Private Samuel Delap, 10th Regiment of Foot

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Private Samuel Delap, 10th Regiment of Foot

Postby davieboy » 19 Aug 2017 20:29

I’m researching the military career and life of my great great grandfather, Private Samuel Delap, who served 19 years in the 10th Foot Regiment. He was recruited aged 22 for a bounty of £3 at Letterkenny, Donegal in May 1831, and was medically discharged (with chronic rheumatism) aged 41 in August 1850. During his time in India (1842 – 1850) he fought in the Anglo-Sikh Wars at Sobraon, Multan and Gujerat in the second half of the 1840s. He became medically unfit shortly after the last encounter, and spent time in hospital before being sent home. There is no record of him ever being wounded however. Ironically, having survived nearly 8 years in India, on his return to civilian life, whilst working as a stoker in a dyeworks, he died of cholera in Bridgeton, Glasgow in 1861. He was probably buried in a mass grave.

He was illiterate, and left behind nothing of himself apart from his genes, now much diluted. His campaign medal(s) have disappeared without trace. As a result he has been a deeply frustrating subject to research. All record of him in Ireland is long gone. Had it not been for the digitisation of a few records and some old books about the 10th I would know next to nothing about him.

Sam had a “wife” during his service in India called Mary Kelly, who was probably at least 14 years his junior. I have not found a recorded marriage or any proper background for her. I don’t think she was Indian or Anglo-Indian. There is an outside chance they got together in Glasgow in December 1841, the regiment’s last lengthy home posting before India. He would then have been about 32 and she would have been barely 18. More likely is that they met shortly after his arrival at Calcutta in August/September 1842.

In India they had at least 4 registered children between 1843 and 1848, under a variety of surname spellings (Delap, Dalop, Dalap and Dunlop according to how the scribe interpreted an Irish accent). Their birthplaces and dates coincide with the regiment’s locations: 1843 and 1844 at Chinsurah, 1846 at Meerut, and 1848 at Lahore. Of the children, only my great grandfather James Dunlop survived beyond early infancy. Mary died in Bombay in January 1850, aged about 26, and was buried at Coalaba Military Cemetery. She was probably awaiting ship home with Sam and James.

I have an outline of Sam’s life and times from books and websites but there are a many gaps to fill and a few puzzles to solve. I have some theories, but relatively few facts. My next step looks like either an extended visit to Kew to consult regimental muster books and anything else that’s relevant and available, a multi-day trip from Scotland, or commissioning a researcher to do it for me.

Before doing so, and to help structure this further research, I am hoping that users of this website can throw light on the following Victorian Army questions.

1 Sam was recruited by Private James McClay of the 10th, who I assume was with the depot company. I’m guessing that the 10th’s depot company(s) was in barracks or billeted in or near Letterkenny (maybe Strabane?) when Sam was recruited in 1831, but I’ve not found any complete online record of its location(s), only a few isolated references to places further south in Ireland at other times. Is there a comprehensive list of the 10th’s depot company locations other than in muster books? Were depot company muster books kept separately from those of a regiment overseas? Or were they somehow combined?

2 The regiment was sunning itself in the Ionian Islands for about 10 years from 1828. However, Sam’s service record says he was at Corfu for only 6 months between joining-up in 1831 and 1838, but not when. This leaves about 6 years unaccounted for, when I infer he must have been in Britain and probably with the depot company. Discounting a clerical error, is it likely he was with the depot company for such a prolonged period? Did soldiers spend prolonged periods “in reserve” rather than joining the regiment abroad? I thought the main purpose of depot companies was to recruit, train and send soldiers to the regiment abroad to fill inevitable manpower gaps. Is there another obvious explanation?

3 Sam’s service record shows him to have been a prisoner for nearly 4 months whilst at Calcutta/Chinsurah in 1842/3, commencing a few weeks after he arrived in India, and close to the time I think he most probably met Mary. Apart from one day’s imprisonment on board ship to India from Gravesend, his record is otherwise unblemished. How serious might his offence have been to merit such a sentence? Would persistent drunkenness have been enough? Was there consistency of sentencing within or between regiments? Would getting married without permission have warranted a 4 month stretch? Or perhaps getting young Mary pregnant outside wedlock in less than consensual circumstances? Is the reason for his imprisonment likely to be recorded? There is no mention of good conduct badges in his record. Was this unusual? A comment on his discharge papers says, ”his conduct has been latterly good.” Maybe he was a reformed rogue.

