Military personnel serving in Fife during Revolutionary War

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There were many different types of auxiliary home defence forces in Britain during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

The Fencible Regiments of both Infantry and Cavalry existed during the Revolutionary Wars and mainly saw service in Great Britain and Ireland where several were involved against the 1798 United Irish uprising. The Fencibles were recruited for home service only but like the Regulars of the period all the men volunteered for full time service and could come from any part of the country.

The Militia served through both and beyond lasting through the Victorian and Edwardian periods before being converted into Special Reserve in 1909. The Militia was a semi conscripted force, in theory filled by ballot, however many paid for substitutes to take their place and so service in a county Militia does not necessarily mean the man was from the county. The Militia was embodied (i.e. serving full time) during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars but reverted to occasional training periods and musters in peacetime and did so for another century.

The Volunteers were the Dads Army of the day, local men in a village or town under arms part time and training in order to protect their own homes and loved ones. The composition of the Volunteers follows the local hierarchy with the local worthies as officers, tradesmen as nco’s and labourers etc as Privates. The Volunteers were gradually reorganised during the period from the scores of independent companies in the 1790’s to larger Battalions in 1803 eventually being remodelled as Local Militia in 1808 with training periods similar to the peacetime Militia.

This database gives details of all the men serving with the auxiliary forces of the County of Fife during the period and is primarily taken from the muster rolls in the WO 13 series at the National Archive, supplemented by details in the WO 12, WO 10, WO 97, WO 119, WO 25 series plus many additional sources. While the 34th (Fifeshire) Militia was entirely recruited by Fife the earlier 5th North British was shared between Fife, Stirling, Clackmannan and Kinross. The database includes all those known to have served in the Militia up to 1855 when the Regiment was converted to Artillery. It excludes a few other "local units", the records for the Loyal Tay Fencibles and Elgin Fencibles which were raised in the vicinity have not been included. It also excludes the records for the Culross Volunteers, as that unit was classified as Perthshire and the Fife Yeomanry as no complete muster for the period has been located although partial records do survive.

Records in this collection are likely to include the following:

  • primary unit
  • duty location
  • firstname
  • surname
  • rank
  • service from date
  • service to date
  • remarks1
  • remarks2
  • age

Please be aware that due to the way we collate, and cross reference our databases, some records will contain more information than that listed above.

Original Source: National Archives reference WO13

This dataset is part of a larger collection:

This dataset is part of the Fife Military Project, licensed courtesy of Richard Dickens.

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