The Training Reserve

The formation of the Training Reserve

A considerable reorganisation of the reserve infantry battalions took place on 1 September 1916. Before this date, most of the infantry regiments contained one or more reserve battalions of the regular and new armies. Recruits would be posted to these battalions for basic training, before they were posted to an active service unit. With the introduction of conscription, the regimental system simply could not cope with numbers. A new structure was put into place: the Training Reserve. The local nature of recruitment for infantry regiments was abandoned and the entire system centralised.

After 1 September 1916, regimental distinctions disappeared and the reserve units of the regiments were instead redesignated as battalions of the Training Reserve. They were organised into new brigades. No Guards, Irish or Territorial battalions converted to the TR. The reorganisation did not affect affect the Special Reserve or Extra Reserve battalions of the regular army (normally the 3rd and sometimes 4th Battalions of a regiment).

The official complement of the Training Reserve was a little over 208,500 soldiers.

Men who were posted to the TR battalions were not allocated to any particular regiment when the time came for them to be posted. So from this time on it is not safe to assume that a recruit would serve with his local regiment. Later, from May 1917, this arrangement was itself altered when the units of the TR became Graduated and Young Soldier Battalions and were once again aligned with specific regiments.

Uniform and insignia

The TR units dropped the cap badges and shoulder titles of their former regiments and instead wore a large General Service button on a red disc on the cap and the letters TR as a shoulder title. The men of the three Brigades of Scottish Command (9th, 12th and 18th) wore a Glengarry rather than a service cap. The 9th Brigade wore kilts and hose. All NCOs and men wore the number of their TR Brigade on their sleeve in the form of a cloth patch. The most senior battalion wore its number in white, then the others in red, yellow, green, brown and blue in descending order. The TR shoulder titles were discontinued from June 1917 and the sleeve number in December of that year. Also the cap button was dropped and a red number of the TR battalions replaced it with regimental ones! Officers of the TR continued to wear their regimental uniform and badges.

The numbering of soldiers of the TR

Each battalion was allocated a block of 4000 numbers. The standard form for a number was "TR/the number of the District in which the Record Office of the unit was (there were 12 such Districts)/the man's unique number".

In other words, something like TR/3/12345.

