Which regiment?

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Which regiment?

Postby Paul Bryant-Quinn » 27 Apr 2013 10:23

I'm trying to find out the name of a unit which was stationed at Cowley barracks, Oxford in 1879. Apparently it was ordered to go to Multan in the Punjab, and set sail from Britain in September or October of that year.

Can anyone help with the identification?
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Re: Which regiment?

Postby Maureene » 29 Apr 2013 05:05

Paul, you could try some of the sources mentioned in the FIBIS Fibiwiki page British Army, section “Locating a regiment”
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php?title=B ... a_regiment

The Kitzmiller data indicates the 59th, 60th, 68th and 88th Regiments of Foot were in Mooltan (Multan) in 1879, but perhaps the regiment you are interested in did not arrive until 1880, when the 85th and 88th are mentioned. How complete Kitzmiller's data is I don’t know, but you can try other sources.

Cheers
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Re: Which regiment?

Postby Paul Bryant-Quinn » 29 Apr 2013 08:11

Maureen

This is most helpful - thank you. I've absolutely no idea how long the journey to the Punjab would have taken; but I'm assuming that if this particular unit (whatever it was) did not take ship until the end of September or beginning of October, it might have been the end of the year or early 1880 before it was deployed?

Regards,

Paul
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Re: Which regiment?

Postby Frogsmile » 30 Apr 2013 22:18

In 1879 it seems that depots of the 52nd (Oxfordshire) and the 85th (Bucks Volunteers) Regiments of Light Infantry were in the barracks at Cowley. This is where men would have been trained by a cadre of training staff before being sent in groups, (known in the army as "drafts") of men to reinforce their respective regiments. At that time the 52nd were based in Aldershot but the 85th Regiment was in Lucknow, India, and in 1879 became part of the Kurram Field Force in Afghanistan. Ergo that is the regiment whose details you seek:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/85th_Regi ... unteers%29

N.B.

1. At that stage the 43rd (Monmouthshire) had not yet been paired with the 52nd and so their association with Cowley had not begun. The regiment was at Bellary in India and its depot was at Aldershot.

2. In July 1881 the 85th was retitled the 2nd Battalion of the King's Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment).

Below is a history of the barracks:

History of Cowley Barracks

Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 7 November 1874 reported on the building work for Bullingdon Barracks, as Cowley Barracks were originally known:

The site of the Barracks is about two miles and a half from Magdalen Bridge, on the high land lying to the left of Horspath road, and between it and Shotover Hill. The position is a most healthy one, and the prospect from it most extensive, embracing as it does an unbroken view of open country for about 15 miles. The space bought by Government for the buildings, drill ground, &c., covers an area of 20 acres, and cost £120 per acre.

The Barracks are being erected by Messrs. Downs, of Southwark, by Contract, for £45,000, and are to be of stone, a great quantity of which has been already brought from Charlbury. The two blocks of buildings for the accommodation of the men will be lined with bricks. The rooms will be lofty, well lighted, ventilated, and warmed. Each block will contain accommodation for 112 men, 56 on the ground floor and 56 on the storey over.

One block will be occupied by the Depôt (i.e., two Companies) of the 52nd Regiment (Oxfordshire), and the other by the Depôt of the 85th Regiment (Buckinghamshire). Besides these there will be the Officers’ Quarters, Married Soldiers’ Quarters, Canteen, Library and Recreation Rooms, Sergeants’ Mess, Orderly Room, Quartermaster’s Stores, Workshops, Straw and Coal Sheds, Hospital, Chapel, School, &c. &c. There is also (already erected) a commodious Drill Shed, for Recruits, in wet or inclement weather.

When the whole building is completed it will form a perfect garrison in itself, and have a most pleasant appearance. The Married Soldiers’ Quarters are now on the plan of the “Peabody Cottages”, and will be most comfortable and compact. The entrance to the Barracks will be through a handsome “Keep”, in which will be the “Armory”, “Guard-house”, “Prisoners’ Cells”, &c.

Although the Water Works’ Company have laid down pipes to the Barracks, there is no doubt that an ample supply of well water can be obtained in the Barracks; as, during the past exceptionally dry season, a good supply of pure water was found at a depth of less than 50 feet; this, on such an elevated position, warrants the belief that a plentiful supply can always be relied upon within Barracks, should the Water Work Company’s service be insufficient or at any time break down.

Although the contractors are under agreement to complete the buildings by September, 1875, many causes may prevent them from being able to do so, as an Engineer Officer being on the ground to superintend the erection, no work will be put up in bad weather; and should we have a severe winter, as is possible, this would of course delay the works. Even supposing the Barracks are completed by the time specified, they would then be without equipment, and as this would naturally take time to accomplish, it is hardly expected that troops would be sent into the new Barracks in mid-winter. It is thought, therefore, that the Barracks will not be permanently occupied till the spring of 1876.

