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
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.