I recently bought The Muster Roll of Angus with the express purpose of uploading soldier portraits to my British Army Ancestors website. At the back of the book there are a number of pages similar to the one above which refer to an index of soldiers published elsewhere. So, for instance, the man in the third row down, second from left, is number 82 and his entry reads:
Allan, Hubert A, King Street, Montrose; Bombardier, Royal Artillery - 1895.
It's useful information and the date is particularly helpful as this is the date that the man enlisted. For men with unusual names, it's a fairly straightforward task, armed with their regimental details, to find them in medal rolls and on British Army Ancestors. However, for men with common names, knowing the year they enlisted is helpful because it enables me to eliminate some soldiers when it comes to searching for the correct Robert Campbell or John MaDonald. Thanks to the earlier research I have done on regimental numbers it is very easy to quickly see whether I have the right man.
For instance, the man below is indexed as:
Boath, James, Ponderlaw lane, Arbroath; lance-corporal, 1st Cameron Highlanders - 1897. Medals, Khedive and Egyptian (Atbara and Omdurman).
This man must be 3897 James Boath, the number 3897 dating to about the end of February 1897. I've added James's photo to British Army Ancestors and I'll be using the same logic to add other photos as well. I would imagine that the photo above dates to 1897, certainly before he'd been appointed lance-corporal and before he'd been awarded his campaign medals for the Sudan. For service during the Boer War (which is what the Muster Roll of Angus commemorates), he would go on to earn the Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps for Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Wittebergen, Cape Colony, South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902. He would also serve with the 12th Mounted Infantry.
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