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D. R. Troops


ddycher
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Probably should know this but am going to be honest and say I don’t. In the Indian Army Lists when an officer is stated as “Commanding D. R. Troops”. Does anyone know what it means ?

Regards

Dave

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On 26/07/2021 at 16:42, ddycher said:

“Commanding D. R. Troops”.

Dave, the only thing that came to mind was "Divisional Reserve" however I do not know for certain. Can you give us an example from the book please? Regards, Bob.

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Bob

Thanks for getting back to me. My ref comes from the July 1907 Indian Army List where one of the officers of the Punjab Light Horse (Theodore Copeland) is listed as “Commanding D. R. Troops”. Never come across this before.

Regard

Dave

Edited by ddycher
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8 hours ago, ddycher said:

My ref comes from the July 1907 Indian Army List where one of the officers (Theodore Copeland) is listed as “Commanding D. R. Troops”.

Dave, I have found your reference, though I am still none the wiser. ;-) Does it mean that Lt Copeland is commanding D troop and R troop? We have A, B and C troops also reserve troop. Is R troop something particular to the Punjab Light Horse? @FROGSMILE is a very knowledgeable chap regarding things military, can you help us on this  please? Regards, Bob.  Page 558. July 1907 https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Indian_Army_List_online

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The most common usage is Director Remounts or Dispatch Riders.  Knowing his parent unit and background (origins) may well help to put that matter into a context that makes some logical sense.

Without knowing anything about him Remounts would be my first guess because the British-Indian Army was hugely reliant on horsepower and with its large number of units needed a very large infrastructure to support the necessary replacement of both mounts and draught animals due to routine wastage (wear and tear).  If his background was cavalry, or Supply & Transport, then that would increase the likelihood.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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5 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

The most common usage is Director Remounts or Dispatch Riders.  Knowing his parent unit and background (origins) may well help to put that matter into a context that makes some logical sense.

Thank you Frogsmile. Here is the page from the book. I suppose it could be either but I would think Dispatch Riders.

2015.285008.Indian-Army_0576.jpg

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I don’t think so Bob, not in 1907.  The organisation of dispatch riders as a body was a WW1 initiative using motor cycles (although there had been gallopers and aides (junior officers) who fulfilled the role in conflicts before that).  Given the date and his background in Light Horse (effectively light cavalry) then I think his role was more likely to have been as a director of remounts commandant.  Perhaps hard for us to imagine now, but horses were so much a part of the weft and warp in the fabric of the army at that time that organising remounts was absolutely critical.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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5 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

I don’t think so Bob, not in 1907.  The organisation of dispatch riders as a body was a WW1 initiative using motor cycles (although there had been gallopers and aides (junior officers) who fulfilled the role in conflicts before that).  Given the date and his background in Light Horse (effectively light cavalry) then I think his role was more likely to have been as a director of remounts commandant.  Perhaps hard for us to imagine now, but horses were so much a part of the weft and warp in the fabric of the army at that time that organising remounts was absolutely critical.

Yes Frogsmile, I questioned what I first thought a few moments ago. Dispatch riders = motorbikes. So remounts much more likely, as you say a critical part of the whole doings, especially for the cavalry. I am tying to ascertain whether they had Troops A, B, C and D. Or just the 3, A, B and C.

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7 minutes ago, Bob Davies said:

Yes Frogsmile, I questioned what I first thought a few moments ago. Dispatch riders = motorbikes. So remounts much more likely, as you say a critical part of the whole doings, especially for the cavalry. I am tying to ascertain whether they had Troops A, B, C and D. Or just the 3, A, B and C.

Four Troops, Bob.  A, B, C and Reserve (the latter sometimes doubling up as a depot and training organisation, depending on what the regiment was up to operationally). 

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26 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

Four Troops, Bob.  A, B, C and Reserve

Going through the pages of the Indian Army Lists that is the conclusion I have come to Frogsmile. So D.R.  must be Director Remounts.

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29 minutes ago, Bob Davies said:

Going through the pages of the Indian Army Lists that is the conclusion I have come to Frogsmile. So D.R.  must be Director Remounts.

Yes I don’t have any doubt of that, Bob.

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11 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

Yes I don’t have any doubt of that, Bob.

Thank you for your help in this matter FROGSMILE, best wishes, Bob.

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6 minutes ago, Bob Davies said:

Thank you for your help in this matter FROGSMILE, best wishes, Bob.

I’m always glad to help Bob and value such inter discussion with fellow enthusiasts.

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On 01/08/2021 at 21:34, FROGSMILE said:

Four Troops, Bob.  A, B, C and Reserve (the latter sometimes doubling up as a depot and training organisation, depending on what the regiment was up to operationally). 

I have one more regarding this FROGSMILE  and @ddycher Could D.R. mean 'depot remount'? Asking this as you mentioned 'depot'  above FROGSMILE also the word 'director' seems to be a much higher appointment. Well in my mind. Another page in the same 'Indian army list' gives us this list of the Army Remount Department in India. Starts with Director General, then superintendents etc. Regards, Bob.

