Depot companies and service companies

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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby mike snook » 19 Jul 2017 10:39

Yes, as I thought, both Robert Brookes and John Pennycuick, 24th Regt, were substantive lt cols. (AL 1848).

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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby colsjt65 » 25 Jul 2017 22:25

From my research there were 10 service companies and 2 depot companies, until 1866 (possibly) for battalions serving abroad.

The flank companies were officially abolished by Circular Memorandum No. 38, 30 May 1860, but that just meant that the men were to be redistributed among the companies (which didn't seem to actually happen, at least in New Zealand) and the companies were renamed from alphabetical to 1-10.

H. G. Circ. Mem., 248. 1st April 1863
The regiments in New Zealand, Australia, China, and Ceylon, viz.:- 1st battalion 12th foot, 2d battalions 14th and 18th foot, 31st, 40th, 50th, 57th, 67th (sic - 65th), 70th, and 99th regiments, are to be thus distributed:-

BattalionCM248.png
BattalionCM248.png (9.54 KiB) Viewed 237 times

This establishment was larger than for battalions serving at home and other stations not listed, excluding India, having an extra officer (probably Assistant Surgeon) on the battalion staff and 90 privates in its service companies.

In June 1866, many of the battalions were reduced in size-
The Reduction of the Army. — The Army and Navy Gazette gives the following as a correct list of the regiments of infantry of the line in which a reduction of two companies each has been ordered from the 1st instant [June 1866] :— 6th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 28th, 31st, 39th, 40th, 43rd, 44th, 48th, 52nd, 54th, 56th, 57th, 59th, 60th, 62nd, 63rd, 64th, 65th, 66th, 67th, 68th, 69th, 70th, 71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 75th, 80th, 81st, 83rd, 85th, 87th, and 92nd.

From 1866 the service companies were once again distinguished alphabetically instead of numerically.

As for more than one colonels in a battalion-
The 70th Regt. arrived in New Zealand from India with two colonels - Thomas Galloway (Lt Col., 22 Nov. 48; Colonel, 28 Nov. 54) and Trevor Chute (Lt Col., 14 Dec. 48; Colonel, 28 Nov. 54). Both had commanded brigades during the Mutiny. In 1863, Chute was promoted Major General in March 63 and took command of the Australian colonies.
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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby Frogsmile » 26 Jul 2017 10:58

colsjt65 wrote:From my research there were 10 service companies and 2 depot companies, until 1866 (possibly) for battalions serving abroad.

The flank companies were officially abolished by Circular Memorandum No. 38, 30 May 1860, but that just meant that the men were to be redistributed among the companies (which didn't seem to actually happen, at least in New Zealand) and the companies were renamed from alphabetical to 1-10.

H. G. Circ. Mem., 248. 1st April 1863
The regiments in New Zealand, Australia, China, and Ceylon, viz.:- 1st battalion 12th foot, 2d battalions 14th and 18th foot, 31st, 40th, 50th, 57th, 67th (sic - 65th), 70th, and 99th regiments, are to be thus distributed:-

BattalionCM248.png

This establishment was larger than for battalions serving at home and other stations not listed, excluding India, having an extra officer (probably Assistant Surgeon) on the battalion staff and 90 privates in its service companies.

Very interesting

In June 1866, many of the battalions were reduced in size-
The Reduction of the Army. — The Army and Navy Gazette gives the following as a correct list of the regiments of infantry of the line in which a reduction of two companies each has been ordered from the 1st instant [June 1866] :— 6th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 28th, 31st, 39th, 40th, 43rd, 44th, 48th, 52nd, 54th, 56th, 57th, 59th, 60th, 62nd, 63rd, 64th, 65th, 66th, 67th, 68th, 69th, 70th, 71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 75th, 80th, 81st, 83rd, 85th, 87th, and 92nd.

From 1866 the service companies were once again distinguished alphabetically instead of numerically.

As for more than one colonels in a battalion-
The 70th Regt. arrived in New Zealand from India with two colonels - Thomas Galloway (Lt Col., 22 Nov. 48; Colonel, 28 Nov. 54) and Trevor Chute (Lt Col., 14 Dec. 48; Colonel, 28 Nov. 54). Both had commanded brigades during the Mutiny. In 1863, Chute was promoted Major General in March 63 and took command of the Australian colonies.


Very interesting research colsjt65, thank you for posting.
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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby Frogsmile » 26 Jul 2017 11:00

jf42 wrote:Re 'Anorak'

Far be it for me, etc., but I wonder, Frogsmile, if the correct term here shouldn't be 'Frock.'

Or 'Smock'.

Or both.


