Private Albert Edward Essex enlisted as a regular soldier with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 23rd November 1903, aged 19 years three months (although according to the age on census records, this is not correct, and he would have been aged 17). His service record is available on the Find My Past website (available free of charge in any Solihull Library, with your Solihull Library Card) and shows that he went on to serve with the regiment in India and Agra. He served three years with the Colours, including terms in India and Agra. Following active service, he spent a further year in Section A, 1st Class Army Reserves. On completion of this year, he was relegated to Section B Reserves on 26 November 1907.
A typical term of service in Section B Reserve would be five years, which means that Albert’s service would have expired on 26th November 1912. However, there was also an option of extending Section B service for a further four years, moving to Section D Reserve with the same terms and conditions. Pte Albert Essex appears to have taken up this option of an extension, as his service record is stamped “Mobilised Wrexham 5 Aug 1914”, just one day after war was declared. The Long, Long Trail website has a useful summary to help understand transfers to the Reserves.