I have been working on a project which I hope might be of some interest to some members of the forum – and I was hoping some of those interested members might be able – and willing – to help me.
I have been looking at the 57 Army Service Corps men who served in the 73-74 Ashanti campaign, trying to ascertain when units arrived, what their trades were and how the campaign may or may not have affected the individuals.
The help I require is from anyone with a full Findmypast subscription who could look up records of the men for whom I have not been able to get many details. In return, I am prepared to do research on Ancestry – for any period. I’m not expecting someone to sit in Kew for me – there are far too many names to check off – but if people are prepared to check one or two on-line, their help would be gratefully received and much appreciated
Some of the chaps may be of interest to people studying other operations as the medal rolls show their names serving in other campaigns – New Zealand, South Africa, Egypt, Sudan, even one who got a QSA.
One chap – 1287 Staff Sergeant James Callaby (1847-1932) – may be unique in having these five medals: Ashanti, South Africa (Zulu clasp), Egypt, Khedive Star, and Sudan (Suakin clasp) – not many units served in all these campaigns!
There are, apparently, some records for Callaby on Findmypast.
Declaration of interest:
My great grandfather was a 2nd Corporal in the ASC. He served in the campaign and was discharged unfit in December 1874.
He had, in fact, transferred after three years with 2/20th to the ASC, officially on 1 November 1872 (although there is some evidence he was attached to the ASC as early as September 1872, but that’s not germane to this project).
He was with one of the ASC companies from Woolwich and I have been trying to find out about his colleagues in the company.
Using Ancestry, I have found out what I could about each ASC man on the Ashanti medal roll – noting that the rolls seem to indicate that the men were stationed at various depots around the UK when the medals were issued in the summer of 1874. From the 1871 census, it is clear that many of these men were also in different depots before the war:
Of those serving with the ASC in 1871, 15 were in Aldershot; 14 in Woolwich; 1 in Bristol; 2 in Devonport, 1 in Sheffield, 3 overseas with other units and 20 unknown
When the medals were issued in 1874 it was noted that 15 men were in Aldershot; 20 in Woolwich; 4 in Chatham; 3 in Colchester; 4 in Portsmouth; 1 in Devonport; 2 in Manchester, 2 in Netley; 1 in London and 1 in Tyneside, plus 3 where the located is not clear and one chap who had deserted and the medal, presumably, not dispatched.
By chance, I found that the records of 11 of the 57 ASC men on the Ashanti medal roll had been misfiled within the 1914-1920 service record database on Ancestry.
Of these, 8 had transferred to the ASC from other units, four on the same day (1 November 1872) as my great grandfather – 2 from 64th Foot, 1 from 68th Foot and 1 from 12 Lancers.
The other transfers were: 1 from 15 Hussars in 1869, 1 from 90th Foot in 1871, and 2 from 2/2nd Foot on 27 March 1872.
(I have also turned up another two transfers from other units of men serving at the ASC at the same time, but who did not go to the Gold Coast – one the brother of one of the men who did go, but for whom I have no early history)
From various sources, I can attribute trades to 17 of the 57 men in the campaign – 5 butchers, 2 bakers, 5 clerks and 5 ordnance stores.
Service on West Coast of Africa:
From the handful of records I have managed to turn up, the ASC men arrived at Cape Castle at various dates between September and December 1873 and left between February and May. The 11 periods of overseas service I have found are:
18 Sept-1 March (1), 13 Nov-1 March (2), 19 Nov-1 March (1), 19 Nov-26 May (1), 29 Nov-22 Feb (1), 4 Dec-1 March (4), 4 Dec-10 March (1).
After the war:
The medal roll noted seven men had been discharged (plus one desertion) before November 1874, and from various records, it is known another two (including great grandfather) were discharged by the end of the year. The manner of discharge of 5 men is not known but 3 bought themselves out and my great grandfather was invalided out.
From other medal rolls, service records and the 1881 census, I know that at least 16 men remained with the Corps and its successors but there are 31 men whose later careers I have not, so far, been able to trace.
Of those who stayed in the service, five served in South Africa (three Zulu clasps, 1 Sukukuni clasp, 1 no clasp); nine men were awarded the Egypt medal and three men the Sudan medal. One also got the QSA having been commissioned lieutenant. Another man had been in New Zealand in 1869.
If anyone in the forum has any information about any of the ASC men who served on the West Coast of Africa in 1873/4, I would be most interested to hear from them. I do know that the records of some of the men are on the Findmypast website so if any forum members with full Findmypast subscriptions would each be prepared to download the any of these I would be very grateful.
