I’ve been collecting information on 18th century British army and navy officers for years. Living in the US and not having easy access to the War-Office records at the National Archives at Kew, I have relied on printed records, especially through Google Books and microfiche. I first focused on British Revolutionary War officers and orders of battle. A great starting point was Worthington Chauncey Ford’s, British Officers Serving in the American Revolution 1774-1783. https://archive.org/details/britishofficerss1897ford. Ford listed the regiments involved and then each officer alphabetically with his rank, regiment and date(s) of commission.
I then began to look back to the Seven Years’ War and officer services in both America and worldwide. Ford had a similar book for this period, British Officers Serving in America, 1754-1774, https://archive.org/details/britishofficerss00ford.
Ford drew his information from the printed Army Lists which were printed once or twice a year on behalf of the War-Office.
Below is a list of the army lists printed from 1754 to 1763:
|Edition||Date Published||Year Published|
The issue with Ford’s Seven Years’ War list was that it was missing reference to some of the Army lists printed in the late 1750s, causing gaps in the officer commission information.
Below is a facsimile of the August, 1755 Army List, Dublin edition, which will be published shortly:
L I S T
General and Field OFFICERS, as they Rank in the Army.
LIST of the Officers in the several Regiments of
Horse, Dragoons, and Foot, &c.
BRITISH and IRISH Establishments:
Dates of their Commissions, as they Rank in each Corps.
A List of the Governors, Lieutenant-Governors, &c. of His Majesty’s Garrisons at Home and Abroad, with their allowances.
The OFFICERS of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, the
Marines, and the BRITISH and IRISH Half Pay.
To which are added,
The Quarters of the Army in IRELAND, in the year 1755.
Also, the SUCCESSION of COLONELS to all His Majesty’s Land Forces, from their rise to the present Time; with the General View of the Names and Rank of the several Corps in His Majesty’s Army, with their Number (Officers included) and where they now are; and a Table of the FULL PAY and SUBSISTANCE of His Majesty’s Forces on the British and Irish Establishments, &c.
The Whole to August 1755.
Admittedly, Ford’s focus was solely on North America and the West Indies, but there was a great deal of additional information included in each printed Army List as can be seen above. In the main, data was presented by seniority by corps and then, within the corps, seniority by rank.
In Ford’s works, there was no need of an index as the officers were listed alphabetically. The drawback was that it is very difficult to know which officers were in which regiment at any particular time. Since the printed lists were laid out by regiment, it was easy to know the officer corps of a regiment at the date of publication. However, until the 1770s, the printed lists did not contain an index, so the reader would need to know the regiment the officer.
The version of the 1755 Army List that will be printed soon will contain the positive aspects of the existing works by faithfully reproducing page by page the original list as well as containing an officer index for ease of use.