John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

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John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 27 Feb 2015 18:31

Hello! Once again, I am hoping that someone can help me with a few dates. I am trying to find the dates of promotions for John Henry Pringle of the Coldstream Guards. He was born in 1809 and died in 1868. The following are the only ranks that I have:

Rank of Ensign on 24 Dec 1825.
Rank of Lt.-Col. on 13 May 1842.
Rank of Colonel on 20 Jun 1854.

Obviously, I'm missing something here. One reference that I found stated that he was granted the Rank of Lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards on 15 Jun 1830, but another site gave that as the date he became Captain. Any help is certainly appreciated, as I'm a bit confused. Thanks!

Sarah
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Re: John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby Frogsmile » 27 Feb 2015 18:50

Sarah don't forget the double ranking that applies with the Foot Guards. Each time a Guards officer was promoted both his regimental and his army rank went up one automatically. You may have been looking at one rank that was regimental and another at army level. In addition he might have brevet rank at yet another level. Sneaky fellows those Guardsmen :wink:
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Re: John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 27 Feb 2015 19:00

Frogsmile wrote:Sarah don't forget the double ranking that applies with the Foot Guards. Each time a Guards officer was promoted both his regimental and his army rank went up one automatically. You may have been looking at one rank that was regimental and another at army level. In addition he might have brevet rank at yet another level. Sneaky fellows those Guardsmen :wink:


Right! Thanks! You've told me that before, but I forget. (Embarrassed . . .)
You're probably totally correct. It was just website with the one date, though, so I am trying to find anything from a more reliable source. Will post anything that I find, but so far I am just finding references to a volume of poetry that he wrote and three songs. Interesting, but not of use as far as his military ranks. ;)
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Re: John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 08 Mar 2017 14:54

Hi, again!
I've got another question on this . . . and, at least this time, I'm keeping those double ranks in mind! :)

Okay, I have these dates of rank for this officer:
Rank of Ensign/Lieutenant on 24 Dec 1825.
Rank of Lieutenant/Captain on 15 Jun 1830.
Rank of Lt.-Col. on 13 May 1842.
Rank of Colonel on 20 Jun 1854.

What is puzzling me here, is the missing "Captain/Major" rank? Shouldn't there be one? In August of 1838, it still shows that Pringle is at his 1830 rank of Lt./Capt. Do you think that he would just have gone to Lt.-Col. in 1842 and bypassed the Capt./Major rank?

Thanks!
Sarah
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Re: John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Mar 2017 16:38

It was possible in special circumstances to jump a rank Sarah, providing there was a vacancy, the regimental Colonel (pater familias) approved it, and the aspirant officer could afford the cost of two steps. The confirmation should be an announcement in the 'London Gazette' at the time of the promotion.
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Re: John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 09 Mar 2017 17:41

Frogsmile wrote:It was possible in special circumstances to jump a rank Sarah, providing there was a vacancy, the regimental Colonel (pater familias) approved it, and the aspirant officer could afford the cost of two steps. The confirmation should be an announcement in the 'London Gazette' at the time of the promotion.


Okay! Will see about taking a little time this afternoon and trying to find it. I know that he could have afforded the jump, so it would just be the other two things . . .

Thanks a lot! Will post any findings here. I'm almost finished with writing his web page, so I hope to have that up in the next week!

Regards,
Sarah
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Re: John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby jf42 » 09 Mar 2017 19:46

Sarah- you may already be on the same trail but the London Gazette shows these announcements
for John Henry Pringle. These show the double ranks for a Foot Guards officer. Your notes for comparison are in bold

Ensign/Lieutenant on 24 Dec 1825

No entry found in Gazette

Lieutenant/Captain on 15 Jun 1830.

Publication Date
22 June 1830

The Edinburgh Gazette, Issue 3866, Page 167
Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards... Ensign and Lieutenant John Henry Pringle to be Lieutenant and Captain, by purchase, vice Cowell.

Lt.-Col. on 13 May 1842.

Publication Date
13 May 1842

The London Gazette, Issue 20099, Page 1296
Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards... Captain John Henry Pringle to be Captain and Lieutenant-Colonel, by purchase, vice Abercromby, who retires. Dated 13th May 1842

Colonel on 20 Jun 1854. 27 June 1854

The Edinburgh Gazette, Issue 6398, Page 532
Lieutenant Colonel... John Henry Pringle, Unattached Hon.

