17 May 2019

An embarkation list observation

The extract above comes from an embarkation list held in IOR/L/MIL/15/45 at The British Library. The men concerned formed part of a draft of two sergeants and 186 rank and file from the 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment who set sail aboard HMS Serapis on the 8th December 1886 bound for India and the 2nd Battalion.

What's interesting about this extract is that all of these men attested for service on the 17th April 1885 and, before their regimental numbers were issued to them a couple of days later at Bristol, they were organised alphabetically by surname and then issued with their numbers. So 1055 Baker is followed by 1057 Ballinger who is followed by 1058 Barnes, and so on. 1056 would have been issued to someone whose surname falls between Baker and Ballinger and who was obviously not on this draft; there are other gaps as well.

17th April 1885 was obviously a good recruiting day for the Gloucestershire Regiment. Men issued with numbers 1055 to 1118 inclusive were all recruited on this day; not at all bad going considering the average monthly recruitment figure in line infantry regiments at the time was around 350.

The embarkation lists in  IOR/L/MIL/15/42-46 fill useful gaps in service records but have not been digitised and published online, although I have my own currently un-indexed copies from all five volumes.

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