Thursday, 18 September 2014

The First Colonial Soldiers ~~ progressive insights on tackling a large subject

In a previous blog the pending publication of The First Colonial Soldiers was announced. This work, a true Anglo-Dutch joint operation, was scheduled for this autumn.

However, given the lack of existing publications in this area that tackle the subject of colonial soldiering, we ended up with a lot of new information digested into our planned book. Initially the book was thought to number about 400 pages. That became soon 500, and this broke the 600 boundary. With the end only marginally visible.

So, instead of lumping all information into a big volume we decided to split the subject into two volumes:

Volume 1: the British Isles, Europe, Asia and Africa
this volume deals with the several of British possessions in Europe like Dunkirk, Gibraltar and the Channel Islands. It also tackles the beginnings of the British  empire in India and touches on the West African Gold Coast. This volume is to be published in November 2014.

Volume 2: the Americas and the Caribbean
this volumes deals with the colonies in the New World and the temporary holdings in that part of the world. Discussed are the militias of those colonies, the expeditions and battles, the regular forces sent from England, and much more. This volume is to be published in March 2015.

Though designated "Volume 1" and "Volume 2", the volumes can be read independent of each other as each comes with its own introduction, list of references, indices, illustrations and maps.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Paymaster General's Account Book 1690

A few years ago the Account Book of the Paymaster General of the army of William III for the year 1690 was discovered in the Belfast City Hall. See for example and

This Account Book by Paymaster General Thomas Coningsby lists the payments made to the regiments in William III's army, and those made to hospitals, intelligence, etc.

It is a bit unfortunate and strange that this document is kept by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland in Belfast, and not by an institution like the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland.

Nevertheless, this Orange Lodge made a rather nice workbook based on this Account Book. Though aimed at children, it will be nice for adults too: paymaster-general-workbook.pdf. Unfortunately there is no further information regarding accessibility of this Account Book for researchers. I truly hope this document is not abused for pursuing a political agenda.

Contrary to rumours and gossip, this Account Book does not contain the names of all men in William III's army. It does, however, contain the names of about 400 officers. With about 40 officers in a regiment of foot, this means that this Account Book does neither contain all officers in William III's.

But anyway, let's hope that the information in this document will become available soon!