One of the first places to look for details of officers serving in the British Army are the various Army Lists that have been published in some form or another since Nathan Brooks produced the first one in 1684. After Brooks produced his list, many years elapsed before the Government published the first official list of officers. Since then, there have been many types of Army List - some were published by the Government; others were produced privately. Some came out every year, whilst others appeared each month or every 3 months.
amount of information recorded in each one depends on many factors,
but the minimum that you may expect to find about an officer is
the other end of the scale, you may be lucky enough to find the
following as well:
Do not expect to find all the above information for the officer you are looking for - it would be highly unusual for everything to be given!
Army Lists are not only useful in determining an officer's regiment or basic service details. Here are some other useful bits of information that you may find in an Army List:
Just as the amount of information given about a particular officer varies from List to List, so does the more general information above. Locations are a case in point. They were first introduced in Hart's Lists in 1840, and the idea was followed up in the Official Lists. During the Great War the locations of units were omitted from the Official Lists, but they were then re-introduced after the war had ended, only to be omitted again for the Second World War.
Please note that family details and addresses are not listed
The first "proper" Army
List was an official list, published in 1754. To begin with, it
only gave the minimum of information, and these early lists did
not even contain all the Army's officers! Over the years, the
scope was broadened:
1755 The Irish Establishment was
1756 Royal Artillery and Royal Marines were added
1757 Royal Engineers were added
Nowadays, the official list is
just called The Army List, and is available from booksellers in
Part I is the most commonly found volume, and it lists all active (as opposed to retired) officers in both the Regular Army and the Territorial Army. It is produced every year, and lists the officer's:
Part II contains an alphabetical
listing of all retired officers, and a new edition is produced
every three years with supplements issued for the intervening
years. The information held in this volume is:
There is also a Part III to the Army List which is only for internal use, and not available to the public.
The most useful and commonly found
unofficial Army List was produced by Lieutenant
H G Hart of the 49th Regiment of Foot in 1840, and annually
thereafter until 1915. These are usually referred to as Hart's
Annual Army Lists, although the proper title changed over the
To begin with, there were two main advantages of Hart's Lists over the Official Army Lists:
Lieutenant Hart continued to serve in the Army whilst he was compiling his lists, and died a Lieutenant General in 1878. His son, A Fitzroy Hart, took over the production of the List, and it continued in production until the start of The Great War.
Hart also produced a series of Quarterly Army Lists from 1839 to 1914, to accompany the Annual Lists, but these quarterly lists are much rarer.