Publication Date
12 January 1855

The London Gazette, Issue 21650, Page 135
6th Regiment of Royal Lancashire Militia... John Henry Pringle, Esq., Colonel Unattached, late of the Coldstream Guards, to be Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding.

Publication Date
25 March 1856

The London Gazette, Issue 21863, Page 1160
Scots Fusilier Guards... Brevet-Colonel John Henry Pringle, from half-pay Unattached, to be Captain and Lieutenant-Colonel, vice Fordyce Buchan, who exchanges.

Publication Date
11 June 1861

The Edinburgh Gazette, Issue 7126, Page 766 6th Regiment of Royal Lancashire Militia. Major Thomas Edward Wilbraham to be Lieutenant-Colonel, vice John Henry Pringle, resigned. Dated 25th May 1861.
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Re: John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 10 Mar 2017 13:21

jf42 wrote:Sarah- you may already be on the same trail but the London Gazette shows these announcements
for John Henry Pringle. These show the double ranks for a Foot Guards officer. Your notes for comparison are in bold

Ensign/Lieutenant on 24 Dec 1825

No entry found in Gazette

Lieutenant/Captain on 15 Jun 1830.

Publication Date
22 June 1830

The Edinburgh Gazette, Issue 3866, Page 167
Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards... Ensign and Lieutenant John Henry Pringle to be Lieutenant and Captain, by purchase, vice Cowell.

Lt.-Col. on 13 May 1842.

Publication Date
13 May 1842

The London Gazette, Issue 20099, Page 1296
Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards... Captain John Henry Pringle to be Captain and Lieutenant-Colonel, by purchase, vice Abercromby, who retires. Dated 13th May 1842

Colonel on 20 Jun 1854. 27 June 1854

The Edinburgh Gazette, Issue 6398, Page 532
Lieutenant Colonel... John Henry Pringle, Unattached Hon.

Publication Date
12 January 1855

The London Gazette, Issue 21650, Page 135
6th Regiment of Royal Lancashire Militia... John Henry Pringle, Esq., Colonel Unattached, late of the Coldstream Guards, to be Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding.

Publication Date
25 March 1856

The London Gazette, Issue 21863, Page 1160
Scots Fusilier Guards... Brevet-Colonel John Henry Pringle, from half-pay Unattached, to be Captain and Lieutenant-Colonel, vice Fordyce Buchan, who exchanges.

Publication Date
11 June 1861

The Edinburgh Gazette, Issue 7126, Page 766 6th Regiment of Royal Lancashire Militia. Major Thomas Edward Wilbraham to be Lieutenant-Colonel, vice John Henry Pringle, resigned. Dated 25th May 1861.


Thank you so much! Ended up gone all day yesterday and didn't have a chance to look these up myself. Much appreciated.

So, it appears that JH never was a Major, and that promotion went from Captain to Lt.-Col. in 1842. Is that usual?

The other thing that really surprises me here is the rank in the SFG from 1856. I've never heard of that one, and he never seems to have referred to it. His children just claim the Coldstreams and the Lancashire Militia. What would have been the advantage (as commanding officer of the Militia) to exchanging for a rank in the SFG?

Thanks for all the help!
Sarah
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Re: John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby Frogsmile » 10 Mar 2017 15:19

I don't think it is a 'usual' course to jump over the rank of Major, Sarah, although it has to be borne in mind that there were usually just two majors in a battalion at that time. The more senior (by date of promotion in the London Gazette), known as 'the Senior Major', was the battalion second-in-command as a matter of course. This could sometimes lead to a man who was considered a good officer, but not necessarily good commanding officer material, becoming stuck in his position as major, although I do not know how this would work in a system where promotion was still largely by purchase. In such circumstances (where the major was unable to step up) it would not be unusual for one of the company commanders (a captain) to jump over him into the position of lieutenant colonel and commanding officer. We would need to examine the London Gazette to see how many other such instances there were to get a feel for how common this was.

The rank mentioned in connection with the SFG is 'Brevet Colonel', which you might recall from previous posts is a rank within the army list, rather than the regimental list. It would enable him to command at a higher level when battalions are brigaded into divisions, as part of a mixed arms force (i.e. cavalry, artillery, and infantry).

