Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Alf Pateman - when did he join up?

Alfred Pateman was born in Chailey in 1889 and he was certainly in uniform before the start of the First World War. His medal index card at the National Archives indicates that he was overseas with the 4th Hussars as early as 15th August 1914; an Old Contemptible although he appears not to have claimed the bar to his 1914 Star - the "clasp and roses" so often mentioned on medal index cards of the First World War. But when did Alf enlist?

Alf Pateman's service record does not appear to have survived, but his medal index card gives his 4th Hussars number as 5506. Prior to 1907 all the line cavalry regiments numbered by regiment and so the 4th Hussars had its own series of numbers. Post Army Order 289 of December 1906 however, line cavalry were to be numbered by corps. So one number series for the Corps of Dragoons, one series for the Corps of Hussars and one series for the Corps of Lancers. I've dealt with this topic on a separate post on my Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 blog which looked at Queen's and King's Regulations for the Army. Click the link to read that post.

So the number 5506 was issued twice. Once to a 4th Hussars man when numbering was by individual regiment, and then again when numbering was by line cavalry corps. In the first case, 5506 would have been issued in about 1901 and so we can rule that date out for Alf Pateman as he would only have been about 13 years old. That means he must have joined the 4th Hussars after Army Order 289 had been published, and the number 5506 can only have been issued in the second half of April 1910. So that's when Alf joined his regiment. Fortunately, as his MIC (above) shows, the guesswork has been taken out of the equation regarding the date he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps.

The medal index card is Crown Copyright, downloaded from the Ancestry.co.uk website.

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