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DateOriginal Topic
9th February 2005'Establishment' Strengths 1878?
By Rob
I've been trying, unsuccessfully to find the 'Establishment' strengths of Infantry, Cavlary, Artillery and other Supporting Units from 1878 or periods there abouts.

Does anyone have this information that they might be able to share, or possibly point me in the direction of a suitable website or book which would answer my questions?

Many Thanks for any assistance!
9th February 2005Rob
Opps! I should probably add here that as well as looking for the relative strengths I'm hoping to find the numbers of Officers, NCO's and Men.
9th February 2005Martin Everett
Dear Rob,
Actually numbers taking part are given in the Narrative of Field Operations published by the War Office in 1881 (republished in Greenhill in 1989).

I do have the breakdown of the 1/24th in Oct 1878 and earlier - but these are actual not establishment.
9th February 2005John Young

The 'ideal' figures for the period were as follows:
Infantry - 30 officers and 866 men divided between battalion H.Q.'s and eight companies.

Artillery - Field Battery - 7 officers and 167 o/r's.

Royal Engineers - Field Company - 6 officers and 196 o/r's.

Cavalry - 31 officers and 622 o/r's.

Appendix B of the work that Martin commends to you above actually shows some of the reinforcements were over-strength.

John Y.
11th February 2005Martin Everett
Dear Rob,
I have now had time to look up the figures - the actual numbers in 1/24th at 4 Nov 1878 were 825 men.

Colonel 1
Lt Col 1
Major 2
Capt 9
Lt 14
2Lt 2
Staff 4 (paymaster, surgeon etc)
Sgts 49
Cpls 40
Dmrs 17
Ptes 686

Of these 2 officers were detached on the staff.

Included in these numbers were the B Company (Capt Harrisson) at St Johns
- 1 Capt, 2 Lts, 4 Sgts, 6 Cpls, 1 Dmr and 73 Ptes.
13th February 2005Rob
Thankyou both :)

If I can try my luck once more, you mention there being 49 Sergeants, 40 Corporals and 17 Drummers - obviously the actual numbers there are below strength in total, but are these numbers at strength?

Also as I understand it one Sergeant per Company would have the rank of Colour Sergeant?

An one last question, where does a Battalions Band come into this? Would they be included in these numbers or as a seperate body? And in either case how many would they number?

Again, many thanks!
13th February 2005Martin Everett
I am not sure what your objective is?

There is a photo of the 1/24th band taken in Cape Town 1876 (?) - numbers 33 including boys. These are in the total. Most infantry companies were about 80-90 men in total actual strength.

In those days you could not trickle post individuals as you can today. You had to wait for a draft to form up with an officer. A draft could be 50 to 150 men to be sent from UK on the next troop transport ship. Then there is travelling time.

During the period 1875-1879 the 1/24th and 2/24th (both in South Africa - this was unusual for a regiment) - the depot could not cope in supllying drafts. Losses (deaths - roughly) were:

Pre-Isand 67
Isandhlwana 596
Post Isand 48
Total 1875-1879 711 (that's a lot of men - another battalion in fact !) (this does not count deaths at home in 24th - say 10 to 20 men during the period 1875-1879)

The total of Sergeants does include 1 x CSgt per Company, but also the senior ranks in Battalion HQ - Sergeant Major, Quartermaster Sergeants, Musketry Instructors, etc, etc.

What are you trying to prove???

13th February 2005Rob
I'm actually trying to compile a background piece for a science fiction equvilient heavily based on 19tyh century formations specificly of the late 1800's , hence being after the 'establishment' numbers if thats any sort of explanation ;) developing from the establishment onto campaign, it's something of a big project which I'd like to get as accurate as possible.