Units and locations

Reserve Brigade TR Battalion Origin (was, up to end of August 1916) Location; all ditto unless shown Number prefix Became (in May 1917)
1st 1st 16th (Reserve) Bn, the Durham Light Infantry Rugeley TR/5  
  2nd 17th (Reserve) Bn, the Durham Light Infantry Rugeley TR/5  
  3rd 10th (Reserve) Bn, the North Staffordshire Regiment Rugeley TR/5 276th Graduated
  4th 11th (Reserve) Bn, the North Staffordshire Regiment Rugeley TR/5 238th Graduated
5th 10th (Reserve) Bn, the Leicestershire Regiment Rugeley TR/5 5th Young Soldier
The 1st TR Brigade also absorbed the 11th Yorkshire Regiment and the 15th Northumberland Fusiliers
2nd 6th 13th (Reserve) Bn, the West Yorkshire Regiment Rugeley TR/5 6th Young Soldier
  7th 9th (Reserve) Bn, the East Yorkshire Regiment Rugeley TR/5 7th Young Soldier
  8th 11th (Reserve) Bn, the KOYLI Rugeley TR/5 8th Young Soldier
  9th 11th (Reserve) Bn, the South Staffordshire Regiment Rugeley TR/6 277th Graduated
10th 15th (Reserve) Bn, the Yorkshire Regiment Rugeley TR/5 242nd Graduated
The 2nd TR Brigade also absorbed the 11th York & Lancaster Regiment and the 10th South Staffordshire Regiment
3rd 11th 9th (Reserve) Bn, the Lincolnshire Regiment Brocton TR/6  
12th 13th (Reserve) Bn, the Sherwood Foresters Brocton TR/6 12th Young Soldier
13th 14th (Reserve) Bn, the Sherwood Foresters Brocton TR/6 13th Young Soldier
14th 14th (Reserve) Bn, the Manchester Regiment Brocton TR/3 278th Graduated
15th 13th (Reserve) Bn, the Lancashire Fusiliers Brocton TR/3 267th Graduated
The 3rd TR Brigade also absorbed the 14th West Yorkshire Regiment and the 11th West Riding Regiment
4th 16th 11th (Reserve) Bn, the Gloucestershire Regiment Seaford TR/7  
17th 11th (Reserve) Bn, the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment Seaford TR/3 284th Graduated
18th 15th (Reserve) Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps Seaford 18th Young Soldier
19th 14th (Reserve) Bn, the Rifle Brigade Seaford 237th Graduated
20th 15th (Reserve) Bn, the Rifle Brigade Seaford 20th Young Soldier
The 4th TR Brigade also absorbed the 14th King's Royal Rifle Corps and the 10th Border Regiment
5th 21st 11th (Reserve) Bn, the East Surrey Regiment Shoreham TR/10 241st Graduated
  22nd 16th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Fusiliers Shoreham TR/10 285th Graduated
23rd 10th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Sussex Regiment Shoreham TR/10 25th Young Soldier
24th 14th (Reserve) Bn, the Middlesex Regiment Shoreham TR/10  
The 5th TR Brigade also absorbed the 9th Queen's (Royal West Surrey), 9th Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) and 15th Middlesex Regiment
6th 25th 10th (Reserve) Bn, the Norfolk Regiment Parkeston TR/9 219th Graduated
26th 10th (Reserve) Bn, the Suffolk Regiment Harwich TR/9 252nd Graduated
27th 10th (Reserve) Bn, the Bedfordshire Regiment Dovercourt TR/9 27th Young Soldier
28th 8th (Reserve) Bn, the Northamptonshire Regiment Maidstone TR/9 245th Graduated
The 6th TR Brigade also absorbed the 9th Bedfordshire and 12th Essex Regiment
7th 29th 9th (Reserve) Bn, the Buffs Dover TR/10 255th Graduated
  30th 10th (Reserve) Bn, the East Surrey Regiment Dover TR/10  
31st 14th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Fusiliers Dover TR/10  
32nd 15th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Fusiliers Dover TR/10  
8th 33rd 13th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Warwickshire Wool TR/7 206th Graduated
34th 13th (Reserve) Bn, the Hampshire Regiment Wool TR/8  
  35th 7th (Reserve) Bn, the Dorsetshire Regiment Wool TR/8  
  36th 9th (Reserve) Bn, the Ox & Bucks. Light Infantry Wareham TR/7  
  37th 9th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Berkshire Regiment Wool TR/7 210th Graduated
The 8th TR Brigade also absorbed the 12th Royal Warwickshire and 8th Wiltshire Regiment
