1796 Supplementary Militia

During the Napoleonic era Britain faced invasion on a grand scale. Before 1793 men could join the Army or the militia, a kind of army reserve. Each county had to supply and pay a quota of men of eligible age 18-45. This was done by ballot. The men undertook active service in war and in peacetime had to do a month’s military training. In 1793 the Army numbered 45000 which were not nearly enough to repel a French Army of 100000. The Supplementary Militia Act of 1796 was brought in to raise more men. Recently the Society has been given a 1796 list of the quotas required from the Bedfordshire Hundreds (an administrative division in which Maulden came under the Redbournstoke Hundred). Maulden was obliged to provide 74 men, Flitwick 60 men and Ampthill 90 men).  By 1797 the invasion threat was so dire that a national census took place to see how many fighting men Britain could rely on.  The men of Britain volunteered on a scale never seen before to protect our shores from the French. When the threat of invasion declined the volunteers joined the militia or returned to their homes.

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