Saturday 7 July 2018

Rifle Brigade Chronicle

I mentioned the other day that I have added a Books for Sale tab to my Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 blog, I am currently selling a large number of Rifle Brigade Chronicles - and they're going fast - bit it did prompt me to pay more attention to the covers of these books and note the changes in the regimental badges as published on these volumes.

The image above was what graced the cover of the first volume, published in 1890. The crown is the St Edward's Crown with the hunting horn below. This image only appeared on the first published issue and was replaced with the image below on the 1891 edition.

The following year there was a further change, with the badge being rendered in silver rather than gold, quickly reverting to gold again for the 1893 edition.

This version was then used until 1910, replaced that year with new battles honours for the Boer War, and The Tudor Crown which had been introduced by King Edward in 1902.

The 1916 edition saw the crown devoid of the detail within it which had appeared on previous crowns. 

But by1917 that detail had re-appeared bigger and bolder than before:

And by 1929 the battle honours for the First World War finally appeared:

The final change that I'm aware of appeared on the 1955 edition and harked back to an earlier time:

At the time of writing, editions of the Rifle Brigade Chronicle from 1902 to 1932 are still available for sale.

Embarkation Table, 1914

I was looking through the war diary for the 1st Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders earlier today, and came across some fascinating detail concerning the battalion's embarkation from Southampton in December 1914.

The 1st Battalion had been stationed in Dinapore, India in August 1914 and didn't arrive back in the UK until the 17th November 1914. It was one of the units recalled from the British Empire's far-flung outposts and was assigned to the 81st Brigade in the newly-formed 27th Division. The embarkation notes and table in the battalion war diary give a fascinating insight into the way in which troops were organised.

I suppose I'd never thought about how the actual embarkation would have been organised, but of course it makes perfect sense to have allocated serial numbers to units and to mark up everything with those numbers. The four infantry battalions in the 81st Brigade were the 1st A&S Highlanders, the 1st Gloucestershire Regiment, the 2nd Cameron Highlanders, and the 1st Royal Scots, and again it is interesting to note that they each sailed on different ships, presumably a cautionary measure to guard against an entire brigade being sent to the bottom of the English Channel by a German U-Boat.

The extract above, whilst included in the War Diary for the 1st A&S Highlanders, also includes similar levels of detail for other brigades; as I say, completely fascinating.

I was checking the war diaries on the Naval & Military Archive which offers access to millions of records and over 4.500 individual war diaries for as little as £10. Photo above, showing British troops embarking at Southampton in 1915, is from the Alamy website.