“The localisation of 1872 divided the military districts of the United Kingdom into sixty six sub districts for the infantry, twelve for artillery, and two for cavalry. The linking proved less than popular. Many depots took several years to form. Some battalions had few associations with their linked battalion and disliked the depot assigned to them. Many prospective recruits did not wish to enlist in their local regiments and expressed preferences to join specific regiments.
“In 1881 Childers replaced this scheme by ….. relinking and renaming the battalions to form the first and second battalions of one regiment, with specific geographical areas, to be known as regimental districts.” [p 126]
“Undoubtedly this scheme had some beneficial effects, even if it caused considerable resentment when it was first introduced. Some regiments rapidly established, or quickly developed, their local roots and became identified with the counties in which they were based. By 1883 forty three of the sixty six districts were supplying their regiments with over 50 per cent of their recruits, and fifteen of these were supplying over 80 per cent. Inevitably there were some regiments, especially in the Highlands, which struggled to find recruits in large and predominantly rural districts.” [p 127]
Skelley, AR, The Victorian Army at Home, Montreal, McGill Queens University Press, 1977
“(Notwithstanding) localisation ….. the shift of population from rural to urban areas served to limit success…… in the end the army was forced to look beyond local connections for results. In 1874 83.8 per cent of the year’s 20,312 recruits were (sic) raised in local recruiting areas centred on large urban areas. In 1898 by contrast, local districts and regimental HQs accounted for only 63.3 per cent of the men enlisted.”
Spiers, EM, The Late Victorian Army 1868 – 1902, Manchester University Press, 1992, p 260