Unattached List

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The Unattached List recorded Warrant Officers (Conductors and Sub- Conductors) and Non-Commissioned Officers (mainly Sergeants) who were not attached to a regiment. This mainly covered soldiers working for the Ordnance, Commissariat and Public Works Departments. Before 1859 this list was known as the Town Major's List in Bengal/Bombay and Effective Supernumeraries in Madras.

G.O.G.G. of 24th November 1821, in respect of Bengal, issued the "Rules for the re-establishment of the Town Major’s List".[1] The staff it applied to included the Ordnance and Army Commissariats, and all Departments of Army or Garrison Staff, Public Offices, Military Agencies, Charitable Asylums, and the Stud and Ecclesiastical Department.

In respect of the later years (1900 onwards) "...the term 'Unattached List' refers to those British Army NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers) who were seconded from their regiments to do duty with the Indian Army mainly in the following administrative departments: Royal Indian Army Service Corps, Indian Army Ordnance Corps, Military Engineer Services and Public Works Department, Indian Army Corps of Clerks, Remount Department, Military Farms Department. There were also a number of miscellaneous appointments on the Unattached List comprehended under the term 'India Miscellaneous List' [2] or the alternative name 'Indian Miscellaneous List', or I.M.L.. There was also an earlier Bengal Miscellaneous List.

The Supply and Transport Corps (S&T) was retitled in 1923 and became the Indian Army Service Corps (IASC) and in 1935 the Royal Indian Army Service Corps (RIASC).[3]

Sergeant Instructors with Volunteer or Auxiliary Regiments were also generally on the Unattached List for the period they were with the Volunteer Regiment. They usually returned to their original regiment, particularly if that regiment was leaving India.

Sergeants’ Occupations

(nb. For purposes of online searching it is to be noted that the word is more often spelled as "Serjeant")

The following list provides examples of the variety of occupations in which a sergeant could be employed. Many of these positions were of significant importance and standing and the chance to attain them was one of the attractions of joining the Company's army rather than the King's/Queen's army.[4]

  • Arrack Godown Sergeant (arrack or arak, a coarse spirit distilled from grain, rice, sugar cane etc; godown, a warehouse)
  • Barrack Sergeant
  • Bazar (or Bazaar) Sergeant
  • Bullock Sergeant
  • Cantonment Sergeant-Major
  • Commissariat Staff Sergeant
  • Engineering Sergeant-Major
  • Garrison Sergeant
  • Hospital Sergeant
  • Key Sergeant
  • Laboratory Sergeant
  • Quarter Master Sergeant, who could perform these duties in a Native Infantry Regiment, or other East India Company Army, or Indian Army, Regiment, or Artillery.
  • Road Sergeant
  • Saluting Sergeant
  • Sergeant Instructor
  • Sergeant Overseer
  • Signal Sergeant
  • Store Sergeant

Duties of one soldier while on the Unattached List included the training in weaponry of the builders of one of the Indian railways in the hills (probably the Kalka-Simla), in order to defend themselves from attacks which were an ever present threat.[5]

FIBIS resources

  • Peter Bailey, "The 'Unattached List'," FIBIS Journal, No 12 (Autumn 2004). For details of how to access this article online, see FIBIS Journals.
  • Lawrie Butler, "The Marriages of Margaret McCombe: A combined London-Sydney effort" FIBIS Journal No 24 (Autumn 2010), pages 12-18. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals. This article includes research in respect of a Barrack Sergeant
  • Carol Gilbert, "Fanciful Memories? The Foothead Family and India" FIBIS Journal No 24 (Autumn 2010), pages 29-35. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals. This article includes research in respect of a Road Sergeant, Effective Supernumeraries
  • Michael Garnett, "William Garnett, the Volunteering Major" FIBIS Journal No 26 (Autumn 2011), pages 26-30. He joined the Bengal Unattached List in 1883 and was located at Cawnpore, where he worked for a time with the Army Boot Factory. He was appoined Commissary and Honorary Major in 1912. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals
  • Joan Harrison, "The Memoirs of John Norton of the Bombay Mint" FIBIS Journal Number 34 (Autumn 2015) pages 18-26. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals.
John Norton left England in November 1819 for Bombay, as an artilleryman in the Bombay Artillery. He was appointed to the Gun Carriage Manufactory and subsequently became a Sub Conductor of Ordnance. He was subsequently appointed to the Bombay Mint, where he was required to resign from the Army.

Records

India Office Records at the British Library
In addition to the following, for earlier years not listed, the (general) Muster Rolls for each Presidency for the appropriate years may contain a Town Major’s List or equivalent.