Ha! Yes....before I became better educated I thought that a frock was something that my late wife wore at the Rhine Army Summer Show, or the Tidworth Garrison Fete (the latter when there were still 'proper' barracks there, laid out in straight lines, rather than looking like a housing estate from TV series Brookside).
Last edited by Frogsmile on 27 Jul 2017 09:10, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby Frogsmile » 26 Jul 2017 11:09

mike snook wrote:Frogsmile,

Yes, I have both the works you mention and admire them.

I know what you mean about the apparent void and I do have a couple of projects in mind that might address it, but really only in passing...en route towards some tactical action (that being what I do). I always aim to get a few paragraphs of 'organization' into any book, because fighting doesn't make any sense at all without it. In fact the reason I know about the reserve battalion system is precisely because I have written it up: it is featured in Cape Warriors' (Vol I), which deals with uniforms and military organization in the Cape 1834-53. (Volume 1 also does the big picture military history, while all the tactical level battles and engagements in Volume II). Reserve Bns particularly came up in the context of the 91st (Argyllshire) Regiment, which was much involved in the 7th and 8th Cape Frontier Wars, but there were other (South African) instances too such as the 45th (Nottinghamshire) Regiment, so I had to get to grips with it.

It is interesting just how flexibly the word 'division' was used in that earlier period. It dawned on me originally when dealing with the memoirs of Pte Buck Adams, who kept saying our 'division' did this and our 'division' did that, when the 'this' and 'that' were evidently very low level military tasks. 'Division' to you and I means a formation of two or more brigades, but to the early Victorians it could mean anything from 20 men to 4,000 men. At the 20 men end of the spectrum, I refer to half of a cavalry troop (not uncommonly much reduced in strength from 70 to 40). It was perfectly possible for a troop to split and operate separately by its two component 'divisions', which is the context in which Buck Adams was typically using it. At the same time you might have a thousand men (including auxiliaries) in 'Colonel Eyre's division', (which is really a 'column', but it is 'division' they routinely prefer in all their reports and dispatches). And further afield, in India, you have 'divisions' as all arms formations and as military administrative districts...hence Major General Sir High Wheeler is GOC Cawnpore Division and Major General George Lloyd is GOC Dinapore Division. I forget whether it was Cawnpore or Dinapore, but one or the other of these 'divisions' straddled 120,000 square miles! Division - 20 cavalrymen or a vast geographic expanse in Northern India ...is it any wonder people can be bewildered by military affairs!

As ever

M


I had not realised that your books on the Cape Wars carried some details on Organisation and will definitely wish now to add them to my library. The seeming black hole in that era covers many aspects it seems, including the uniform worn on campaign such as we have discussed in threads regarding the 1857 Indian rebellion, an aspect that I have always found fascinating.

The wide use of the term Division seems to have applied to the Royal Navy in odd ways too, and although I knew of some of the unusual usage in the Army, the full extent that you have outlined is very eye opening as you say. No wonder we British confuse everyone else with our slipshod use of organisational terms!
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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby Frogsmile » 26 Jul 2017 11:15

jf42 wrote:Col Mike, that all makes perfect sense. In the context.


I vaguely recall that the establishment rules for second lieutenant colonels were apparently finally swept away with the Cardwell/Childers Reforms of July 1881, that included changes to structure with the uniform introduction of the two battalion system, but I cannot recall where I read that.
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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby mike snook » 26 Jul 2017 13:37

There is no question but that any sort of assertion that regiments consisted of twelve companies until 1866 is insufficiently nuanced. There was, as I have said, a period in the 1840s and 1850s, and possibly even pre-dating 1840 (I haven't checked that), when service battalions overseas consisted of 6 companies, including grenadier and light companies, with four left at the depot under the senior major. To hark back to the second lieutenant colonels issue, I have this morning uncovered one reference (in the case of the 91st Regiment in 1842) to having an additional major authorized, to proceed on service, so that, in effect, it was possible to have two senior majors (!) - by which I mean the actual senior (regimental) major commanding the depot and the senior of the brace assigned to the service companies under the lieutenant colonel, each of whom would have commanded a wing of three companies. This third major provision was evidently not universally applied, however, as I have several references to strengths on embarkation to 'one lieutenant colonel, one major, six captains, six lieutenants...' so on and so forth. I have numerous references to the 6/4 configuration in my library, which embraces 40-odd regimental histories, a number of them like RB and KRRC having several battalions). Certainly some regiments, (those despatched on long overseas tours in the East, including India), would have had twelve companies - ten in their foreign station and two at home, the latter training recruits, providing them with a temporary home and eventually dispatching them overseas as an annual draft. I would hazard a guess at two additional companies being added to the home establishment at the time of the Crimean War (such a thing would be commonplace in general war) - and perhaps it is this - coupled with the subsequent Mutiny scare of 57-8, in which very large numbers of troops had to sent out from home, that accounts for the separate (additional) provision for depot companies and the orders to which Bruce refers in that slightly later period. Pre-1854, certainly, only ten companies on the home establishment. This is to do, I think, with tour lengths, and to a lesser extent with distance. I have the 6/4 configuration being used for tours in Canada, West Indies, the Mediterranean stations and South Africa.

