Chandler, (2001) p. 11
  2. "Battle of the Somme". New Zealand History online. http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/the-battle-of-the-somme/overview. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  3. "The Pals Battalions in World War One". BBC History. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/britain_wwone/pals_01.shtml. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Tucker & Roberts (2005), p. 504
  5. Strachen, Hugh Professor. "Britain and World War One, 1901–1918". BBC History. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/britain_wwone/overview_britain_ww1_07.shtml. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  6. Simkin, John. "Pacifism". Spartacus Educational. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWpacifists.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Baker, Chris. "Training Reserve Battalions". The Long Long Trail. http://www.1914-1918.net/training_reserve.htm. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  8. Baker, Chris. "Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers". The Long Long Trail. http://www.1914-1918.net/skins.htm. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  9. Baker, Chris. "Royal Irish Rifles". The Long Long Trail. http://www.1914-1918.net/ririfles.htm. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  10. Baker, Chris. "Royal Irish Fusiliers". The Long Long Trail. http://www.1914-1918.net/rifus.htm. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Chandler, Malcolm (2001). The Home Front, 1914–18. Heinemann. ISBN 0-435-32729-1.
  • Tucker, Spencer; Roberts, Priscilla Mary (2005). World War I: encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-420-2.

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.