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General => Armed Forces => Topic started by: Kate_genedetective on Thursday 18 February 21 10:45 GMT (UK)

Title: Help on what would govren which regiment you went into ...
Post by: Kate_genedetective on Thursday 18 February 21 10:45 GMT (UK)
Hello!
I am not very experienced in military history - I am wandering if anyone has any knowledge of why people might join a certain regiment and also is there any documentation on where these regiments were based? We are talking mid 1800s here...

I have one of the relatives - Walter Craig, in the 43rd Regiment in the 1850s/ 60s.
Looking this up, it was the Monmouthshire Regiment of Foot at the time  - and I intriged to know why he would have been in this regiment as geographically it does not make sense - he was born in northumberland, and then pops up as a private in the 43rd in Kent at his marriage in 1856 in Chatham, Kent and (his new wife lives no where near this), and then I have him in India on the military 1861 census (which fits with the history of where the regiment was on Wiki)

Does anyone have any ideas??
thanks!
Title: Re: Help on what would govren which regiment you went into ...
Post by: rosie99 on Thursday 18 February 21 11:11 GMT (UK)
I think it may depend as to which regiments were recruiting at the time in nearby towns
Title: Re: Help on what would govren which regiment you went into ...
Post by: ShaunJ on Thursday 18 February 21 11:12 GMT (UK)
All the regiments moved around the home islands on a regular basis and the depot companies recruited wherever they were stationed. You can check the contemporary newspapers for the locations in "Stations of the British Army " which were widely published on a monthly basis. Just on a quick search I can see that the depot company of the 43rd was based in Chatham in August 1854.
Title: Re: Help on what would govren which regiment you went into ...
Post by: Kate_genedetective on Thursday 18 February 21 13:23 GMT (UK)
Hello, thanks! thats really interesting!
So the "station" of the regiment was like a depot base I gather which would be their current home base and possibly also the regiments headquaters (but not always looking at wiki).
I know Chatham was/is a Naval dock yard but looks like it was also a barracks for the army too.
That totally explains why Walter and his wife got married in Chatham - he was obviously based there at the time, I wander if the witness' to the wedding were fellow soliders (I don't recognise their names)

will have a google on Army stations of the 43rd - you say worth looking at papers too?
Title: Re: Help on what would govren which regiment you went into ...
Post by: Kate_genedetective on Thursday 18 February 21 13:36 GMT (UK)
I guess looking at the muster rolls might also give more info on walter - although looks like will need a trip to the national archives for that! (as some point in the distant future... )
Title: Re: Help on what would govren which regiment you went into ...
Post by: AncestryPete on Friday 19 February 21 17:53 GMT (UK)
Chatham has been a major Royal Navy base for over 100 years,  simultaneously its been home to the Royal Engineers.
Title: Re: Help on what would govren which regiment you went into ...
Post by: FROGSMILE on Wednesday 10 March 21 14:32 GMT (UK)
Hello, thanks! thats really interesting!
So the "station" of the regiment was like a depot base I gather which would be their current home base and possibly also the regiments headquaters (but not always looking at wiki).
I know Chatham was/is a Naval dock yard but looks like it was also a barracks for the army too.
That totally explains why Walter and his wife got married in Chatham - he was obviously based there at the time, I wander if the witness' to the wedding were fellow soliders (I don't recognise their names)

will have a google on Army stations of the 43rd - you say worth looking at papers too?

No Kate, the Service Battalion (as the fighting part was called) was based in a garrison, either in the UK, or overseas.  In addition it had Depot (or for a period ‘Reserve’) Companies based somewhere else in the UK, where the regiment’s recruiting and administration could be centred.  Both of these elements moved around every few years.  The Depot Companies tended to be focused at coastal, or city ports with high populations and where shipping could easily be found to transport groups of reinforcements (known as ‘drafts’) from the Depot/Reserve Companies to the Service Battalion if it was overseas.  In 1854 the beginning of the Crimean War led to a big expansion in the size of the Army and both the number of Service Battalions and Depot Companies increased substantially.

As regards the association with Monmouthshire, in 1782 the 43rd Regiment of Foot were, along with all other numbered regiments that did not already have a regional affiliation, given a secondary title associating them with a County.  In the case of the 43rd it was Monmouthshire.  The intent was to give them an permanent area to focus identity and recruitment, but no permanent headquarters and depot was allocated for any of the regiments, and so the link was largely meaningless because both Service Battalions and Depot/Reserve Companies continued to move around every few years.  It remained so until 1881 when they were at last given a permanent base in the County of Oxfordshire (known as the regimental depot) and retitled as The Oxfordshire Light Infantry (apparently because their was controversy/reluctance in Monmouthshire to find a location for a permanent base. 

Before 1881 all the regiment’s numbered from 25th and below had two battalions, 1st and 2nd and when not involved in a major war one battalion would usually be in the U.K. and the other garrisoned overseas.  This was formalised in a more permanent arrangement after 1881, and regiments numbered above 25th were paired with another unit in the same nominal situation in order to provide a 1st and 2nd Battalion. The 43rd were paired with the 52nd and the two units became the 1st and 2nd Battalions respectively of the new, Oxfordshire Light Infantry regiment.