RHA Furlough

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RHA Furlough

Postby susancammas » 23 Feb 2017 19:38

Good evening

My grandfather's (RHA) Military History sheet shows that he:

"arrived home on furlough 11th March 1908 ex-Dongola" and he
"Re-embkt for India on exp of furlo per Rewa 16th October 1908"


He had enlisted in February 1900 and had been in India since January 1902.
He was promoted to Sergeant on 27th March 1908 (while on leave?)

This furlough seems to be very long - I had no idea that the Army could be so generous!
Was this in any way to do with the fact that he had been in India for 6 years and the Cardwell 1870 reforms stipulated that:
[i] " the length of service overseas was limited to six years followed by six years in the reserve".

Could he have perhaps done some courses while on furlough (cf the promotion) which would have extended his time in GB?

I'm rather puzzled - could the experts throw some light on this mystery?

Many thanks
Susan
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Re: RHA Furlough

Postby Frogsmile » 24 Feb 2017 00:14

Regular soldiers were entitled to a grant of home leave once they had completed a set period of service, Susan. If serving abroad ("foreign service") time to travel home and back by ship was added and the total period was titled "furlough" (known colloquially as "long leave").

Furlough was distinguished from shorter periods of leave of absence that could also be granted, but taken locally, although it was a privilege, had to be earned and was awarded only sparingly.

During that period and especially in the more technical arms, advancement in rank was still predominantly by time served, tempered by merit, rather than the other way around later introduced as a part of reforms to the system of promotion.
Last edited by Frogsmile on 26 Feb 2017 02:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RHA Furlough

Postby susancammas » 25 Feb 2017 19:29

Thanks again Frogsmile!

I quite get the picture about the definition of “furlough”, but I still think that the army was very generous! If I understand the notes on his file my grandfather arrived in UK on 11th March 1908 and left to return to India on 16th October.
This means he was actually in UK for SEVEN months!! If you add a generous 4 weeks at either end for travelling, he was away from his station for 9 months!

Kind regards
Susan
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Re: RHA Furlough

Postby Frogsmile » 26 Feb 2017 02:11

susancammas wrote:Thanks again Frogsmile!

I quite get the picture about the definition of “furlough”, but I still think that the army was very generous! If I understand the notes on his file my grandfather arrived in UK on 11th March 1908 and left to return to India on 16th October.
This means he was actually in UK for SEVEN months!! If you add a generous 4 weeks at either end for travelling, he was away from his station for 9 months!

Kind regards
Susan


That is why it was called 'long leave', Susan, and traditionally it was used to visit family, perhaps get married if single (frequently with a rapid courtship) and generally carry out any personal administrative affairs. It was also in effect a form of reward for service rendered.
Interestingly, because of a 1947 Tri-partite agreement with India and Nepal, it remained in the terms and conditions of British Army Gurkhas until they achieved parity of pay and pensions with British soldiers in the 1990s.
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