The records provide the following information about the men who died:
• Company within the Battalion
• Date of death
• Place of death (where the company was stationed at the time of death)
For some men there is a note about cause of death.
This record set has been compiled from an original list of deaths for other ranks of the 1st Bn, Royal Regt of Foot, which was the predecessor of the Royal Scots. This unit of the British Army was stationed in the Caribbean from March 1801 to April 1811. As you would expect, the dead men - 1,040 of them - are for the most part British, although there do appear to be a handful of continental Europeans among them – not unusual during the Georgian era.
We cannot be sure but it is quite possible that in many cases this is the only surviving record of a man’s service in the British Army.
The list gives forenames for most men but rank in the case of non-commissioned officers (such as corporals and sergeants). No commissioned officers are on the list; assuming that officers saw some casualties, they were enumerated elsewhere and this document does not concern itself with them.
There were 10 companies within the battalion, and it is likely that some of the companies moved about and were stationed independently of the others. Each entry gives details of the company into which the man was enlisted.
The station of death is given for nearly all men. The vast majority are in the region of the Caribbean, including British Guiana (differentiated into Berbice and Demerara) and Surinam. However, there are a few men shown as having died in Newfoundland and a few in or en route back to Britain.
Cause of death is given for relatively few men. 12 drowned. Only three are recorded as having been killed, all on the same date in 1810 during the invasion of Guadeloupe. The expectation would be that the great majority of the rest died of tropical fevers, heat exhaustion or natural causes.
Based on the names, a majority of the men were Scottish, as one would expect for this regiment. However, there are large numbers of Irish names with smaller numbers of English (especially northern) and Welsh.
When searching these records, bear in mind that spelling may sometimes be irregular. In most instances, we have left the spelling of a name exactly as it is in the original document, and we have only corrected the most obvious errors. Please note also that all Scottish patronymic surnames are shown as Mc- (and none as Mac-).