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European NCOs and Private Soldiers

These pages provide guidance to family historians on how to use sources from the India Office Records such as occupational descriptions or types of documents (wills, pensions or ecclesiastical records for example).

British soldiers at Lucknow

British soldiers at Lucknow, 1857-8. Photo 165(1). © The British Library Board.

Recruitment records

Embarkation Lists 1753-1861, L/MIL/9/85-106. Apart from the names of the NCOs and private soldiers, some of the Embarkation Lists also supply details of place of origin, and names of the few wives and children who accompanied recruits to India.

Registers of Recruits give details of a recruit's place of birth, age, and former employment, together with a physical description.

Depot Registers:
Infantry recruits 1801-1860, L/MIL/9/37-46
Artillery recruits 1811-1860, L/MIL/9/29-34
Cavalry recruits 1857-1860, L/MIL/9/35-36.

Registers arranged chronologically by recruiting district 1817-1860, L/MIL/9/1-28.

Annual Unattached Lists provide details of recruitment and present posting. Before 1906, they generally give details of age and place of birth.
Bengal Army 1859-1907, L/MIL/10/201-252
Madras Army 1863-1907, L/MIL/11/186-231
Bombay Army 1860-1907, L/MIL/12/209-280
Indian Army 1908-1944, L/MIL/14/144-175.

Service records

Muster Rolls and Casualty Returns usually give details of the battalion or troop to which each soldier was attached. They also include casualty lists and lists of invalids, pensioners and NCOs on the Town Majors' Lists / Effective Supernumeraries:
Bengal Army 1716-1861, L/MIL/10/130-185
Madras Army 1762-1861, L/MIL/11/109-169
Bombay Army 1708-1865, L/MIL/12/117-197.

Registers of EIC European Soldiers give personal details of enlisted men including place of origin, in a roughly alphabetical order by year of arrival:
Bengal 1788-1860, L/MIL/10/122-129
Madras 1786-1860, L/MIL/11-101-108
Bombay 1795-1862, L/MIL/12/109-116.

The services of European soldiers after 1859 can be traced year by year through the Unattached Lists:
Bengal Army 1859-1907, L/MIL/10/201-252
Madras Army 1863-1907, L/MIL/11/186-231
Bombay Army 1860-1907, L/MIL/12/209-280
Indian Army 1908-1944, L/MIL/14/144-175.