The opinion of many is that, when finished, they will be the centre of a large body of troops, whereas it will be nothing of the kind; the fact is, there will be only accommodation for about 300 of all ranks, exclusive of Officers, and so these Barracks are intended merely as a Depôt, where the recruit is to be made an efficient soldier before he is drafted to the Corps for which he enlisted, there may and will be times when the Barracks will not contain more than, say, 100 men, because as soon as the men are fit to join their respective Corps, they will be drafted to them, and recruiting will then be had recourse to to fill up their places.

Young men who join the MIlitia will have the option of being trained at once at these Barracks with the regulars, or they can wait until the annual training of their Regiments takes place, when they will then be drilled with an others that may require it at Bullingdon. As a rule, the Militia will also go through their annual course of drill at these Barracks, and the Staff of it will be at all times available for duty with the regulars during the non-training seasons.

The composition of the Sub-District, of which Bullingdon Barracks will be the centre, comprises the Depôts of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiments (43rd and 52nd), as before explained, the Oxford Militia, Oxford City Volunteers, Oxford University Volunteers, Royal Bucks Militia and Bucks Volunteers, and is commanded by Colonel J. R. Sargent, C.B., an officer who has served with much distinction in China and the Crimea, where he succeeded to the command of the 95th Regiment at the battle of Inkerman, and brought that Corps out of action after doing good and arduous service.

On 15 January 1876 work was almost complete and an advertisement appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal advertising for sale the whole of the plant, surplus materials, and four cart-horses.

A number of soldiers were buried at Cowley Barracks, and crosses from the graves of soldiers who died between 1877 and 1892 have been moved to Cowley St James churchyard.

The barracks ceased to be the headquarters of the regiment in 1959, and the site today is mainly occupied by residential homes.
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Last edited by Frogsmile on 01 May 2013 09:07, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Which regiment?

Postby Paul Bryant-Quinn » 30 Apr 2013 23:24

Frogsmile:

the 52nd were based in Aldershot but the 85th Regiment was in Lucknow, India, and in 1879 became part of the Kurram Field Force in Afghanistan. Ergo that is the regiment whose details you seek

This is most helpful - thank you. From what you say, I suspect that in October '79, 'drafts' must have been sent from Cowley to reinforce the 85th in Afghanistan, yes?

Regards,

Paul
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Re: Which regiment?

Postby Frogsmile » 01 May 2013 09:10

Paul Bryant-Quinn wrote:Frogsmile:

the 52nd were based in Aldershot but the 85th Regiment was in Lucknow, India, and in 1879 became part of the Kurram Field Force in Afghanistan. Ergo that is the regiment whose details you seek

This is most helpful - thank you. From what you say, I suspect that in October '79, 'drafts' must have been sent from Cowley to reinforce the 85th in Afghanistan, yes?

Regards,

Paul


Drafts would have been sent as soon as word could be received that the regiment (in India) was placed in readiness for action and I have no doubt that within the records of the 85th Regiment you would be able to find the strength of the draft, the officer in command, its departure date and the name of the ship in which they were trooped to India.

The 85th was stationed at Lucknow, the capital of the province of Oudh (Awadh) in the winter of 1878. On October 8th a telegram was received from Army HQ directing the regiment to hold itself in readiness to proceed on active service in Afghanistan. Accordingly, on October 29th, regimental HQ under Colonel Appleyard (20 officers, 720 NCO’s and men) left by rail from Lucknow and proceeded via Bareilly and Meerut to Amballa, arriving on Nov. 1st. A Depot of 1 officer and 101 men, including the families, invalids and heavy baggage, remained at Lucknow under Captain W.Welman.

1. http://www.shropshireregimentalmuseum.c ... n-1878-81/

2. http://www.archive.org/stream/withkurra ... g_djvu.txt

3. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/

4. http://www.armymuseums.org.uk/museums/0 ... Museum.htm
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Re: Which regiment?

Postby Garen » 02 May 2013 11:19

Paul - sorry, didn't see this thread, just sent an answer to your PM concerning this.

To repeat a few details: three troopships went out in Sep with reinforcements for Afghanistan and India: Malabar, Jumna and Euphrates. Apart from some artillery on the latter two, there were no full regiments, it was all drafts of between 100 and 200+ men per regiment, with about 1200 men on each ship.

The Euphrates included a draft to join the 85th Foot, and it took about a month to travel from the UK to Bombay.

Best - Garen
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Re: Which regiment?

Postby Frogsmile » 02 May 2013 12:53

Garen wrote:Paul - sorry, didn't see this thread, just sent an answer to your PM concerning this.

