In which Battalion did he serve?

Unit records

Wartime regiments are comprised of battalions of about a thousand men that would serve in different locations. If you want to find out what a soldier's unit did, you need to know which battalion he served with.

First World War

Forty-nine battalions of the King's Liverpool Regiment were in existence during the First World War. Your relative is likely to have been in one of three basic types: Regular, Territorial or New Army.

Regular 1st, 2nd, 3rd (Reserve) & 4th (Extra Reserve)

The Reserve Battalions were made up from recalled Reservists. The 1st Battalion served in France from 4 August 1914, and the 4th from 6 March 1915. The 2nd Battalion remained in India throughout the War, while the 3rd Battalion remained in the UK.

Territorial

Six Territorial Battalions existed before the outbreak of the First World War: 5th, 6th Liverpool Rifles, 7th, 8th Liverpool Irish, 9th, and 10th Liverpool Scottish. In 1914 these battalions accepted new recruits to expand to war strength. In September and October 1914 they formed new second line battalions which were numbered 2/5th, 2/6th etc; the original first line battalions became 1/5th etc. The first line battalions went to France in late 1914 and early 1915, while the second line battalions went to France in February 1917. Third line battalions, 3/5th etc, were formed in May 1915 and remained in the UK.

New Army

The New Armies were the result of Lord Kitchener's appeals for mass voluntary recruiting in 1914-15 and were known as 'Kitchener' or 'Service' Battalions. The 11th - 14th (Service) Battalions were formed between August and October 1914 and went to France between May and September 1915, with the 15th and 16th as Reserve Battalions which did not go to France. The four famous Liverpool Pals Battalions, numbered 17th - 20th Battalions, were recruited between August and October 1914 by Lord Derby and went to France in November 1915. Generally speaking, blue-collar workers joined the 11th - 16th Battalions while white-collar workers, especially the shipping, insurance and brokerage clerks, joined the Pals, 17th - 20th Battalions.

A soldier's battalion can sometimes be deduced from the rim of gallantry medals (DCM, MM) where it will be expressed, for example as '6/LIVERPOOL'. Photographs and surviving badges may also indicate the battalion. Territorials all wore badges distinct from the Regular and New Army battalions. If the badge is the standard horse of Hanover over a scroll, but in white metal, then he was in the 7th or 9th Battalions. If it is in black, he was in the 5th Bn. The Liverpool Rifles (1/6th & 2/6th Bns), Liverpool Irish (1/8th & 2/8th Bns) and Liverpool Scottish (1/10th & 2/10th Bns) all wore their own distinct badges. The Liverpool Pals (17th - 20th Bns) wore the 'eagle & child' crest of Lord Derby.

Second World War

Accounts of the activities of the battalions during the Second World War are found in JJ Burke-Gaffney, 'The Story of the King's Regiment (Liverpool) 1914-48', (1954).

  • 1st Battalion took part in the 2nd Chindit Operation in Burma, 1944
  • 2nd Battalion served in Italy from 1944
  • 5th Battalion landed in Normandy on D-Day in 1944. It was then reconstituted as part of Technical Force and took part in the advance into Germany
  • 8th Battalion landed in Normandy on D-Day and was disbanded in July 1944
  • 13th Battalion took part in the first Chindit Operation in Burma in 1943