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"Taken on Strength"


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#1 Countrygal

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 05:15 PM

Could any one help with a definition of the phrase "taken on strength" and "struck off strength" -- I have my grandfathers military records and these phrases come up often. He in the 166th Battalion then transferred to the 124th Battalion. The abbreviations can be a bit confusing – can any one help…Thanks rolleyes.gif



#2 montbrehain

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 05:25 PM

No doubt somebody will come along soon and give you "chapter and verse", but in the meantime ... it means actually being counted as one of the battalion. and struck off strength meaning no longer one of the battalion therefore no longer counted or included in the number of men the battalion has . (think Im right in that unsure.gif) "MO" p.s. If your not on strength the battalion has no commitment to feed , clothe you etc etc

#3 truthergw

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 05:26 PM

In practice, it means he was permanently transferred and not just temporarily loaned.

#4 montbrehain

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 05:30 PM

Oh yes , welcome to the forum "MO"

#5 centurion

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 07:59 PM

It originates from the day when colonels were sort of contractors supplying regiments to the Crown and paid by the number of soldiers provided so that on the strength meant that a certain sum of money was paid for that individual to the col. He then had to pay, feed and cloth the soldier. In became the practice for some regiments to have more men recorded as 'on the strength' than were actually present. This provided some spare cash for various 'welfare' payments to sick or retired soldiers (but often just went straight into the colonel's pocket). Authorised soldier's wives etc where also recorded 'on the strength' for distribution of rations. Some regiments would have such a discrepancy between the recorded no. of soldiers and the actuals that colonels would be forced to borrow men from other regiments when inspectors came around. This was one of the many abuses that the (Grand Old) Duke of York began to stamp out in his time at the War Office.

By WW1 it meant that the regiment/battalion was responsible for feeding and accommodating the man and supplies /monies would be allocated for this purpose. When I did some work on military payroll systems in the 1970s the term was still in use.

#6 Pete1052

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 08:08 PM

We saw the same kind of "ghost soldier" abuses in the South Vietnamese army as well as today in the Iraqi army and police forces.

#7 truthergw

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 08:39 PM

I think the goat of the RWF is on the strength? Possibly some other regimental mascots.

#8 Tom A McCluskey

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 07:44 AM

Countrygal,

Regardless of any historic 'gerrymandering', TOS (Taken on Strength) & SOS (Struck off Strength) will be familiar terms to many on the forum. It is you first official day (TOS) at a unit and official departing day (SOS) from a unit. An infantry battalion would have an 'Establishment' which was the amount of men it was scaled for. At the beginning of the war this sat at about 1,000 men. Losses & permanent departures would be Struck off Strength (the strengh of the Establishment), and any drafts provided to make good would be Taken on Strength.

CQMS Forbes had both legs blown off, but remained conscious, and as he was carried away he called out gaily to the Q.M. (Captain McLachlan): “This is another off the ration strength, sir!” He died a little later. Many at home were grieved by his death: for he used to be the rescue man on the beach at St Andrews, and all the holiday-makers knew him.
From Haunting Years by William Linton Andrews.

Aye

Tom McC

#9 JamesM

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 08:51 AM

QUOTE (truthergw @ Mar 17 2008, 08:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think the goat of the RWF is on the strength? Possibly some other regimental mascots.


I think too that there's a goat (as reg mascot) - still on the strength of the RWF - at Maindy Barroacks in Cardiff - or at least, there was only a few years ago.
Cheers
James

#10 GRUMPY

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 09:13 AM

QUOTE (truthergw @ Mar 17 2008, 08:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think the goat of the RWF is on the strength? Possibly some other regimental mascots.


The regiment never refers to the Royal Goat as a mascot, which it is not.


#11 Countrygal

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 12:46 PM

Thanks everyone -- you have been a great help and my Grandfathers Military records are beginning to make some sense on where he served. As I read his record the TOS and SOS always then listed the Battalion to and from.. tongue.gif



#12 truthergw

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 12:59 PM

QUOTE (GRUMPY @ Mar 18 2008, 09:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The regiment never refers to the Royal Goat as a mascot, which it is not.


I had a vague idea that I had read that somewhere, I stand corrected. What then, is The Royal Goat?

#13 Tyneside Chinaman

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 05:41 PM

Hi

Two other terms are also used on some soldiers records, mainly Australian,

"Marched in" and "Marched out" mainly used in the British Army for men and families taking over married quarters today.

But in earlier times a battalion would "march in" to a new station or garrison and then a few years later "march out"

I have seen this used on documents in exactly the same way as TOS and SOS on Army Form 103

e.g Marched Out to 6th Inf Bn, Marched In from No 1 General Hospital,

Lots of these terms are still in use.

regards

John

#14 GRUMPY

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 02:03 PM

At first the goats were purchased by the Regiment, but in 1844 Queen Victoria began the custom of donating the animals from the Royal herd at Windsor . The herd of white long-haired goats had been a present from the Shah of Persia on Queen Victoria’s Accession. King Edward VIII later presented the herd to the London Zoo. From then on, only goats donated by the Sovereign would be true Regimental Goats. That the traffic was not strictly one-way is demonstrated by the purchase in 1890 of some Kashmir goats by Lieutenant-Colonel E.S. Creek of the 2nd Battalion, then stationed in Lucknow. Having seen a herd of fine white long-haired goats while on the road to Tibet, and having heard that the Royal herd was in need of fresh blood, he communicated with Sir Fleetwood Edwards, a Court official, and received the answer that the Queen would be pleased to have some of these goats. With the aid of the Resident in Kashmir and the private secretary to the Viceroy, three animals were obtained and conveyed to their destination. In a note from Windsor dated March 16th, 1891, Major A. Bigge thanked the Battalion on behalf of the Queen.

Quote from an article by Dr HJ Krijnen in Y Ddraig Goch.


#15 truthergw

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 02:43 PM

Thank you. Mind, from a distance, with your eyes half shut, against the light, they look like mascots.

#16 GRUMPY

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 03:55 PM

and smell like goats I fear.