1870s Military Discharges

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The Cardwell Reforms refer to a series of reforms of the British Army undertaken by Secretary of State for War (and former soldier) Edward Cardwell between 1868 and 1874 with the support of Liberal Prime Minister William E. Gladstone. Gladstone paid little attention to military affairs but he was keen on efficiency. In 1870 pushed through Parliament major changes in Army organization. Germany's stunning triumph over France proved that the Prussian system of professional soldiers with up-to-date weapons was far superior to the traditional system of gentlemen-soldiers that Britain used. The reforms were not radical--they had been brewing for years and Gladstone seized the moment to enact them. The goal was to centralize the power of the War Office, abolish purchase of officers' commissions, and to create reserve forces stationed in Britain by establishing short terms of service for enlisted men. This is a data base of the 1870's discharges compiled from WO 121 - it covers around 50,000 Men from the cavalry and 1-59th Foot regiments. Unfortunately the quality of the microfilm used to store these records was so badly degraded it was impossible to access the remaining 60-120th regiments of foot.

Records in this collection are likely to include the following:

  • Surname
  • first name and second initial (where applicable)
  • year of discharge
  • regiment/unit.

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: Reproduced courtesy of Kevin Asplin

This dataset is part of a larger collection:

Asplin Military Datasets

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