  • Bengal Army Muster Rolls and Casualty Returns: IOR/L/MIL/10/177 1856 includes Town Major's List
  • Bengal Army Muster Rolls and Casualty Returns: IOR/L/MIL/10/178 1857 includes Town Major's List
  • Bengal Army Muster Rolls and Casualty Returns: IOR/L/MIL/10/179 1858 includes Town Major's List
  • Bengal Army Muster Rolls and Casualty Returns: IOR/L/MIL/10/181 1859 includes Unattached List
  • Bengal Army Muster Rolls and Casualty Returns: IOR/L/MIL/10/183 1860 includes Unattached List
  • Bengal Army Annual Returns - Unattached List IOR/L/MIL/10/201-252 1859-1907
  • Bengal Army Monthly Casualty Returns - Unattached List IOR/L/MIL/10/253-300 1866-1907
  • Madras Army Annual Returns and Casualty Rolls - Unattached List IOR/L/MIL/11/186-231 1863-1907
  • Madras Army Quarterly and Monthly Returns and Casualty Rolls - Unattached List IOR/L/MIL/11/232-276 1853-1907
  • Bombay Army Monthly Returns and Casualty Rolls - Unattached List IOR/L/MIL/12/198-265 1855-1907
  • Bombay Army Annual Returns - Unattached List IOR/L/MIL/12/266-280 1893-1907
  • Supply & Transport Corps: Register of services of British subordinates of the Supply & Transport Corps, 6th Poona Division, Bombay Army IOR/L/MIL/12/289 1872-1914
  • India Unattached List Annual Returns IOR/L/MIL/14/144-175 1908-1944
  • India Unattached List Annual Returns - Burma Division IOR/L/MIL/14/176-182 1904-1910
  • India Unattached List Monthly Increase and Decrease Statements IOR/L/MIL/14/183-190 1907-1914
  • India Unattached List Monthly Increase and Decrease Statements - Burma Division IOR/L/MIL/14/191-194 1904-1907
  • Collection 46 Warrant and non-commissioned officers: position, pay, leave, promotion, discharge, etc. IOR/L/MIL/7/1877-2135 1867-1942 includes
    • Collection 46/153 Time scale of promotion for the India Miscellaneous List. IOR/L/MIL/7/2039 1918-1923
  • Special category of Departmental and Warrant Officers IOR/L/AG/21/14 1950-1956
  • Temporary British personnel (other ranks only) enlisted or re-enlisted in the Indian Army Supply & Transport Corps, 1914-1919 IOR/L/MIL/15/37. Includes name, rank, military number, British Unit and next of kin. Also available on LDS microfilm 2030020

Soldiers in the period to c 1860 (varies according to Presidency) should also appear in the Registers of European Soldiers, refer Bengal Army, Madras Army and Bombay Army.

It is possible, although not known definitely, that there may be records in the series "Indian Army Records of Service IOR/L/MIL/14/239/1-72481" c 1901-1947. For more details about this series of records, see Indian Army-Records, which also includes information about records at the National Archives of India.

Microfilms held elsewhere

  • LDS (Mormon) films/digitised microfilms:
  • The Madras Unattached List records "Madras Army Annual Returns and Casualty Rolls - Unattached List IOR/L/MIL/11/186-231 1863-1907" and "Madras Army Quarterly and Monthly Returns and Casualty Rolls - Unattached List IOR/L/MIL/11/232-276 1853-1907", refer above, are stated to be included in the LDS microfilm series called "Madras army muster, quarterly, annual and casualty rolls, 1762-1907", film catalogue entry which consists of India Office Collection no.: L/MIL/11/109-276. There are however 41 microfilms in this series, and it is not stated which are the films in respect of the Unattached List. As a "best guess" the Unattached List films appear to be film no. 1886057 and 1886079-1886083 (annual returns) and 1886084 onwards (quarterly returns).
  • Bombay Army monthly returns and casualty rolls - unattached list, 1855-1907 L/MIL/12/198-265 Film catalogue entry
  • For years where the Town Major's List or equivalent is to be found in the general Muster Rolls, relevant microfilms may be found through links on the pages Bengal Army and Bombay Army. For the Madras Army, see the pre 1863 microfilms in the LDS catalogue entry in the paragraph above. The relevant Army pages also contain links to the microfilms of the Registers of European Soldiers (to c 1860), noting the Bombay records have been transcribed by FIBIS.
  • See FamilySearch Centres for information about the viewing of microfilms and digitised microfilms.

External links

Historical books online

  • "The Bengal Commissariat Part 1" page 144 The Calcutta Gazette, Volume 54 1872 Hathi Trust Digital Library
  • Bengal Army Commissariat Department July 1874 showing Warrant Officers, page 78, The Indian Army and Civil Service List July 1874. Hathi Trust Digital Library. Note the more senior Warrant Officers being Deputy Commissary, Assistant Commissary and Deputy Assistant Commissary had Honorary Officer rank. The Conductors are then listed.
  • Warrant Officers page 89 Sketches of a Soldier's Life in India by Staff Sergeant Thomas Quinney, Hon. East India Company’s Service, 1853 Google Books. The author arrived in Bombay May 1827 and was invalided in January 1841.

References

  1. Calcutta Annual Register 1821 Retrieved 28 Jul 2014.
  2. Special category of Departmental and Warrant Officers IOR/L/AG/21/14 discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk
  3. Frogsmile. "what rank are these uniforms, post 24" Great War Forum, 26 May 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  4. Bailey, Peter. "Bazaar Sergeant" Rootsweb India Mailing List, 2 Apr 2000. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  5. Benham, Patrick. "Unattached List", Rootsweb India Mailing List, 12 May 2010. When reading this post, click about half way to expand. Retrieved 6 October 2018.