Alternative spelling Jaeger Corps
Initially the Corps was known as the British German Legion, or by variations such as the British German Legion Volunteers, the German Legion, the German Legion Volunteers Battalion and the German Volunteer Battalion. The terminology Jager Corps had been introduced by the end of 1859.
Contingents of troops of the British German Legion arrived in Bombay in 1858 from the Cape Colony (part of South Africa under British Occupation until 1910) for service in India on the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. They had their origins in the German Legion raised by the British to serve in the Crimea, which was then resettled in South Africa. These men were stated to be "in a great part not Germans, but men collected from continental seaport towns".
For further details , see the external links below.
In late 1859, over 500 men of the Jager Corps transferred into the 3rd Bombay (European) Regiment but still appear to have retained an identity as the Jager Corps,at least for a period of time, a few soldiers joined the Bombay Horse Artillery, and a number of soldiers elected to return to South Africa. The following appeared in Allen’s Indian Mail in January 1860, page 56
- "Dec. 13 .—Adverting to G. O. No. 1, (dated Sept. 12 last, the C. in C. has been pleased to direct the following arrangements with respect to the late Jager corps:—
- The volunteers to the 3rd Eur. regt. as below will be formed into 6 companies with such present organisation as Maj. gen. Sir H. Rose, com. Poona div. of the army, may be pleased to arrange, pending the final embodiment of this detach, with the hd. qrs. of their corps:—
- 5 staff sergeants, 31 sergeants, 28 corporals, 15 buglers, and 481 privates.
- [12 officers and an Assistant Surgeon were also named]
- The volunteers for the Bombay art. as below will join the hd. qrs. of the horse brigade:—
- 1 sergeant, 1 corporal, 1 bugler, and 22 privates.
- The non-commissioned officers, buglers, and privates noted as below, having elected to return to the Cape of Good Hope, will be formed into a separate detachment, and held prepared to embark for their destination under future orders:—
- 14 sergeants, 11 corporals, 1 bugler, and 346 privates.
- [There were also six officers named as not required]
Earlier volunteers from the German Legion
British Library records
- British Army in India: Nominal and Casualty Rolls of Jager Corps Volunteers IOR/L/MIL/15/31-36 1860-1866. Includes troops serving with the 109th Regiment of Foot. These records are also available on LDS microfilms 2030019-20 (Ordering microfilms)
- Discharge papers, Jager Corps IOR/L/MIL/12/283. 1859-1861. The soldiers’ names are listed and the regiment is given as 3rd ER (JC)
- 3rd Bombay (European) Regiment, later the 109th Regiment of Foot.
Some of the men from the Jager Corps ended up with the 33rd Regiment of Foot in the Abyssinian Campaign of 1867-8. The 33rd Foot was in India when the expedition to Abyssinia was organised, and had been there since 1857, so it seems very likely these men had transferred from the 109th Regiment, possibly to take part in the campaign.
- "A Leaf On A Turbulent River:Ensign Simner and the British German Legion, 1855-9" by Emrys Wynn Jones Military History Journal (The South African Military History Society)
- "Part 3 of 3: 'When I was in Poona!' The German Volunteer Battalion in India" Vol 13 No 4 December 2005
- (Earlier parts:"Part 1: 'By Her Majesty's Command' - Ensign Simner's Commission" Vol 13 No 2 December 2004, "Part 2: 'A New Life' - Military Settlers in Kaffraria" Vol 13 No 3 June 2005)
- Victorian Wars Forum post by Mark Simner dated 12 July 2009 about the history of his ancestor in the British German Legion
- The British-German Legion stutterheim.eci.co.za, an archived website. The origins of the Jager Corps.
- "Sir George Grey and the 1857 Indian Rebellion: the unmaking and making of an imperial career" by Jill Bender Boston College. html version, pdf A paper presented at Mutiny at the Margins New Perspectives on the Indian Uprising of 1857, Conference at the University of Edinburgh, George Square, Edinburgh, July 23rd-26th 2007.
- In 1860 the 3rd Bombay (European) Regiment, later the 109th Regiment of Foot in India was joined by over 500 men of the Jaeger Corps who had volunteered from the Cape Colony (part of South Africa under British Occupation until 1910) for service in India on the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. The Jager (Jaeger) Corps had its origin in the German Legion sent to the Crimea, which was then resettled in South Africa, although some of the men were not German.
Historical books online
- A short recollection written by the son of Colonel James Warwick Wooldridge prior to 1876 about the history of the regiment. Page 823 The Linzee family of Great Britain and the United States of America and the allied families of Penfold, Hood, Amory, Tilden, Hunt, Browne, Wooldridge [and] Evans: Volume 2 1917 Archive.org
- Extract:"There was an instructive instance of this in the German Legion which arrived at Poona in November and December 1858 from the Cape of Good Hope, with many of the men tainted with scurvy. They all recovered rapidly under the ordinary Indian ration, combined with the other favouring influences just adverted to. Page 147 Report on measures adopted for sanitary improvements in India 1869 Google Books
- Letter by Governor Sir George Grey dated Capetown 21 March 1859 Section concerning sending troops to India. Page 23 Accounts and papers of the House of Commons:7: Colonies (including Cape of Good Hope) Session 24 January-28 August 1860. Volume XLV Google Books
- Page 211 History of South Africa Since September 1795 Volume 3:1846-1860 by George McCall Theal first published 1908 Google Books. The circumstances in South Africa.
- "The East India Campaign", page 70 Ten years in South Africa. Only complete and authentic history of the British German Legion in South Africa and the East Indies. From the memoirs of Wm. Westphal 1892 Archive.org. This account indicates that a group of Volunteers arrived in Bombay 27 February 1860, many of whom died, and that some returned to South Africa later in the year. No other reference to this group has been found. Note this may not be a genuine account as there appear to be inconsistencies.
- Letter by Governor Sir George Grey dated Capetown 21 March 1859 page 22 Accounts and papers of the House of Commons:7: Colonies (including Cape of Good Hope) Session 24 January-28 August 1860. Volume XLV Google Books
- Page 135 The autobiography and services of Sir James McGrigor, bart: late Director-General of the Army Medical Department] 1861 Google Books
- References quoted in "'When I was in Poona!' The German Volunteer Battalion in India"