Private Soldiers Changing Regiment?

For general discussions on the British Army of the Victorian era or specific regiments.

Private Soldiers Changing Regiment?

Postby PeterY » 22 Sep 2017 05:24

I am hoping that one of the great minds out there might be able to help with a query. Richard Holmes (Sahib) talks about how some soldiers would change regiments rather than leave India, but gives few details. I am wondering how common this was and also how the process actually worked? Was it difficult for a private soldier to just change to another?
PeterY
New Member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 08 Jun 2015 06:44

Re: Private Soldiers Changing Regiment?

Postby Maureene » 22 Sep 2017 07:30

In India, I believe that the Army encouraged change to a regiment remaining in India, as those soldiers already experienced in India were more valuable to the Army in India than back in England. If you read regimental accounts, sometimes there are numbers given for the men who elected to stay in India. It was a frequent happening when regiments left India.

I have also read accounts of soldiers who successfully requested a change of regiment so that they were in the same regiment as a family member etc, so I don't think the process can have been too difficult.

However, I don't know any details of the process.

Cheers
Maureen
Maureene
Forum Fellow
 
Posts: 799
Joined: 02 Aug 2011 07:33

Re: Private Soldiers Changing Regiment?

Postby PeterY » 22 Sep 2017 09:01

Thank you for that. Interesting to know that it did happen!
PeterY
New Member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: 08 Jun 2015 06:44

Re: Private Soldiers Changing Regiment?

Postby Frogsmile » 22 Sep 2017 13:43

Home Service battalions were established at a lower strength than the Foreign Service battalion and when the two exchanged status men at the Station being relieved were permitted to apply to remain. This was managed via 'Brigade' and 'Battalion Routine Orders' (paper administrative instructions posted daily and weekly on unit notice boards - they governed routine), where volunteers were sought and approved according to individual circumstances and the commanding officer's endorsement. Men could live under better conditions in India, in that they were not required to carry out manual labour, or irksome, petty tasks (known as 'fatigues') that could be undertaken by local natives. The quid pro quo was that a man in India was increasingly more likely to die of disease (especially Cholera) as the conditions at home gradually improved due to better (properly engineered) sanitation.
sq
Relic of many a fight and siege and sack, it points a moral and adorns the back.
User avatar
Frogsmile
Forum Fellow
 
Posts: 4969
Joined: 25 Jan 2011 20:17
Location: Wiltshire, England

Re: Private Soldiers Changing Regiment?

Postby mike snook » 22 Sep 2017 15:03

Worth adding that at the end of an overseas tour soldiers divided into three and in the case of c. below played a not insignificant part in founding a number of modern day nations:

a. Those returning home with the parent regiment.
b. Those transferring into its replacement and serving on in the same station.
c. Time expired men who elected for local discharge.

Our modern day Anglo-New Zealander and Anglo-South African cousins, in particular, would include a tolerably high proportion of people who are descended from regular soldiers who stayed on after discharge to become settlers. Of course many Anglo-Indians, a phrase in general use at one time to denote mixed ethnicity, (in a way that, say, 'Anglo-South African' did not), are also descended from British soldiers.

In an until lately contemporary reflection of Frogsmile's point on variable estblishments, in our own time a smaller UK battalion moving to the larger armoured establishment, then prevailing in British Forces Germany, would take onto its strength about 70 members of the regiment it was replacing. When in the case of my own regiment, RRW, we changed over with 1st Devon and Dorsets in the late 90s, we inherited 70 westcountrymen who volunteered to stand fast and become honorary Welshmen. We obtained most excellent service from them I must say. These days they enjoy the advantage of being able to go to twice as many regimental reunions as the rest of us!

As ever,

M
Dr Mike Snook MBE psc
User avatar
mike snook
Honorary Academic Advisor
 
Posts: 1328
Joined: 19 Jun 2008 09:35


Return to The Army

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron