Confidential Reports of Staff

This article looks at the Staff College Camberley Confidential Reports for British officers of the Indian Army between 1882-1909. This is one of a series of guides I have written to help you research soldiers who served in the British or Indian Armies. You can view the guides by clicking on the link below:

I also offer a First World War Soldier Research Service.

Indian Army Staff College Confidential Reports

There are four files held at the British Library in London which contain the confidential reports of British officers of the Indian Army who passed out of the Staff College Camberley between 1882 and 1909. Prior to the establishment of a Staff College in India in 1905, first at Deolali before it moved to Quetta in 1907, officers had to travel to Britain.

The reports are part of Collection 79 Staff College (Sandhurst): Confidential Reports on Indian Army Officers: IOR/L/MIL/7-3424-3427: 1882-1909:

  • Confidential reports on officers who passed out of the college 1882-1889: IOR/L/MIL/7/3424
  • Confidential reports on officers who passed out of the college 1890-1897: IOR/L/MIL/7/3425
  • Confidential reports on officers who passed out of the college 1898-1905: IOR/L/MIL/7/3426
  • Confidential reports on officers who passed out of the college 1905-1909: IOR/L/MIL/7/3427

The confidential reports in the first folder are handwritten with the rest of them being typed. They vary in length but Dyer’s example below is a typical example. I find confidential reports to be very useful documents when researching for clients as they usually provide an insight into an officer’s personality. In addition to the Staff College Confidential Reports, Regimental and Staff Confidential Reports should also be looked at.

Example of a Confidential Report

Below is a typical example of a confidential report to Captain Reginald Edward Dyer, 29th Punjab Infantry who passed December 1897. In 1919, Dyer was responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre which earned epithet Butcher of Amritsar.

This officer has no more than average ability and he has got through this work at the Staff College by sheer plodding determination.

He entered it singularly ill-equipped as regarded his knowledge of the arms other than his own, and of military subjects generally.

In addition to this disadvantage, he suffered from liver, and he did not at first get on well with other officers.

But he overcame these difficulties by means of persistent effort, and during the second year of his course he made marked progress with his work.

His leading characteristic is perisitent determination and he has shown powers of perserverence and application.

By temperament he is shy and reserved and is lacking in influence on others; but he is trustworthy and to be depended on to do thoroughly to the extent of his powers, whatever he is entrusted with.

He went through the voluntary course of Surverying satisfactorily, and is an accurate mathmetician. He would make a useful Special Service Officer.

Officers who Appear in the Confidential Reports

The number after an officer’s name refers to the file in which he appears.

Balfe, Capt. Edmund 3424

Barrow, Capt. Arthur Frederick 3424

Barrow, Capt. George de Symons 3426

Battine, Capt. Reginald St. Clair 3426

Bayly, Capt. Alfred William Lambert 3425

Baynes, Capt. Douglas Dyneley 3426

Beley, Lieut. Charles Harold Hepworth 3424

Boddam, Capt. Ernest Berkeley Charles 3426

Bourne, Capt. Walter Kemp 3427

Brander, Capt. Herbert Ralph 3425

Brath, Capt. Ernest de. – 3425

Bridges Arthur Holroyd Brevet Major 3426

Bunbury, Capt. William Edwin 3425

Clay, Charles Herbert 3425

Cobbe, Capt. Alexander Stanhope VC 3427

Colomb, Capt. Francis Cracroft 3425

Cummins, Capt. Harry Ashley Vane 3427

Deane, Capt. Dennis 3427

Ducat, Capt. Charles Merewether 3425

Duff, Capt. Beauchamp 3424

Durand, Capt. Algernon George 3424

Dyer, Capt. Reginald Edward Harry 3425

Edwards, Capt. Fitzjames Maine 3425

Elsmie, Capt. Alexander Montagu Spears 3426

Jones, Capt. Alfred Edwin 3424

Geoghegan, Capt. Stannus 3426

Geoghegan, Capt. Thomas Patrick 3424

Grant, Capt. George Patrick 3427

Hay, Capt. Charles John Bruce 3427

Hay, Capt. Westwood Norman 3426

Hocken, Capt. Charles Augustus Frederick 3427

Hogge, Capt. John William 3424

Holloway, Capt. Benjamin 3425

Holman, Lieut. Herbert Campbell 3426

Home, Capt. Jasper Murray 3426

Jones, Bt. Major Leslie Cockburn 3427

Kenny, Capt. Henry Torrens 3425

Kettlewell, Capt. Archibald Middleton 3427

King, Capt. Stewart William 3426

Knight, Capt. Wyndham Knight 3426

Knox, Capt. Alfred William Fortescue 3427

Loch, Capt. Harry Frere 3425

Lloyd, Capt. Lloyd 3424

Loch, Capt. Harry Frere 3425

Maxwell, B-Maj. Maxwell, Francis Aylmer VC 3427

Maguire, Capt. Cecil Montgomery 3424

Moberly, Capt. Bertrand Richard 3427

Moberly, Bt. Maj. Frederick James 3426

Newham, Capt. Charles Cowan 3427

Norie, Bt. Maj. Charles Edward deManley 3426

Norman, Capt. Walter Henry 3427

Orton, Capt. Ernest Frederick 3427

Peach, Capt. Edmund 3425

Penton, Capt. Herbert Edward 3424

Philipps, Capt. Ivor 3425

Poynder, Capt. Charles Eliot 3424

Probyn, Lieut. Francis Hoel 3424

Rattray, Capt. Charles 3426

Rennick, Capt. Frank 3426

Renny, Capt. Alexander MacWhirter 3424

Rice, Capt. Gerard Beechey Howard 3426

Richardson, Capt. Charles William Grant 3426

Ricketts, Capt. Robert Lumsden 3427

Ridgeway, Capt. Richard Kirby VC 3424

Senior, Capt. Henry William Richard 3426

Shea, Bt. Maj – John Stuart Mackenzie 3427

Steel, Capt. Richard Alexander 3426

Stuart, Capt. Alexander George 3426

Swanston, Major Charles Oliver 3427

Taylor, Lieut. Reginald O’Bryan 3426

Tod, Capt. John Kelso 3425

Tweddell, Lieut. Francis 3425

Twiss, Capt. William Louis Oberkirch 3427

Watson, Capt. William Arthur 3425

Western, Capt. John Sutton Edward 3425

Willoughby, Capt. Michael Edward 3425

Young, Capt. Frederick DeBude 3425

Younghusband, Capt. George John 3425

Watson, Capt. Lionel Arthur 3426

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