The move from Lancashire Militia (an auxiliary force of part-time soldiers) to the Scots Fusilier Guards (a prestigious regular regiment of the Sovereign's household troops) would be considered a great promotion. Bear in mind he is moving from half-pay on an inactive (part-time) list to full pay as an active officer in the regular army once again.
Last edited by Frogsmile on 11 Mar 2017 15:47, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby jf42 » 10 Mar 2017 21:54

There is something slightly strange here.

From the Gazette entries, we see that John Pringle advanced by purchase from Lieutenant and Captain in the Coldstream Guards to Captain and Lieut. Col in 1842, and then- a full twelve years later, as an unattached Lieutenant Colonel, he was breveted Colonel in I854.

In 1855, Brevet Colonel Pringle, unattached, late of the Coldstream Guards, was then appointed as Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 6th Regiment, Royal Lancs Militia.

Then, just over a year after that appointment, in Jan 1856, we see from the Gazette that Brevet Colonel Pringle, half pay unattached, obtained a commission as Captain and Lieut. Col in the Scots Fusilier Guards. This was a rank that John Pringle has already obtained by purchase in the Coldstream Guards fourteen years before in 1842, and far from being on half-pay unattached, as the Gazette tells us, he was CO of the 6th Regt. R. Lancs Militia, a post he only relinquished on retiring in 1861.

I can only conclude that, (a) the Gazette entry for his promotion to Captain Lieut. Colonel in the Scots Fusilier Guards was somewhat tardy and that in fact his commission in the SFG was obtained more or less at the same time he came off half-pay to take over as CO in the 6th R Lancs Militia and (b) that his commission as Captain and Lieut Colonel in the Coldstream Guards in 1842 was a separate matter entirely from his commission at the same rank in the Scots Fusilier Guards circa 1855-56. He was effectively moving sideways at the same substantive rank after a long period on half pay with no rank at regimental level. Perhaps as a regular officer he needed a regimental commission to come off half-pay. Captain and Lieutenant was not a particularly high rank for an officer who had entered the army thirty years before, even pre- Cardwell.

That sideways move from Captain and Lieut Colonel in the Coldstream Guards, to being Captain and Lieut. Colonel in the Scots Fusilier Guards (while commanding a militia battalion) would seem to explain the fact that the rank of 'Major' does not appear in his CV. he remained a Captain in the Foot Guards with seniority of Lieut Colonel in the army.

So, if that interpretation holds good, the picture is perhaps not so strange after all- merely a little complicated; as we should expect from Her Majesty's Foot Guards in the mid C19th.
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Re: John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 11 Mar 2017 15:28

Thank you, Gentlemen, for the two very informative replies. I've read and re-read them this morning!

It is that SFG rank that seems out of place, but the idea that he may have needed it to come off the half-pay sounds plausible. He was quite active in the Guards, as well as being very active in the 6th Lancashire Militia. In fact, it's not hard to find news reports of some of his actions in both those positions. Never seen anything about the SFG, though. Perhaps it was late in being announced and had to do with the Militia service.

One thing to throw out about the Brevet rank of Colonel (and this may have nothing to do with any of our present topic), is that it was listed in the papers on 26 Jun 1854 under an almost full page of Brevet promotions. There are hundreds of names, many of them unattached or half-pay officers. Were these because of the Crimean War and the fact that so many acting officers were leaving the country for foreign service? It almost looks like they are raising officers to bring in for Militia service to me, but that's just an opinion.

Another thing to throw in here is that, in the period of 1853 to the first months of 1855, Pringle was also holding the "civil position" of Gentleman-at-Large for the court of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (a cousin at the time). Would that have affected his military ranking in any way?

It does seem that Pringle did not advance through the ranks very rapidly, but he also did not really see battle action during his career, is that right? From what I can find, it really appears that his career happened rather peacefully.

I'm going to have a look through some 1850s papers and see if there are any reports showing any info on the SFG thing.

Sarah
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Re: John Henry Pringle, Coldstream Guards (1825-1864)

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 06 Aug 2017 13:28

Hello, again!

I've finished the webpage for JH Pringle, and it is now online. Of course, I will always be able to add things to it, but this is the result so far.
http://eliotsofporteliot.com/pringles/pringle-john-henry.html

Thanks to everyone for their help! Now, I need to spend some time on a page for JH's father --- who was a Major General through the Peninsular War.

Sarah
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