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27th April 2005Looking for muster rolls for Zulu War at major battles
By Travis Busey

I am a researcher of the war and I am looking for muster rolls of the British units in the war. I was told I could find them via the National Archives in England, but I live in the United States. Could anyone help? If I cannot get the full muster rolls I would be overjoyed to get ages and personal of information on the British soldiers who were killed and died of disease during the war. I am thinking that the personal info of the men killed would be much easier to obtain than full musters. As you all know, the British army lost three battles during the war (Isandlwana, Hlobane and Ntombe Drift which in my estimations were around 1900 men) but at the other major battles (Kambula, Gingindlovu and Ulundi) there losses were down to a minimum.. can anyone help me get at least the personal info and what companies they served in for the soldiers killed?

If anyone can help I would appreciate it!
27th April 2005Bill Cainan


No easy solution I'm afraid. Very few Company Muster Rolls have survived from the AZW. Your best place to start would be with the appropriate Regimental Museums - you can get their E Mail addresses off the web sites after typing in the Regimental Names. However, I would point out that the Regimental Museums are somewhat undermanned and receive lots of enquiries - eg the SWB Museum in Brecon has one archivist and receives some 18,000 queries per year (Martin, please correct me if my figures are out). So it may take quite a while to get a response, let alone a positive one. Obviously certain Regiments have had more written on them than others(eg the 24th and Isandlwana/Rorke's drift see Norman Holme's "The Noble 24th" and Julian Wybra's epic "England's Sons").

Good Luck

27th April 2005Julian whybra
I've replied directly to you - pessimistically i'm afraid.
28th April 2005Chris
Wasent much of this info lost when the Germans bombed London 1940?
28th April 2005Martin Everett
Dear Chris,

No - this was 2/3rds of the soldiers' papers from WW1 that were lost during WW2.

The pay and muster rolls for the Zulu War period are in the National Archives at Kew in WO12 series. But its a lot of paper!
28th April 2005John Young

Can you confirm that what were the WO16 have been redesignated as 'WO12'? As I was going to suggest Travis have someone look at those.

John Y.
29th April 2005Martin Everett
Dear John,
The National Archive catalogue is on-line. Remeber I deal with all periods and most for the 24th are in WO12. The muster rolls for the 24th when they were in SA are as follows (depot 24th for the period are not included)

WO12/4131 1/24th – 1875-1876
WO12/4132 1/24th – 1876-1877
WO16/1573 1/24th – 1877-1878
WO16/1574 1/24th – 1879-1880
WO16/1579 2/24th – 1877-1879
WO16/1580 2/24th – 1879-1880

29th April 2005John Young

Thanks problem solved.


John Y.