9th 38th 11th (Reserve) Bn, the Black Watch Dunfermline TR/1 202nd Graduated
  39th 10th (Reserve) Bn, the Seaforth Highlanders Dunfermline TR/1  
  40th 8th (Reserve) Bn, the Cameron Highlanders Stirling TR/1 286th Graduated
  41st 13th (Reserve) Bn, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Dunfermline TR/1  
  42nd 11th (Reserve) Bn, the Gordon Highlanders Bridge of Allan TR/1 Young Soldier
The 9th TR Brigade also absorbed the 15th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
10th 43rd 10th (Reserve) Bn, the King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) Wareham TR/3  
44th 11th (Reserve) Bn, the Devonshire Regiment Wareham TR/8  
45th 9th (Reserve) Bn, the Somerset Light Infantry Swanage TR/8  
  46th 13th (Reserve) Bn, the Worcestershire Regiment Swanage TR/7  
  47th 10th (Reserve) Bn, the East Lancashire Regiment Wareham TR/3  
The 10th TR Brigade also absorbed the 12th Worcestershire Regiment and 9th Duke of Cornwall's Loght Infantry
11th 48th 9th (Reserve) Bn, the Shropshire Light Infantry Prees Heath TR/4  
  49th 15th (Reserve) Bn, the King's (Liverpool) Regiment Prees Heath TR/3  
50th 14th (Reserve) Bn, the Cheshire Regiment Prees Heath TR/4 225th Graduated
51st 10th (Reserve) Bn, the South Lancashire Regiment Prees Heath TR/4 229th Graduated
The 11th TR Brigade also absorbed the 16th King's (LIverpool Regiment)
12th 52nd 13th (Reserve) Bn, the Highland Light Infantry Leven TR/2  
  53rd 9th (Reserve) Bn, the King's Own Scottish Borderers Kingshorn TR/2 53rd Young Soldier
  54th 18th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Scots Kirkcaldy TR/2 201st Graduated
55th 9th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Scots Fusiliers Inverkeithing TR/2  
  56th 12th (Reserve) Bn, the Scottish Rifles Kingshorn TR/2 205th Graduated
The 12th TR Brigade also absorbed the 11th Gordon Highlanders
13th 57th 9th (Reserve) Bn, the South Wales Borderers Kinmel TR/4 282nd Graduated
58th 12th (Reserve) Bn, the Welsh Regiment Kinmel TR/4 230th Graduated
59th 13th (Reserve) Bn, the South Wales Borderers Kinmel TR/4 213th Graduated
60th 20th (Reserve) Bn (3rd Rhondda), the Welsh Regiment Kinmel TR/4 217th Graduated
61st 21st (Reserve) Bn, the Welsh Regiment Kinmel TR/4 221st Graduated
14th 62nd 12th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Kinmel TR/4 Young Soldier
63rd 18th and 20th (Reserve) Bns, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Kinmel TR/4 226th Graduated
64th 21st and 22nd (Reserve) Bns, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Kinmel TR/4 234th Graduated
65th 14th (Reserve) Bn, the South Wales Borderers Kinmel TR/4  
66th 22nd (Reserve) Bn, the Welsh Regiment Kinmel TR/4  
15th The Reserve Battalions of the Ulster Division
16th 67th 21st (Reserve) Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regiment) Altcar TR/3
68th 22nd (Reserve) Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regiment) Altcar TR/3  
69th 25th (Reserve) Bn, the Manchester Regiment Altcar TR/3  
70th 26th (Reserve) Bn, the Manchester Regiment Altcar TR/3  
  71st 27th (Reserve) Bn, the Manchester Regiment Altcar TR/3  
The 16th TR Brigade also absorbed the 13th South Lancashire Regiment
17th 72nd 21st (Reserve) Bn, the Lancashire Fusiliers Prees Heath TR/3 72nd Young Soldier
73rd 22nd (Reserve) Bn, the Lancashire Fusiliers Prees Heath TR/3  
74th 17th (Reserve) Bn, the Cheshire Regiment Prees Heath TR/4 74th Young Soldier
75th 12th (Reserve) Bn, the East Lancashire Regiment Prees Heath TR/3 233rd Graduated
  76th 12th (Reserve) Bn, the King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) Prees Heath TR/3  
The 17th TR Brigade also absorbed the 12th Border Regiment
18th 77th 18th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Scots Dundee TR/2  
  78th 19th (Reserve) Bn, the Highland Light Infantry Montrose TR/2  
