Constitution of the Military Forces of the Crown

This is a presentation of the structure of British military forces as defined in the 1914 Manual of Military Law. It is a view of the army from a legal perspective.

The military forces of the Crown consists of

  • British forces;
  • Indian forces
  • Colonial forces.

British forces

The British forces consist

  1. of the Army commonly so-called, including the Reserves;
  2. of the Marines.

The Army commonly so-called consists of

  1. the Cavalry, composed of four corps for the purpose of enlistment [ Household Cavalry, Dragoons, Lancers and Hussars], and divided into 31 regiments; there are also fifty-four regiments of Yeomanry of the Territorial Force and the Territorial Force Reserve.
  2. the Royal Regiment of Artillery, of which the mounted and dismounted branches are divided into two corps, named respectively
    1. the Royal Horse Artillery and the Royal Field Artillery, to which is affliated the Royal Field Reserve Artillery and the units of the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery of the Territorial Force (including two horse artillery batteries of the Honourable Artillery Company) and the Territorial Force Reserve;
    2. the Royal Garrison Artillery (which includes Mountain artillery and the Royal Artillery Clerks’ Section), to which are affiliated the Antrim and the Cork Royal Garrison Artillery Special Reserve, and the units of the Royal Garrison Artillery Territorial Force and its reserve;
    3. the corps of Royal Engineers, divided into squadrons, troops and companies;
    4. the Royal Flying Corps(Military Wing) with its reserve;
    5. Infantry, composed of four regiments of Foot Guards and 69 territorial regiments.
    6. The Army Service Corps, which is subdivided into the Transport, Supply, Remount and Mechanical Transport sections, affiliated to which are the ASC Special Reserve and the units of the ASC Territorial Force and its Reserve;
    7. The Royal Army Medical Corps, affiliated to which are the RAMC Special Reserve and the units of the RAMC Territorial Force and its Reserve;
    8. The Army Veterinary Corps, affiliated to which are the AVC Special Reserve and the units of the AVC Territorial Force and its Reserve.
  3. In addition there are the general reserve of officers, the special reserve of officers and certain departmental corps, namely, the Army Ordnance Corps, Army Pay Corps, Band of the Royal Military College, Corps of the School of Musketry, Corps of Army School-masters, Corps of Military Police (Mounted and Foot) and Military Provost Staff Corps.
  4. Further it is necessary to mention various departments connected with the army, which are not corps within the meaning of the Army Act. These are the Army Pay Department, Army Chaplains’ Department, Staff for Royal Engineer Services, Arny Ordnance Department, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service and the Territorial Force Nursing Service.
  5. Supplementary to the army but without definite liability for service unless otherwise undertaken are: the Royal Military College, the Royal Military Academy, The Duke of York’s Royal Military School, the Royal Hibernian Militar School and the Queen Victoria School; the Officers Training Corps; the National Reserve; such categories of the Technical Reserve as are sanctioned by and raised under the authority of the Army Council; officially recognised Cadet Units

[Note that certain Corps (Labour Corps, Tank Corps, Machine Gun Corps, etc) are not named in the 1914 Manual as they were only formed during war time].

Indian forces

These consist of regiments permanently stationed in India and formed almost entirely of natives of India.

Colonial forces

The Colonial forces are of two classes, namely, the forces raised by the government of a colony, and the forces raised in a colony by direct orders of His Majesty to serve as auxilitary to, and in fact to form for the time being of, the regular forces.


Other aspects of the Order of Battle