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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Trooping Season


David T

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Can members clarify when the trooping season for India & the Far East would usually begin and end?

My researches would suggest, perhaps, November through to April, with regiments in India sending detachments to hill stations in the Himalayan foothills to avoid the hot season from May, returning any time from late September onwards.

I've never come across anything in writing that clarifies when replacement and reinforcements were usually sent to India, how many trooping ships might leave the UK during the trooping season, and whether or not they usually made more than one round trip during the season. Clarification would be greatly appreciated.

David T.

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David

I have seen mentions (though not official) that the trooping season was September to late March, the 'cold' season.

Dave

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Did you know that due to the trooping season that some soldiers would do 'a year for nowt This usually happend if you missed one season you had to wait for the next. But even harder was the fact that soldiers were never sent home early. Meaning if your time finished a day after the last Boat of the trooping season you hade to wait for the first of the next year.

This awfull situation was abolished by Hore Belisha the Secretery For war in the 30s

Arnie

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October outbound from UK, March homebound are the shoulders of the trooping season.

The potential extra year was in the contract, and not small print either. In as much as the soldier could expect the army to honour its obligations [many] to him , he could expect to have to honour his.

The extra year did, of course, reduce his reserve service.

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Re time served

Where did “Roll on my seven and five”

meaning ‘seven years before the colours and five of them in India’

fit into all this?

Regards

Michael D.R.

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I have not heard the expression.

Among the many and various Terms of Engagement, an infantryman serving in 1914 on Aug 4th was probably one who enlisted to serve seven years with the colours [eight in war or if overseas] and the balance as a civilian in the reserve, on half pay, paid as a considerable lump sum each quarter day.

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Many thanks to those who have replied. It confirms, more or less, my understanding of the situation. Given that each journey would be six weeks, at least, I wonder if anyone can clarify whether or not the troop ships made two round trips during the trooping season? If so, it would suggest that drafts would have been received in, and returned from India each December and, again, in March.

David T.

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Thanks for the comment LB1418

The phrase comes not from a military, but a social history called ‘Plain Tales from the Raj’ edited by Charles Allen [chapter 15 ‘The Barracks’] and is almost certainly post WWI

It is not absolutely clear who is being quoted but I suspect that it was someone called Ed Davies who served in the Dorsets from 1924 to 1936

My question was really aimed at ascertaining whether or not it was pre or post the Hore Belisha reforms previously referred to

The context is

“Towards the end of their tour of duty the men would become utterly apathetic………….

No matter what little problem arose, they would meet it with, ‘Roll on the boat, roll on the boat.’……………Another over-used phrase was ‘Roll on my seven and five.’

Regards

Michael D.R.

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Seven and five means seven with the Colours and five with the reserve

Langley

Weather it was in the contract or not the soldiers always refered to it as a year for nowt. It was the cause of a number of disorderly out breaks at the transit camp at Deolalli ( spelling)

Arnie

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