  79th 20th (Reserve) Bn, the Highland Light Infantry Montrose TR/2  
19th 80th 32nd (Reserve) Bn, the Northumberland Fusiliers Newcastle TR/5  
81st 14th (Reserve) Bn, the Yorkshire Regiment Newcastle TR/6  
82nd 11th (Reserve) Bn, the Lincolnshire Regiment Newcastle TR/6  
83rd 12th (Reserve) Bn, the Leicestershire Regiment Newcastle TR/5  
The 19th TR Brigade also absorbed the 28th Northumberland Fusiliers, 19th Sherwood Foresters and 13th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
20th 84th 29th (Reserve) Bn, the Northumberland Fusiliers Hornsea TR/5 "A" Bn MGC
85th 30th (Reserve) Bn, the Northumberland Fusiliers Hornsea TR/5 "B" Bn MGC
86th 31st (Reserve) Bn, the Northumberland Fusiliers Hornsea TR/5 273rd Graduated
86th Formed when predecssor became a Grad Bn Hornsea "C" Bn MGC
  87th 21st (Reserve) Bn, the Durham Light Infantry Hornsea TR/5 "D" Bn MGC
The 20th TR Brigade also absorbed the 33rd and 34th Northumberland Fusiliers and the 13th Durham Light Infantry. By May 1917 the brigade had moved to Catterick and became dedicated to receiving recruits who would be allotted to the Machine Gun Corps. It moved again, to Clipstone, in early 1918 and was then retitled as 1st Training Brigade, Machine Gun Corps.
21st 88th 19th (Reserve) Bn, the West Yorkshire Regiment Blyth TR/5
89th 20th (Reserve) Bn, the West Yorkshire Regiment Blyth TR/5  
90th 14th (Reserve) Bn (Hull), the East Yorkshire Regiment Blyth TR/5 264th Graduated
91st 15th (Reserve) Bn, the York & Lancaster Regiment and 15th East Yorkshire Regiment Blyth TR/5 270th Graduated
The 21st TR Brigade also absorbed the 24th King's Royal Rifle Corps
22nd 92nd 17th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Warwickshire Chisledon TR/7  
  93rd 15th (Reserve) Bn, the Gloucestershire Regiment Chisledon TR/7 262nd Graduated
  94rd 16th (Reserve) Bn, the Gloucestershire Regiment Chisledon TR/7 274th Graduated
  95th 11th (Reserve) Bn, the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Chisledon TR/8 95th Young Soldier
  96th 16th (Reserve) Bn (Portsmouth), the Hampshire Regiment Chisledon TR/8  
23rd 97th 12th (Reserve) Bn, the Queens Aldershot TR/10 209th Graduated
  98th 14th (Reserve) Bn, the Essex Regiment Aldershot TR/10  
  99th 12th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal West Kents Aldershot TR/10 253rd Graduated
  100th 24th (Reserve) Bn, the Middlesex Regiment Aldershot TR/10 256th Graduated
  101st 27th (Reserve) Bn, the Middlesex Regiment Aldershot TR/10 250th Graduated
  102nd 28th (Reserve) Bn, the Middlesex Regiment Aldershot TR/10 102nd Young Soldier
The 23rd TR Brigade also absorbed the 14th Royal Sussex Regiment
24th 103rd 27th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Fusiliers Edinburgh TR/10  
104th 28th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Fusiliers Edinburgh TR/10 104th Young Soldier
105th 29th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Fusiliers Edinburgh TR/10  
106th 30th (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Fusiliers Edinburgh TR/10 259th Graduated
107th 31st (Reserve) Bn, the Royal Fusiliers Edinburgh TR/10 265th Graduated
25th not used
26th 108th 13th (Reserve) Bn (Cambridgeshire), the Suffolk Regiment Wimbledon TR/9  
109th 19th (Reserve) Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps Wimbledon  
110th 22nd (Reserve) Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps Wimbledon  
  111th 23rd (Reserve) Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps Wimbledon    
112th 17th (Reserve) Bn, the Rifle Brigade Wimbledon  
28th 113th Clipstone "E" Bn MGC
114th Clipstone "F" Bn MGC
115th Clipstone "G" Bn MGC
116th Clipstone "H" Bn MGC;
The 8th TR Brigade formed in early 1918 and was soon retitled as 2nd Training Brigade, Machine Gun Corps. The battalions were formed on 23 April (113th and 114th), 29 April (115th) and 1 June (116th) 1918 respectively.