Essex Reg in India 1896-97

For all discussions regarding military actions short of war and the Great Game on the North West frontier of India, 1837-1901.

Essex Reg in India 1896-97

Postby stuwismulGen » 15 Jun 2015 03:22

Not sure if this counts as NW Frontier- apologies in advance if it shoul be under the general Army
Seeking assistance filling in the gaps about an ancestor who served in the 2nd Btn Essex in India 1896-97 before being medically discharged. Could anyone fill me in on what the Btn might have been up to in Lucknow at this time and what a Private might have been required to do.
Recommendations of readings would be greatly appreciated.
Kind regards
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Re: Essex Reg in India 1896-97

Postby Frogsmile » 15 Jun 2015 10:51

stuwismulGen wrote:Not sure if this counts as NW Frontier- apologies in advance if it shoul be under the general Army
Seeking assistance filling in the gaps about an ancestor who served in the 2nd Btn Essex in India 1896-97 before being medically discharged. Could anyone fill me in on what the Btn might have been up to in Lucknow at this time and what a Private might have been required to do.
Recommendations of readings would be greatly appreciated.
Kind regards


The best of only a very few accounts by a soldier of that approximate period serving in India is 'Old Soldier Sahib', by Private Frank Richards DCM MM, of 2 RWF (ISBN: 9781843425588). Generally considered a classic, it has been re-printed several times and so also has the merit of being relatively easily obtainable.

Probably the best collection of writings on the British Army accessible at one easy point is here: http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/British_Army

It will give you weeks of reading if you use all of the links and there is much to find as you scroll down, with many references at the bottom of the page.
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Re: Essex Reg in India 1896-97

Postby stuwismulGen » 15 Jun 2015 13:17

Big Thanks for that Frogsmile I've sourced two library copies down here (and an audio book by the looks of it ), as well as one on Naval and Military Press so that, along with the website, should keep me entertained for a while.

many regards
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Re: Essex Reg in India 1896-97

Postby Maureene » 16 Jun 2015 15:10

Although a different regiment, there are some online editions of the Rifle Brigade Chronicle available for the period you are interested in, for Rifle Brigade Battalions in India, which may give an indication.

The online links are available on the FIBIS Fibiwiki page "The Rifle Brigade"
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/The_Rifle_Brigade

I get the impression that if the men were involved in garrison duties only they in fact did not seem to do very much. They had drill and training exercises, may have had some intermittent sentry duties, but apart from that seemed to have a great deal of spare time. Sports (football etc) seemed to play quite a large part for some men. The following photograph shows a knitting group.

Photograph: The Knitting Circle (1907-1908) Leisure Pursuits
48th Regiment, later the 1st Battalion,The Northamptonshire Regiment
https://www.flickr.com/photos/northampt ... 077907120/

During the heat of the summer, regiments often went to the hills where it was cooler. The FIBIS Fibiwiki has a page
Hill station cantonments and camps, which lists the major cantonments in the hills. http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Hill_st ... _and_camps
Possibly from Lucknow, all or part of the regiment may have gone to Chakrata, or other cantonments in the general vicinity, but this is only an estimate.

Cheers
Maureen
Last edited by Maureene on 17 Jun 2015 22:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Essex Reg in India 1896-97

Postby stuwismulGen » 17 Jun 2015 14:52

Thank you for that Maureen I’ve only recently become aware of wiki.fibis.org and I’ll certainly be following it up- I’ve become resigned to reading around my topic/ ancestor to fill in the picture, but it has to be done if I want more than a shadowy wisp down the ages. The Essex Regiment didn’t seem to be engaged in much full-on policing in this period – lucky given the stuff that had been going on in the proceeding yrs.
I’ll be interested to see what discipline was like during these quieter periods though. I imagine there was more opportunity to get into trouble - though my ancestor seems to have spent more time in the base hospital than on detention!

I find it fascinating that I didn’t apply myself half as much when I was younger …. and needed the marks!!!!
Thanks again.
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Re: Essex Reg in India 1896-97

Postby Frogsmile » 19 Jun 2015 11:38

The 2nd Battalion had been the old 56th Foot, whose nickname was 'The Pompadours', in reference to their unique dark purple facings that had allegedly been the favourite colour of the infamous 'Madam Pompadour'. The relevance of this is that, even after becoming the 2nd Battalion of the Essex Regiment, the unit continued to wear dark purple felt as a backing to their rank badges and in commemoration of their lineage.

Although for a later period, you might find this of interest in connection with the battalion: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forum ... try2093962
Last edited by Frogsmile on 22 Jun 2015 11:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Essex Reg in India 1896-97

Postby stuwismulGen » 22 Jun 2015 03:01

Tks for that Frogsmile- every little helps when I'm trying to fill in the detail from next to nothing
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