Marching

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Marching

Postby susancammas » 03 Mar 2017 09:41

Good morning experts

One of my great grandfathers (RHA gunner) arrived in Bombay off the Crocodile on 31st January 1878 and reached Umballa/Amballa 11 days later.

The distance between Bombay and Umballa is roughly 1000 miles (or about 800 miles as the crow flies).

I have been wondering how he travelled between Bombay and Umballa and found the following information:

The Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Inquire Into the Sanitary State of the Army in India, With Précis of Evidence (1863) states on page 13:

« The Mhow division, of 3,478 Europeanss and 4,527natives, occupies a central territory intersected by the Aravulli and Vindhya ranges of mountains, whose waters flow into the Nerbudda and the Chumbul. The territories of Holkar, Sindia, and the warlike Rajpoots lie around the stations, of which Mhow, near Indore, is held by 1,680 Europeans, Nusserabad by 1,060, Neemuch by 564, and Ajmeer by 61. The railway from Agra to Bombay goes through this country, south of the desert, but parallel with the distant Indus.

So I can imagine that he travelled by train from Bombay to Agra. I can’t find any evidence of a railway from Agra to Amballa, but as previously mentioned by Les Waring (Ships to India - Bombay or Calcutta?) the Grand Trunk Road ran from Delhi to Amballa, so it would be reasonable to imagine that the troops “marched” the last bit up this route.

Now, here’s the really silly question - are you ready?

What does the concept “march” really mean? Did the men actually slog it out on foot, or could they “march” in bullock carts or on horseback, after all he was in the Royal HORSE Artillery!

Susbsidiary silly question: where did the RHA source their horses (locally or imported)?

Kind regards
Susan
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Re: Marching

Postby Maureene » 03 Mar 2017 12:26

I think it is likely that they travelled all the way by train, although I can't suggest the actual route.

Umballa/Ambala was a station on the Sind, Punjab and Delhi Railway, later the North Western Railway, which by 1870 extended from Multan to Delhi. Even if they had to change trains, it would have been possible to go all the way from Bombay to Ambala.

See the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Scinde, Punjaub & Delhi Railway
https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Scinde,_Punjau ... hi_Railway

Cheers
Maureen
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Re: Marching

Postby Frogsmile » 03 Mar 2017 13:20

I think that Maureene is right that the railway would have been used for as much of the journey as possible and as the turn of the century approached the lines of communications between the main British stations were much better developed.

In the period before railway was available then any portion of the journey that had to be marched was generally (in peace time) carried out by stages using the coolest possible part of the day. There were generally way stations where water and forage could be obtained (also used by the Daks for their journeys) and the men and animals rested in the shade.

In that manner it was not dissimilar to the way that the Roman legions travelled centuries before.
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Re: Marching

Postby Maureene » 03 Mar 2017 13:37

Here is a 1871 Map of India showing the railways (Wikimedia)
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cate ... s1871b.jpg

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Maureen
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Re: Marching

Postby Will Mathieson » 03 Mar 2017 16:03

The RHA travelling by ground route would ride horses and sit on the limbers (ammunition carts).
This post explains it better: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=9600
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Re: Marching

Postby susancammas » 14 Mar 2017 17:00

Thank you everyone for all your interesting answers.

Kind regards
Susan
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