Military Monday: British Courts Martial 1851-1901

One of the interesting resources on the website of Wilfrid Laurier University History Prof Amy Milne-Smith is an excel document with transcriptions of all Courts Martial (CM) from the WO 90/3 and WO 90/4 series at the National Archives in London 1851-1901.

The more than six thousand cases indexed include date, rank, name, regiment, location of CM, charge, sentence and any remittances. 

The 656 locations where the proceedings occurred give insight into the scope of colonial military activities. The top ten locations where CM occurred are:

Place Count of Courts Martial
Ladysmith 291
Halifax 251
Malta 218
Gibraltar 211
Montreal 162
Quebec 157
Port Louis 130
King William’s Town 108
Toronto 87
Colombo 73

In total more of these were in South Africa and India than Canada (as now constituted). The Royal Artillery accounted for a larger number than any other regiment.

While the transcriptions are raw there’s lots of potential for research, for individuals as I’ll illustrate in a couple of posts, and for social/military history.

Another source linked from Amy Milne-Smith’s website is a series of nearly 40 military diaries available online, most for the second half of the 19th century. One, Wolseley, Garnet J. The Story of a Soldier’s Life v. 2, 1903,  has the most extensive coverage of service in Canada.

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