The Rifle Brigade Chronicle was first published by the regiment in 1890 and this release by Findmypast covers a complete run from 1890 to 1920. These volumes will be of particular interest to anyone who has a general fascination for the late Victorian and Edwardian regular army and the evolution, and destruction, of a regiment during the First World War. These books provide, in many cases, the only record of men who served with the Rifle Brigade, certainly up until 1914.
When you find your ancestor in the Rifle Brigade Chronicle you may discover the following facts about your ancestor:
Awards or medals
Like the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, The Rifle Brigade was headquartered at Winchester and fielded four regular battalions as well as militia battalions and later, battalions of the special and extra reserve as well as service battalions formed during the First World War. The chronicles record, in often minute detail, where these battalions were stationed and what they were doing in those stations. All serving officers are named, as well as colour sergeants and often other senior NCOs and some riflemen.
These volumes are often profusely illustrated with the men appearing in these photos usually named. The volume for 1893, in particular, includes a number of plates of named officers, warrant officers and NCOs from the 1st, 2nd and 4th Battalions as well as articles on such diverse topics as notes from the Crimea, the Mashonaland frontier delimitation, marching in India, and sport in Western Tibet. Sport played a big part of regimental life and inter-company and inter-regimental sports are often detailed at great length. Private Lee, for instance, won the ‘throwing the cricket ball’ competition with an effort of 98 yards, whilst Private Bennett won the competition for dribbling a football. Tiger-shooting is recorded as one of the sports for officers.
The 1900 volume is a double issue which includes detailed accounts of the Boer War. On the other hand, the Chronicle for 1917 is slim at only 104 pages but with nearly 30 of these pages taken up with obituaries.
These chronicles are fascinating glimpses into the daily workings of a proud regiment and its evolution from a relatively stable 1890, through to the Boer war then until the end of the First World War. Having been fully OCRd, for the first time it is also possible to quickly find the names of men who appear in multiple volumes.
These books provide, in many cases, the only record of men who served with the Rifle Brigade, certainly up until 1914, and as far as we are aware, this is the most complete collection of Rifle Brigade Chronicles published online and a welcome addition to our ever-growing military collection.
The Rifle Brigade can trace its history back to 1800 When Colonel Coote Manningham raised an ‘experimental corps of riflemen’ to provide sharpshooters, scouts and skirmishers to fight in North America. The regiment’s green uniform was a radical departure from the red uniform worn by other regiments and was designed to provide some camouflage for the soldiers fighting their way through North American forests.
The regiment has a proud history and has taken part in virtually every major conflict since its formation over two hundred years ago. Today, after many amalgamations, the regiment lives on in The Rifles