I intend to post the details I have so far discovered of each of the men concerned - here are the first few - in the hope someone might be able to add more information:
1032 Staff Sergeant Thomas William BROOKHOUSE
b 1839 in Radford, Nottinghamshire, son of John and Isabella Brookhouse
1851: Lace maker (aged 11) father = frame smith, mother = bonnet maker
1861: Colchester Barracks – Corporal (regiment not known)
m 1863 St Michael, Aldershot – married Annie Maria Passmore
1871: Aldershot – Staff Sergeant ASC
1873/4: West Coast of Africa – 3rd Class Staff Sergeant ASC. Ashanti Medal Coomassie clasp. “With convey when attacked on 31/1 and present at Ordahsu and under fire” Awarded DCM. Medal roll: Aldershot
1881: Aldershot – Pensioner ASC
1891: Anglesey, Wales – Army Pensioner (Sergeant-Major)
1276 Private Joseph EDWARDS (initial digit of reg no may be wrong)
b c 1844 Tormarton, Gloucestershire, son of Joseph and Sarah Edwards
1851: Tormarton with parents (father = agricultural labourer)
1861: Wapeley cum Codrington, Gloucestershire. Agricultural labourer with widowed mother
1871: Woolwich – Private ASC
1873/4: West Coast of Africa. Private ASC. Ashanti Medal Roll: Devonport
m 1878 Stoke Damerel – married Christina (or Christiana) Hannah Crabb
1880: Woolwich – Private OS Branch ASC baptism of daughter
1881: Woolwich – Private AMCS (?) baptism of daughter
1881: Woolwich – Private ACS
1883/84: Devonport – birth of next two children
1886/7/90: Old Sodbury, Gloucestershire – birth of next three children
1891: Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire – Agricultural labourer
Died before 1901
1287 Lance-Sergeant James CALLABY
b c 1847 Great Massingham, Norfolk, son of Charles & Phoebe Callaby
1851: Great Massingham with parents (agricultural labourers)
1861: Great Massingham with parents
1871: Woolwich – Corporal ASC
m 1873 14 Sept St Mary Woolwich. Corporal ASC – married Alice Maud Kelsey, a minor. Alice was the daughter of Edward & Mary Kelsey, a waterman who was in Woolwich Union Workhouse for 20 years. Alice was only 18 when she got married and had been a domestic servant at the Navy Arms pub in Queen Street near Woolwich Dockyard
1873/4: West Coast of Africa. Lance Sergeant ASC Ashanti Medal Roll: Woolwich
1879: South Africa – 3rd Class Staff Sergeant ASC. South Africa Medal (Zulu clasp)
1881: in South Africa
1882: Egypt – 2nd Class Staff Sergeant C Coy. Egypt Medal and Khedive Star
1885: Sudan – 1st Class Staff Sergeant & Warrant Officer. Sudan Medal (Suakin clasp)
1891: Woolwich – Night watchman
1901: Plumstead – Night watchman
d 1932 Plumstead, Kent
1701 Lance-corporal Timothy SHEA
b c 1839 Tipperary, Ireland
1871: Aldershot – Private ASC
m 1872 Farnham – married Emily Denyer
1873/4: West Coast of Africa. Lance-corporal ASC Medal roll: Aldershot
1881: Aldershot – Private ASC
1881: death of Emily
m 1883 Farnham – married Anna Booth
1891: Aldershot – “Barrack labourer ASC”
1901: Aldershot – reported to be blind
d 1914 Fareham, Hampshire
1786 Sergeant James Ridley WAGER
b c 1843 Winksworth, Derbyshire, son of James and Mary Wager
1851: Bridgnorth, Shropshire, with parents (father = mercer)
1861: Brompton, Gillingham, Kent – Private 81st Foot
1869: New Zealand – 449 Private CS Corps. Awarded New Zealand Medal. Medal roll: Aldershot
m 1870 Bristol – married Mary Brake Scott
1871: Clifton, Bristol - Corporal Supply Branch ASC
1873: Bristol – birth of child born
1873/4 West Coast of Africa. Sergeant ASC Medal roll: Manchester
1877: Manchester – birth of child
1879: Newport, Monmouthshire – birth of child
1879: South Africa – Conductor of Suppliers, Commissariat Corps. South Africa Medal (Zulu clasp)
1885/89: Dublin – birth of children
1891: Aston, Birmingham – Clerk in Gun Factory
1901: Aston, Birmingham – Clerk in shipping agent
d 1917 Birmingham
1912 Private George SOANE
b c 1852 Wokingham, Berkshire
1871: Aldershot – Private ASC
1873: 13 Nov West Coast of Africa private ASC
1874: 1 March departed West Coast of Africa Coomassie clasp Medal roll: “With convoy on 31/1/74 under fire” Chatham
m 1876 Rochester – married Jemima Nancy Kent
1879: Rochester – birth of child
1881: Colchester – Soldier
1888: 15 May invalided out. Trade = butcher
2575 Lance-sergeant Charles Everard CANHAM
b 1851 Norwich, son of Everard and Elizabeth Canham
1851: Norwich with parents (father = railway porter)
1861: Swainsthorpe, Norfolk, with parents (father = railway station master)
1871: Aldershot – Private ASC
1873/1874: West Coast of Africa. Lance-sergeant ASC Medal roll: Manchester
m 1878 Farnham – married Haphzibah Clara Davie
1879: child born in Oldham, Lancs
1881: Alverstoke, Hampshire – 2nd Class Staff Sergeant
1882: Egypt 1st Class Staff Sergeant Unattached detachment C&TC Egypt Medal
Medal roll: 11 Coy
d 1915 in Nottinghamshire. Insurance agent. Left £180 10s 6d to son
2594 Lance-sergeant Arthur Ernest HEWLETT
b c 1850 Wallingford, Berks, son of Thomas and Mary Hewlett
1851: Marston, Oxfordshire with parents (father = relieving officer)
1861: Oxford with parents (father = relieving officer and registrar of births & deaths)
1871: Woolwich – Private ASC
1873/4: West Coast of Africa. Lance-sergeant ASC Medal roll: Tynemouth
1879: South Africa – conductor Ordnance Stores Department. South Africa Medal (Zulu clasp)
1885: Sudan – 3rd Class Staff Sergeant C Coy OS Corps. Sudan Medal (Suakin clasp)
1891: Cowley, Oxfordshire – Army pensioner (Staff Sergeant Ordnance Stores Corps)
m 1894 Oxford – married Amelia Bella L Phillips
1901: Cowley, Oxfordshire – sub postmaster, army pensioner
Arthur’s elder brother Thomas Hewlett enlisted 7 January 1868 in Royal Fusiliers (Reg no 1619) and transferred to ASC in 1870. Deserted
20th Foot in SA and Mauritius 1868-1872 / Ashantee War 1873-1874 /Imperial Yeomanry 1899-1902 / Royal Marine LI 1900/1908 / Royal Navy and the China Station 1908-1914