In this question I asked about the meaning of the assignment "depot battalion" in Hart's Annual Army List, a book that lists the assignments of every British officer in the Victoria era, each year.

It appears to mean the officer was assigned to a sort of reserve battalion associated with a regiment, rather than to a service battalion.

However, listings like the third one on this page do not indicate which regiment the officer was assigned to, only that they were assigned to some depot battalion.

Is there some general way to determine which regiment a person was assigned to?

Failing that, why were such detailed records kept of most assignments, but not those to depot battalions?

1 Answer 1


A more readable copy of the 1887 Hart's List here

The reference being asked about is this mention of:

enter image description here

In summary, Brevet Col. Cardew's posting is to Staff Officer of Pensioners located at an appropriate Depot Battalion; in his case that of the Hounslow Regimental District - serving the 7th Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) and the 57th 1st Battalion Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment). He continues to draw his Captain's half-pay from the 9th Foot, to which he transferred from the 19th foot effective 23 October 1857.
enter image description here


  • Capt. h.p.
    Designating that although commissioned as a Lt. Col., Lt. Col. Cardew has accepted his current posting at the pay grade of half-pay Captain.
    This signifies that Col. Cardew has a substantive rank of Captain, half-pay. Here is the announcement from the Gazette Archive for 15 January 1884 (London) announcing the promotion to Colonel of Captain and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel A. M. Cardew:

    enter image description here

  • Depot Battalion
    The 7th and 57th Regiments of Foot shared a depot battalion in London at this time, at Hounslow Barracks.

    In 1875, the site was significantly expanded to create infantry barracks. Two years earlier a system of recruiting areas based on counties was instituted under the Cardwell Reforms and the barracks became the depot for the two battalions of the 7th Regiment of Foot. Following the Childers Reforms, the regiment evolved to become the Royal Fusiliers with its depot in the barracks in 1881. In 1875, the barracks also became the depot for the 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot and the 77th (East Middlesex) Regiment of Foot. Following the Childers Reforms, the 57th and 77th regiments amalgamated to form the Middlesex Regiment with its depot in the barracks in 1881. By 1884, the barracks had its own railway station on the newly created London Underground

    However Staff Officers of Pensioners listing shows Lt. Col. Cardew assigned to the Regent's Park Barracks

    enter image description here

  • S. O. of Pensioners
    Refers to current appointment as a Staff Officer of Pensioners enter image description here

    Lt. Col. Ambrose Cardew's war service description is listed further down on that page as enter image description here

    The Gazette Archives for 8 October 1854 (London) and 15 December 1854 (London), respectively, expand on this:

    enter image description here enter image description here

  • 7,57 LONDON
    A Station reference to the Regimental District for the 7th Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) and the 57th 1st Bn. Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) as noted here:
    enter image description here
    .enter image description here

    The Regimental Districts were formed as part of the Cardwell Reforms by the Regulation of the Forces Act 1871, abolishing General Service and providing for division of the country into 66 Brigade (Later Regimental) Districts.

    Previously, soldiers had enlisted for General Service, and were liable to be drafted into any regiment regardless of their own preferences, another factor that had made service harsh and unpopular.


    Under Cardwell's localisation scheme, the country was divided into 66 Brigade Districts (later renamed Regimental Districts), based on county boundaries and population density. All line infantry regiments would now consist of two battalions, sharing a depot and associated recruiting area. One battalion would serve overseas, while the other was stationed at home for training. The militia of that area then (usually) became the third battalion.

    Lt. Col. Cardew was posted to the 7,57 London Regimental District as of publication of the 1887 Hart's List: enter image description here

    The 1871 edition of Hart's Army List shows that (then Captain) Cardew was recently appointed as a Staff Officer of Pensioners, on Oct. 1, 1870, and provides additional detail of the conditions for that service:

    enter image description here

  • 1
    In my experience, h.p would normally indicate a half-pay officer. Aug 4, 2018 at 22:19
  • @sempaiscuba: Of course! I've only read Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey a couple of times each. Clearly it's time to read them both again. Aug 4, 2018 at 22:22
  • Okay - I think I am done. I had far toooo much fun researching this. Hopefully it is appreciated for the links to Hart's Army List and the Gazette Archives if nothing else. I feel like I almost know Col. Cardew now. Aug 5, 2018 at 21:41

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