This article looks at the confidential reports of British officers of the Indian Army Clothing Department and is one of my guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army.
Indian Army Clothing Department Confidential Reports
There are two files held at the British Library in London which contain the confidential reports of the Indian Army Clothing Department. These files are part of Collection 412 Army Clothing Department: Confidential Reports: IOR/L/MIL/7/17072-17073 1904 – 1917 which contains two files:
- Confidential reports on officers Army Clothing Department 1904 -1913: IOR/L/MIL/7/17072
- Confidential reports on officers Army Clothing Department 1915 – 1916: IOR/L/MIL/7/17073
The confidential reports contain the following information though there is a slight variation in the wording depending on the year:
- Rank and Name (in order of seniority)
- Nature of appointment (period of the year spent in it should be stated)
Then there is a section for remarks which will contain reports from:
- Superintendent of Army Clothing
- Director of Army Clothing
- Director of Supplies and Transport
- Quartermaster-General in India
Not all columns will have reports but there will usually be at least two or three. There is rarely a report from the Superintendent of Army Clothing. The Army Clothing Confidential Reports can be crucial when researching an officer as they provide detailed information regarding his service which includes where he was working, in what role and for how long. In addition, they provide an important insight into an officer’s personality.
Examples of Confidential Reports
Lieutenant and Quarter Master Robert Fred Weir Ashworth’s Confidential Report for 1907:
1st Assistant Superintendent, Army Clothing, from 1st January to 31st December 1907. Officiating Superintendent, Army Clothing Factory, Madras, from 5th July to 9th November 1907.
Remarks by Captain O’Meara, Superintendent, Army Clothing Factory, Madras. “A very able officer. Knows his work thoroughly. Is very zealous and painstaking. Is apt to be headstrong, which I think is due, a great deal, to his zeal for his work”.
I agree with the remarks of the Superintendent, Army Clothing Factory, Madras. Lieutenant Ashworth has done valuable work during his tours auditing regimental clothing accounts. He is fit for promotion to higher rank. Gilbert Walter Palin, Lieutenant-Colonel, Director of Army Clothing.
Captain Francis C. Nisbet’s Confidential Report for 1907:
Assistant Superintendent, Army Clothing, from 1st January to 30th April 1907. This officer left the Department on 1st May 1907.
This officer was engaged during the period mainly in closing the business of the experimental Factory at Fatehgarh. He has ability, sufficient self-reliance, and common sense. Is very active in his habits and fond of sports. As a Clothing Department officer he lacked knowledge of departmental administration and executive methods. But in these matters he would, I think, have improved in time and by experience. Gilbert Walter Palin, Lieutenant-Colonel, Director of Army Clothing.
Major Charles Albert Edmond O’Meara’s Confidential Report for 1912:
Director of Army Clothing, and Superintendent, Army Clothing Factory, Alipore, from the 1st January to the 31st December 1912 (on combined leave from 25th March to 10th October 1912.
A zealous and able officer of good business capacity. Tactful and liked by those under him from whom he exacts good work. Fit in all respects for promotion. Arthur Blount Cuthbert Williams, Brigadier-General, Director, Supply and Transport. 4 February 1913.
I have not yet met him, but am satisfied that he is the right man in the right place. William Edwin Bunbury, Major-General, Quartermaster-General in India, 16 April 1913.
Hardworking, zealous, tactful. Director of Army Clothing.
Army Clothing Department Officers’ Confidential Reports
Ashworth, Lieutenant and Quarter Master Robert Fred Weir 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909
Boulderson, Lieutenant-Colonel. Henry Allan Balfour 1906, 1907
Bowden, Major William Harvey 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915
Castle, Captain Stanley Mason 1909, 1910, 1911
Eliot, Captain Mark 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916
Haywood, Lieutenant and Quarter Master Alfred Noble 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909
Macdonald, Major Hugh 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916
Marriott, Captain Guy Brook 1910, 1911, 1912
Nisbet, Captain Francis Courtney 1907
O’Meara, Major Charles Albert Edmond 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916
Palin, Brevet Colonel Gilbert Walter 1908, 1909, 1910
Powden, Major William Harvey 1916
Robertson, Captain (Temporary Major) Robert Arthur Harvey 1916
Ventris, Lieutenant Edward Francis Vereker 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915