Childers Reforms

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The Childers Reforms restructured the infantry regiments of the British army. The reforms were undertaken by Secretary of State for War Hugh Childers in 1881, and were a continuation of the earlier Cardwell reforms.

The reorganisation was brought into effect by General Order 41/1881, issued on 1 May 1881, amended by G.O. 70/1881 dated 1 July, which created a network of multi-battalion regiments. In England, Wales and Scotland, each regiment was to have two regular or "line" battalions and two militia battalions. In Ireland, there were to be two line and three militia battalions. This was done by renaming the numbered regiments of foot and county militia regiments. In addition the various corps of county rifle volunteers were to be designated as volunteer battalions. Each of these regiments was linked by headquarters location and territorial name to its local "Regimental District". The reforms came into effect on 1 July.

From 1881 regimental seniority numbers were officially abolished and battalions came to be known by their number within the regiment and the regimental district name. Unofficially, the regiments were still referred to by their numbers by their officers and men, as tradition and a point of pride, and several regiments such as "The Buffs", The Cameron Highlanders, and "The Black Watch", lobbied to keep their distinct names as part of their battalion titles.

In practice, it was not always possible to apply the scheme...
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