Bloodline – The Origins and Development of the Regular Army Formations of the British Army
By Iain Gordon
Published by Pen and Sword (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk)
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This excellent text considers the lineage of the Regular Army formations of the British Army. It has been a major research project and the author has produced an outstanding guide of the “hereditary” of Regular Army units. However, it does not consider the extensive legions of the Yeomanry, Volunteers and Militia, or the splendid Territorial Army which would be massive undertakings in their own right.
Given the scope of the project (as outlined above) Mr Gordon has produced a wonderful volume that significantly aids research into the principal regiments and formations. It confines itself to the significant changes in each Regiment’s development and does not attempt to record all of the frequent changes in titles. In the early days of the British Army regiments were called after their Colonel’s name. This meant that the regiments changed their names so frequently it was hard, and it still is difficult, to list all these changes. As the Army developed this trend ceased and regiments no longer bore their Colonel’s name.
The author has placed great diligence in producing this book. It starts with an introduction to the background of the formation of regiments and he has included a “Precedence and Evolution” table listing the 1751, 1861 and 1881 (Post-Childers’ Reforms) of the regiments. This data is presented in a way that is easy to follow and aids research. Often it is necessary when researching regiments to know the current and previous names of the regiments. Without a table like this would you know that the “10th Regiment of Foot” in 1751 became the “Lincolnshire Regiment” in 1881 and eventually became part of the “Royal Anglian Regiment” in 2008?
Not only does the outstanding usefulness of this publication rest there but there are superb notes on the history of individual battalions (within regiments), their lineage, any appropriate marches, the regimental museum, battle honours, their Home Headquarters and any affiliated formations. To name but a few features.
The “write-ups” on the formations are categorised by their modern day “parents”. The Royal Horse Artillery, the Cavalry (Household, Heavy and Light), the Guards Division, Infantry of the Line (Scottish, Queen’s, King’s, Irish and the Prince of Wales Divisions), Gurkhas, Special Forces and the supporting units (Logistics, Medical, Engineers, Personnel etc) form the structure for listing the regimental details. Some formations do not have modern day counterparts and these discontinued units are also listed.
If you conduct research into the main elements of the British Army then this is an invaluable guide as to their lineage, hereditary and modern counterparts. The author has produced an outstanding reference text in one easy to follow volume. He has done great service to aiding researchers with this publication. In one excellent volume he has listed the principal elements of the Army and their histories. This concise volume deserves space on any serious researcher’s shelf.