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Gents

By 1907 the PLH had A, B, C, D, E and a Reserve Troop. D was a Half troop out of Peshawar and, as far as I can tell the Reserve Troop was officered out of Rawalpindi. Upto this point I had Copeland also being at Rawalpindi but with C Troop not the Reserve. Rawalpindi was the home of C Troop. It is possible that he was commanding both D and “R”. Proximity doesn't not preclude it. I’m going to take another look. Perhaps the “comdt” rather than “comdg” does indeed signal more than one troop.
 

Many thanks for this. 
 

regards

Dave

Edited by ddycher
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I don't believe so Bob, no.  The whole organisation was a Directorate under a Director (General) of Remounts and it was common in the British military to refer to it in that way.  Similarly there was a Directorate of Pioneers and Labour.  If you search for British Indian Army abbreviations, or just Indian Army abbreviations, and various other lists of miltary abbreviations I think you will find that they all show that DR refers to Director Remounts.  Each large mounted unit would probably have one, just as they would have a QM, whose title origin similarly comes from the QMG function.  I hope that makes sense. 

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Thanks Dave. FROGSMILE thanks, yes I understand what you say.  To give a bit more info on 2nd Lt Theodore Copeland, date of birth 7th Oct 1878. He is listed on the Indian Army Reserve of Officers list from 1905 until April 1919. Not on the July 1919 list. He is with the 5th Punjab Light Horse (mounted volunteer corps) from 1905 until 1908. I suppose at age 40 and not been promoted beyond 2nd Lt, he had done his time and the war was over. 

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4 minutes ago, Bob Davies said:

Thanks Dave. FROGSMILE thanks, yes I understand what you say.  To give a bit more info on 2nd Lt Theodore Copeland, date of birth 7th Oct 1878. He is listed on the Indian Army Reserve of Officers list from 1905 until April 1919. Not on the July 1919 list. He is with the 5th Punjab Light Horse (mounted volunteer corps) from 1905 until 1908. I suppose at age 40 and not been promoted beyond 2nd Lt, he had done his time and the war was over. 

Yes I agree with your conclusion and his age and background is typical of the kind of officer placed in the physically undemanding D.R. role, where experience of horseflesh was far more important than youthful vigour.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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From the April 1905 list he is recorded as having his 1st command on 1st May 1903, so about 25 years old when he signed up. I don't have the 1903/04 lists.

 

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6 minutes ago, Bob Davies said:

From the April 1905 list he is recorded as having his 1st command on 1st May 1903, so about 25 years old when he signed up. I don't have the 1903/04 lists.

 

What was his calling?  Probably a Jute, Indigo, or Tea planter, or some such.

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1 minute ago, FROGSMILE said:

What was his calling?  Probably a Jute, Indigo, or Tea planter, or some such.

That I do not know. I did a brief search on Ancestry but was unable to pin him down. There are a few chaps with the same surname on the Indian Army Lists from the same period, Captains and Majors.

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3 minutes ago, Bob Davies said:

That I do not know. I did a brief search on Ancestry but was unable to pin him down. There are a few chaps with the same surname on the Indian Army Lists from the same period, Captains and Majors.

Probably an 'Inja' family then.

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Gents

Theodore Copeland was an Asst. Commissioner then District Judge with the Indian Civil Service coming out to India in 1901. Don't have much detail with me but will check again this evening and let you know if I have more.

regards

Dave

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I think you cracked it gents. Theodore Copeland was appointed District Judge to Peshawar in 1905. He was in the area 1905 ~ 1908. Have not found a hard ref for him w/ D Troop at Peshawar but he was definately there until going back to the NWF when he moved to the Supy list.

Thanks

Dave

Edited by ddycher
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I am coming late to this thread but in summary I think that the remark in the IAL refers to him commanding ‘D’ Troop and R (reserve) troop. He has the same remark next to his name in the Jan 1908 IAL.

However, in the January 1915 IAL he does not appear anywhere. There is an officer of the IARO called Theodore Copeland listed but he is a different chap, appointed to the IARO in 1906.

Are you sure you have the right Theodore Copeland? The ICS chap is Theodore Benfey Copeland.

Here is a potted biog of him:

Theodore Benfey Copeland was born in Dun-Echt in Aberdeenshire in 1879. He was Ralph and Theodora's 3rd child and their only son.

When the family left Dun-Echt and moved to Edinburgh, Theodore attended George Watson's school and Edinburgh University.

Theodore joined the Indian Civil Service in 1901.

Originally appointed to the Punjab and North West Frontier cadre of the ICS however he was appointed assistant to the Chief Commissioner of Coorg in October 1908. After another posting to Banagalore he returned to the Punjab and North West Frontier in April 1911.

He was political agent at Wana on the NWF from April 1914 to Oct 1917.

He was apparently awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind 1st class in January 1916 (but I cannot find it in the LG) and the Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in the LG  4th June 1928.

He married in 1916 to Mabel Harriet, widow of Major L. M. R. Deas, S & T. C., I.A., who died in England in 1913. She died in 1939 and they had no children.

He retired from the ICS in 1929.

In 1938 he was noted as living at "The Hatches, Finchampstead, Berkshire."

He died on 7 January 1952 in Cheniston, Compton, Winchester.

 

I hope that helps.

Matthew

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