Organisation of the London Trained Bands

Divers Facts Appertaining to
The London Trayn’d Bandes with Some
Specific References to The Green Bande.

taken from an earlier article by David Green

Commander in Chief: The Lord Mayor of the cittie of London.
Second in Command: An appointed professional, usually with experience of the Dutch Wars. e.g. Sir Philip Skippon.
Regimental Commanders: Colonels drawn from the city aldermen.
Lieutenant Colonels: Usually soldiers of professional experience or members of the Voluntary Associations, they were appointed by the common council of the city.

Command Structure

Year

Regimental Size

No of Regiments

1640 5 coys. of 300 men each 4 totalling 6,000 men
1642 6 or 7 coys. of 200 men each 6 totalling 8,000 men
1643 6 – 10 coys. variable strengths 13 totalling 18,000 men

Armament Structure

Year

Ratio of pike to shotte

Ratio of officers* to men

1640

1 : 1

1643

1 : 2

1 : 18

* the term “officers” refers to commissioned & non-commissioned officers, as well as clerks, musicians, chaplains and surgeons.

Typical Company Structure

Position

Details

Captayne (commissioned) company commander (nob)
Lieutenant (commissioned) his deputy (professional)
Ensign (commissioned) trophy (colour) bearer
Two sergeants drill instruction/discipline
Three corporals drill instruction/ divisional leaders
Two drummers musicians
One clerk company books/paymaster
One gentleman-at-arms weapons inspection & maintenance
100 – 200 soldiers in 3 divisions – 2 shotte, one pike

Weapons & Armour

were meant to conform to statute but did not, trayned bandes having batches of arms bought over many years with pikes and muskets of several lengths & styles. With the exception of gentlemen who kept their own, arms and armour were kept in company or guild halls or churches or municipal buildings throughout the city & suburbs.

Service

in the trayned bandes was determined by wealth assessment and was an obligation to such as were “men sufficient (of means) of able & active bodies; none of the meaner sort, nor servants, but only such as be of the gentrie, freeholders and good farmers or their sons, that are like to be resident”.
In London these criteria translated into city gents, merchants, tradesmen, their apprentices and shopkeepers. The bands were intended for defence against foreign attack and for enforcing law and order in their localities if required. During the civil war the London bands regarded defence of the capitol and its immediate environs as their first responsibility and could only with reluctance be persuaded to serve outside the home counties.

The Green Bande

was formed out of the 4 original regiments – North, South, East and West – in 1642 when the bandes were re-organised from 20 companies divided amongst 4 regiments to 40 companies amongst 6 regiments. At a muster held in 1643, the Green Bande turned out the smallest number of men; 863 comprising 63 officers, 297 pikemen and 503 musketeers.

As yet I have encountered no references to suggest the Green Bande served outside London, except once, at Turham Green in November 1642. Being fairly small, it may be that the Green Bande, along with others, spent the war manning the “Lines of Communication” – the 11 mile network of forts and trenches thrown up in 1643 to protect the Citties of London, Westminster and the borough of Southwark. It does seem that it was the bigger regiments – the Red, Blue, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Westminster – who did the most field service with the “marching armies”, which makes sense on a purely tactical level even if unfair in terms of who was shot at and who wasn’t.

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