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BOOK - Tracing the Rifle Volunteers, A Guide For Military and Family Historians
By Ray Westlake
From 1859 to 1908 the Rifle Volunteers played an essential role in Britainís national defence, yet their history has been sadly neglected. Little information is available on these dedicated, amateur soldiers who were recruited into the ranks of a military organization that flourished across the country. But now, in this invaluable book, Ray Westlake, a leading authority on the military history of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, provides a concise, accessible introduction to the Rifle Volunteers and a comprehensive directory of the units raised in each county and each town.
The following reviews shed much light on the exceptional content and quality of this fine book:
- ... This book gives us clues as to how locally formed units were variously amalgamated and disbanded. In particular, it gives the details of the way the Rifle Volunteers were organised between 1859 to 1908. For family historians, this work will provide a reference text for the unit formation history of the Volunteer Rifle Battalions, its principal characters, significant dates and actions in which they served. There are additional details covering uniforms and the background of the communities they were drawn from. The book is usefully organised by county, with details of local companies formed in towns and villages from local men. For Lancastrians, Companies were formed from Lytham to Burnley, and Ulverston to Wigan. Cadet Battalions and Officer Training Corps (OTC) are also included. Many of the units described were the forerunners of instantly recognisable Infantry Battalions - The Kings Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), The Kings (Liverpool Regiment), The Manchester Regiment, East Lancashire Regiment, and many more.
The book includes photographic plates and engravings of the period, and attempts to give a little of the historical context by relating the formations to significant events of the period.
Reviewed by Mike Coyle, Lancashire FHS
- ... This will be a useful reference work for anyone studying the Victorian army, and it will also be of interest to the family historian who had discovered an ancestor who served in the Rifle Volunteers.
History of War [magazine]
The books main strength is the comprehensive county by county account of each unit. The key officers from each unit are identified as well as the trades and professions of the volunteers. Each unit is traced through the various reorganisations throughout the Rifle Volunteersí history. The local background of the units is also highlighted, giving the reader a sense of the community from whence they came.
The book is an invaluable resource and is essential reading for anyone interested in this often neglected part of Britainís military history.
Your Family History [magazine]
Ray Westlake has done extensive research for his book and has produced a comprehensive history of all the units with details of recruitment, dress, training, weapons and drill. He has written a missing part of history.
In this invaluable book Ray Westlake, a leading authority on the military history of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, provides a concise, accessible introduction to the Rifle Volunteers and a comprehensive directory of the units raised in each country and each town.
Kent Family History Society Journal
6.25 X 9.25"
Detailed Table of Contents
Photos and Illustrations (16)
Hardcover with dust jacket
Published by Pen and Sword Books, S. Yorkshire, UK (2010)
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