As ever

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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby Frogsmile » 26 Jul 2017 15:18

Knowing how the powers that be (meaning the Exchequer, et al) like their establishment tables to be fluid that makes complete sense to me, Mike. As ever, these things are a movable feast of circumstances (and finance) dictating change.

Although it predates our period, I thought that the establishment breakdown at the following link was really useful and imagine that the details it sets out would for the most part hold good for units in operational situations between the 1840s and 1860s: https://rodwargaming.wordpress.com/milt ... 1802-1815/
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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby mike snook » 26 Jul 2017 21:27

Admirable bit of work, is that Frogsmile. As you say we would benefit from somebody conducting the same exercise over the post-Napoleonic decades. I suspect there would have been rather less tweaking of establishments than is reflected over the course of the last of the 'world wars' against the French. Perhaps 1815-1870 would the ideal bracket for such a project - Waterloo to Cardwell. Or perhaps stick with the span of the old Queen's reign. There would be a lot of work entailed though.

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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby jf42 » 26 Jul 2017 22:07

Frogsmile wrote: when there were still 'proper' barracks there, laid out in straight lines, rather than looking like a housing estate from TV series Brookside).



"Danger Close"?





Sorry, couldn't resist
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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby Frogsmile » 27 Jul 2017 08:56

jf42 wrote:
Frogsmile wrote: when there were still 'proper' barracks there, laid out in straight lines, rather than looking like a housing estate from TV series Brookside).



"Danger Close"?





Sorry, couldn't resist


Indirect fire trained then?
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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby Frogsmile » 27 Jul 2017 09:03

mike snook wrote:Admirable bit of work, is that Frogsmile. As you say we would benefit from somebody conducting the same exercise over the post-Napoleonic decades. I suspect there would have been rather less tweaking of establishments than is reflected over the course of the last of the 'world wars' against the French. Perhaps 1815-1870 would the ideal bracket for such a project - Waterloo to Cardwell. Or perhaps stick with the span of the old Queen's reign. There would be a lot of work entailed though.

As ever

M


Yes, I suspect that there was less tweaking. The extent of the peace dividend resulting from unit disbandment, discharged veterans and officers placed on half-pay is relatively well documented and I imagine that after so many years of high defence expenditure the exchequer were watchful to keep non operational establishments down. Both the periods that you mention would be good but a study covering the variations during the old Queen's reign would be my preference as it would put the military trials and tribulations of high empire into sharper focus. As you say though, a lot of work and probably not to be done until the records are digitised or in some other way more easily accessible by researchers outside London and the South East.
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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby Victorian Dad » 27 Aug 2017 18:32

Interesting thread and one I'm trying to get my head round....

I'm mainly concerned with the 94th and their service companies. Their history on wiki states...

Some volunteers departed for service in the Crimean War in November 1854 and the service companies left for Gibraltar in September 1855. The main body of the regiment embarked for Karachi in November 1857 and then transferred to Peshawar in the North-West Frontier region in October 1858. The regiment embarked for home again in January 1868.

Am I right in thinking that the service companies would have remain on Gibraltar when the main body of the regiment went to India, and rejoined the main regiment upon their return to the UK in 1868? I assume as they sailed passed Gibraltar on their way home?
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Re: Depot companies and service companies

Postby Frogsmile » 27 Aug 2017 19:59

Victorian Dad wrote:Interesting thread and one I'm trying to get my head round....

I'm mainly concerned with the 94th and their service companies. Their history on wiki states...

Some volunteers departed for service in the Crimean War in November 1854 and the service companies left for Gibraltar in September 1855. The main body of the regiment embarked for Karachi in November 1857 and then transferred to Peshawar in the North-West Frontier region in October 1858. The regiment embarked for home again in January 1868.

Am I right in thinking that the service companies would have remain on Gibraltar when the main body of the regiment went to India, and rejoined the main regiment upon their return to the UK in 1868? I assume as they sailed passed Gibraltar on their way home?


You would need to see the ship manifests for the trooping of the 94th to be sure, as the availability of suitable shipping would usually dictate how a battalion moved. An important point, though, is that the main body usually comprised the bulk if not all of the service companies. It was usually preceded by an 'advance party' (van, on land) comprising one, or two companies, and a headquarters element. There would usually also be a 'rear party' (rearguard, on land) of remaining administrators and miscellaneous personnel following on. Another common practice when appropriate was to embark one 'wing' (half Battalion) at a time, in order to not risk losing an entire Battalion should there be a storm causing ships to founder.
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