Many Regiments of World War 1 owe their existence to the Cardwell Reforms (1870 – 74) which established localised County based Regiments of two Battalions.
Under the Cardwell Reforms and in particular the Regularization of the Forces Act (1871) all line infantry regiments would now consist of two battalions, sharing a Depot and recruiting area. One battalion would serve overseas, while the other was stationed at home for training.
Cardwell had also introduced the “Army Enlistment (short service) Act (1870)“, which allowed a soldier to choose to spend time in the reserves rather than the regulars and be paid 4d (2p) a day (about £2.50 today – 2022), in return for a short period of training each year although there was also an obligation to serve when called up.
Men were now able to enlist for a maximum term of twelve years. The minimum length of service varied, but on discharge a soldier would now remain with the reserves for the remainder of the twelve-year term.
The Childers Reforms of 1881 further reorganised the infantry regiments of the British Army and created a network of multi-battalion regiments. In England, Wales and Scotland. Each Regiment was to have two regular or “line” battalions and two militia battalions.
[e.g. On 1st July 1881, as part of the Childers Reforms, the 10th (North Lincoln) Regiment of Foot (raised in 1751) and the the 10th Foot (2nd Battalion) (raised by 1859) were re-designated as the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment.]
Generally speaking the Royal Navy and its associated Services were unaffected by these changes.
The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War until it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1st April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force. RAF casualties were much greater in WW2 than WW1.
Following these changes it might be expected that most of the casualties on the Ruskington Memorials would come from local Regiments. To some extent this is true in that 13 of the names on the WW1 Memorials had enlisted with the Lincolnshire Regiment, in WW1.
Conscription: Even though Lord Kitchener’s famous ‘Your Country Needs You’ campaign and Edward Stanley’s ‘Derby Scheme’ encouraged 2,466,719 men to voluntarily enlist between August 1914 and December 1915, it had become apparent to the British government that voluntary enlistment was no longer meeting the need for recruits.
The government – though adverse to the idea of conscription for fear of lowering morale – saw no viable alternative and voted to begin the process of conscription by passing the Military Service Act in March 1916. The Act specified that men from 18 to 41 years old were liable to be called up for service.
The incentive for men to voluntarily enlist was the fact that they could join their local Regiment. Conscripted men, however, would have no choice about which service, regiment or unit they joined. This may well have increased the diversity of Regiments in which Buxton men served.
In World War 2, however, only 2 of the casualties named on the Memorials had enlisted with the same, local, Lincolnshire Regiment. However, unlike World War 1, when conscription was only introduced in 1916, on the day Britain declared war on Germany, 3rd September 1939, Parliament immediately passed a more wide-reaching measure for conscription.
The numbers of casualties from each of the Regiments joined by Ruskington men can be found on the MENU BAR above under:
Using this link on the MENU BAR above you can explore which of the Ruskington’s casualties were enrolled in which Regiment or Service.