Thursday, 8 July 2010

The very first army list (1684)

For enthusiasts (read: aficionados) of regimental lineages like the author, Army Lists form a very important source of information. As these lists are, approximately, a directory of the officers serving in the army at a certain point, the history of the regiments can be derived from it. In particular, studying successive editions of army lists can give a neat impression of the expansion of the army in times of war. For example, studying the army lists prior to August 1914, and those of late 1914 and 1915, clearly shows the growth of the army. (The physical size of the army lists tripled also at least between 1914 and 1918.)

That said, it is unfortunate that army lists started to be published regularly from the 1750s onwards. Thus the period between 1660 and 1750 is relatively obscure. This is best observed in the relative void regarding regiments raised for the duration of a war. The British Library has a pdf document available with some more information on army lists.

The very first army list detailing the post-Restoration army was published in 1684, an is known as Nathan Brooks' Army List. Very fortunate this publication is made available at EEBO! Though only detailing the English Establishment (so troops in Scotland and Ireland are not listed), it gives much contemporary information.

Information includes the establishments of the regiments (i.e., the official size of troops and companies), the colour of uniforms, details of colours carried.

For example, the Holland Regiment, commanded by John, the Earl of Mulgrave consists of twelve companies, but does not have a company of grenadiers. It is coated in red (unsure, the text is faded at this point), and lined with a flesh colour. The colour is a red cross, bordered white in a green field.

The page shown next is for the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards, and for the Royal Regiment of Foot (future Royal Scots).

Please contact the author if more information is required or wanted.

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