To repeat a few details: three troopships went out in Sep with reinforcements for Afghanistan and India: Malabar, Jumna and Euphrates. Apart from some artillery on the latter two, there were no full regiments, it was all drafts of between 100 and 200+ men per regiment, with about 1200 men on each ship.

The Euphrates included a draft to join the 85th Foot, and it took about a month to travel from the UK to Bombay.

Best - Garen


Great stuff Garen and very interesting. I enclose two images of the Euphrates arriving at Spithead from Bombay in 1879. She was a fine looking ship. Apparently she was an iron-hulled troopship of the Euphrates class. She was designed for the transport of British troops to India, and launched in the River Mersey on 24 November 1866 by Laird Brothers of Birkenhead. She was the fourth and last Royal Navy ship to bear the name.
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Re: Which regiment?

Postby Paul Bryant-Quinn » 03 May 2013 08:54

Gentlemen, this is very helpful indeed. Would you allow me to copy the images you have posted here?

Regards,

Paul
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Re: Which regiment?

Postby Frogsmile » 03 May 2013 09:27

Paul Bryant-Quinn wrote:Gentlemen, this is very helpful indeed. Would you allow me to copy the images you have posted here?

Regards,

Paul


Paul all the images are available online via an "image search" through any of the main search engines. The colour painting of the Euphrates is from the BBC collection of art images of a military and nautical nature.
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Re: Which regiment?

Postby Peter Ewart » 03 May 2013 12:59

Paul

Supplementing the above just a little, the Euphrates left Portsmouth on 30 Sep 1879 with a draft of 164 men of the 85th Foot - no officer accompanying. The Times of that day indicates they were from Aldershot, not Cowley, but I suppose it is possible they had travelled from Cowley to Aldershot first? Five days earlier, the Jumna had sailed with Capt Welman of the 85th Foot, with other drafts embarking at Pompey & Plymouth. (The Times, 26 Sep). The previous day the Euphrates had suffered a fairly serious mishap at Portsmouth, possibly requiring repairs. (Times, 25 Sep).

As Garen says, the voyage for these troopships at that time was about a month. The Euphrates was comfortably back at Spithead in time to sail for Bombay again on Christmas Eve, carrying "additional reinforcements for Afghanistan", expecting to arrive around the 23rd January. (Times 24 Dec). Perhaps puzzlingly, in addition to the drafts embarking on this occasion was Capt Welman, 85th Foot, along with Lieuts Butcher & Sutton of the same reg't. (Welman, 85th, was also reported as arriving at Pompey in October on the Himalaya - from Malta! Perfectly possible, though). The Euphrates voyage with the 85th draft on the 30th September came just eleven days after arriving at Spithead from Durban with quite a few officers home from the AZW. (Times 20 Sep). Don't know whether it had begun this particular voyage in India or not.

Most of the reports of drafts embarking provide names and ranks of officers, details of their regiment or unit and the number in the draft, including men, women and children. Officers quite separate from the drafts were also usually named.

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Re: Which regiment?

Postby Frogsmile » 03 May 2013 16:22

Peter Ewart wrote:Paul

Supplementing the above just a little, the Euphrates left Portsmouth on 30 Sep 1879 with a draft of 164 men of the 85th Foot - no officer accompanying. The Times of that day indicates they were from Aldershot, not Cowley, but I suppose it is possible they had travelled from Cowley to Aldershot first? Five days earlier, the Jumna had sailed with Capt Welman of the 85th Foot, with other drafts embarking at Pompey & Plymouth. (The Times, 26 Sep). The previous day the Euphrates had suffered a fairly serious mishap at Portsmouth, possibly requiring repairs. (Times, 25 Sep).

As Garen says, the voyage for these troopships at that time was about a month. The Euphrates was comfortably back at Spithead in time to sail for Bombay again on Christmas Eve, carrying "additional reinforcements for Afghanistan", expecting to arrive around the 23rd January. (Times 24 Dec). Perhaps puzzlingly, in addition to the drafts embarking on this occasion was Capt Welman, 85th Foot, along with Lieuts Butcher & Sutton of the same reg't. (Welman, 85th, was also reported as arriving at Pompey in October on the Himalaya - from Malta! Perfectly possible, though). The Euphrates voyage with the 85th draft on the 30th September came just eleven days after arriving at Spithead from Durban with quite a few officers home from the AZW. (Times 20 Sep). Don't know whether it had begun this particular voyage in India or not.

Most of the reports of drafts embarking provide names and ranks of officers, details of their regiment or unit and the number in the draft, including men, women and children. Officers quite separate from the drafts were also usually named.

Peter


Interestingly a Captain Welman of the 85th was left to command the depot at Lucknow when the regiment advanced, as is mentioned in my post above ( 01 May 2013 09:10). He was presumably either the same man, or perhaps a brother.
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