Reading army pension records

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Reading army pension records

Postby HRM » 05 Jun 2017 17:34

I'm researching a man who served as a private in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment. He served in India during the Sepoy Mutiny and then was discharged in 1861 on account of poor health. He served a total of almost exactly 4 years. It seems he began to collect his pension from various points around the country in 1862, but I can't make heads or tails of the handwritten notes on his records. Here are a few examples of what appears:

£66, 094 Contr (hard to read this abbreviation) a35 Coventry £019/9/6
£67/32 - Y for six months conyer (hard to read) B 14.10.62 no.19
£73,36 9 - Contr -
£74623 & £75948 y for six months conyrs f-d-h--f (indecipherable) B 4.8.63 no 53

etc.

I have tried to attach a photo but the site won't allow me.

Obviously, the first part seems to be an amount, but I was surprised by how large the amount was. If anyone could help me decipher the rest of the entries, I would be very much obliged. Many thanks!
HRM
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Re: Reading army pension records

Postby Frogsmile » 05 Jun 2017 22:36

HRM wrote:I'm researching a man who served as a private in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment. He served in India during the Sepoy Mutiny and then was discharged in 1861 on account of poor health. He served a total of almost exactly 4 years. It seems he began to collect his pension from various points around the country in 1862, but I can't make heads or tails of the handwritten notes on his records. Here are a few examples of what appears:

£66, 094 Contr (hard to read this abbreviation) a35 Coventry £019/9/6
£67/32 - Y for six months conyer (hard to read) B 14.10.62 no.19
£73,36 9 - Contr -
£74623 & £75948 y for six months conyrs f-d-h--f (indecipherable) B 4.8.63 no 53

etc.

I have tried to attach a photo but the site won't allow me.

Obviously, the first part seems to be an amount, but I was surprised by how large the amount was. If anyone could help me decipher the rest of the entries, I would be very much obliged. Many thanks!


Welcome to the forum, HRM. The site is not stopping you from posting photos. You can either use a photo hosting website and then post the link, or you can use this site, but with a size upload limit. Assuming your document is oblong shaped you just use your computer to resize the image in the pixels mode so that the longest side of the rectangle is no more than 700 wide.
You can also email me (through my profile page) and I will help you if I can.
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Re: Reading army pension records

Postby almaboy » 06 Jun 2017 07:41

HRM

deciphering Victorian discharge documents is a dark art! If you post the mans details I can find his discharge papers and have a look on your behalf.

Judging from what you have written, these annotations will most likely be on the last (back) page and are references from the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. I think you will find that the first figure is not a sum of money, but a reference code which will refer to correspondence about the man. He was most probably examined whilst a pensioner and decisions made about whether or not to increase his pension to reflect any disability.

Tony.
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Re: Reading army pension records

Postby HRM » 06 Jun 2017 11:31

Tony, thank you for this tremendous offer of help. If decoding pension records is a dark art, then I might very well have found a wizard!
His name was Thomas Quinn, Private no. 350. He was discharged on the 14th of October 1861 from the 1st battalion of the 18th Royal Irish. He then spent a few weeks in Kilmainham hospital. He is described as having had a disease of the heart and something like chronic bronchitis, which the examining medical officer attributed to the climate of India and not intemperance 'or other vice'. He had one medal for good behaviour. It strikes me that he may actually have been suffering from asthma, but the disease was not recognised until the 20th century.
You mention that the numbers may have referred to correspondence. Does this mean that correspondence and examinations may actually exist in records at the PRO? This could be quite a find...
Many, many thanks again.
HRM
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Re: Reading army pension records

Postby almaboy » 06 Jun 2017 15:37

HRM
I have found the relevant discharge papers and will attempt to decipher them, but it may take a while! Clearly, his condition was the subject of some debate which is why there are so many references. Just to put you in the picture this is how the first reference breaks down:

F66094 -is the correspondence number issued from Chelsea.
Contd - current rate of pension continued, in this case 7d
A35 - no. of report sent which relates to rate of pension
Coventry - Area where he drew his pension
SO - Staff Officer (of Pensions) responsible for the Coventry Area.
19/9/62 - date submitted.
Each time a case was reviewed, the necessary authorities would be told via letter and this would be annotated on the mans pension papers. So this code tells who was informed, when, and for what reason.

If you PM me an email addy I can send you a full breakdown once I've deciphered it. The bad news is that this correspondence would have been weeded and usually destroyed some time in the early 1900's. So there won't be many other papers available apart from possibly his entries in the Chelsea registers. I'll see if I can track those down as well.

As to his disability, asthma was often confused with the general breathing difficulties associated with congestive heart failure, a common ailment amongst soldiers serving in arduous climates. In addition, many men suffered from rheumatic fever prior to joining up, and this would manifest itself in a similar fashion.

Tony.
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Re: Reading army pension records

Postby HRM » 06 Jun 2017 19:31

Tony, this is wonderful. Thank you so much. I'm going to PM you now.
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Re: Reading army pension records

Postby HRM » 06 Jun 2017 19:49

Actually, I've sent you an email as it didn't look as if my PM worked.
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