4 Upon discharge as an out-pensioner in 1850, at 9d per day, he appears to have gone straight to Glasgow with my 4 year old great grandfather. Would the Army have paid James’s sailing-home fare? Did soldiers of this period get any help with onward travel, such as a railway warrant or expenses, or finding a job, or were they simply expected to be self-reliant once out of the service? It became possible to travel from London to Glasgow by rail about November 1849.

Many thanks in advance.
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Re: Private Samuel Delap, 10th Regiment of Foot

Postby Frogsmile » 20 Aug 2017 01:18

Hello Davie,

I have to confess that I was most moved by the eloquence that you have expressed in the explanation of your research and I will do the best that I can to help.

1. As a start point I can tell you that in 1831 the 10th's depot (or 'reserve' company as it was known at that time) was at Tralee (Ballymullen) barracks in Ireland and the service companies were based at Zante in the Ionian Islands. Ballymullen Barracks has a long history, work on the construction of Ballymullen Barracks began on 11th August, 1810, to facilitate Regular and Militia Units in Tralee. The barracks was completed, and the first troops took up residence, in 1815. It is estimated that the total cost of construction, was £17,500, and on completion, could accommodate 18 officers and 300 NCO’s and privates. This figure was subsequently increased, as additional accommodation blocks were added.

Muster rolls for the regiment would show men at Tralee and men at Zante as separate rolls, but subsequently recorded together. I will work on your other questions starting tomorrow. See page 435 at the following link for 1831 deployment details: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hGa ... 31&f=false
In general, at that time battalions based on foreign service had their reserve company (depot) listed at a specific location in Britain or Ireland, but battalions based at 'home' were collocated with their reserve company and so only a single location was listed. The 10th's reserve company seems to have stayed at Tralee during the battalion's stay in the Ionian isles, you can read of the service companies outline locations here: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=sAY ... &q&f=false

Unfortunately there is no central list of all the depot (reserve company) locations and it is a matter of scouring those newspapers that regularly published a list of locations, such as the Ediburgh Gazette. For later periods there are digitised examples of these that have been made accessible by a body in the USA known as Nafziger (use search term 'distribution/stations of the British army ####(year))', e.g. http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/CGSC/CARL/n ... 836DAA.pdf.

There is also a now archived website that had begun to attempt creating a list and much more regimental history that can be accessed here: https://web.archive.org/web/20060221223 ... /010-1.htm

2. You are correct regarding the purpose and function of the reserve (depot) company and it would be usual for men to be trained and dispatched in various sized drafts, usually under a junior officer and a sergeant, to join their battalion overseas. However, there were circumstances where a man might stay for a length of time at the depot. Typically this might be because a man had a special skill that made him useful, e.g. being literate and numerate often led to employment as a clerk, or he might be employed as an influential officer's servant or groom and if valued retained for as long as the officer wished it. There were also cases where men were awaiting attendance at court, or sick in the barracks hospital (at Tralee there were 30 beds), although these latter were usually only for short periods, as any useless mouth was quickly discharged.

3. Each soldier had two conduct sheets retained with his personal records, one for his 'Company' and one for his 'Regiment' (aka Battalion). The first was for petty infringements of discipline that could be dealt with by his company commander (a captain) using penalties that did not extend to formal 'detention' (i.e. imprisonment). The latter was for more serious offences that would be dealt with by the battalion commander (aka the commanding officer - a lieutenant colonel), or lesser offences where the soldier had refused to accept the option of an award of punishment from his company commander and for some reason wished it to be considered by the 'higher authority' of his colonel.

Company conduct infringements did not affect time towards long service and/or good conduct awards, nor did they involve formal stoppages of pay other than to recompense for government issue items that had been lost or damaged. Regimental conduct infringements, however, could result in detention, and/or stoppages of pay and any time served in detention both halted good conduct pay and removed any chance of a good conduct medal. The time served in detention was also discounted as time towards pension.

If a company infringement (i.e. offence) was considered by the commanding officer and a guilty finding reached then he could not award any more stringent a penalty than the company commander could have done had the soldier elected to be awarded punishment by him. These latter scenarios were rare, but did occur from time-to-time. The most common disciplinary offences related to drunkeness, especially in India, where many men drank a foul concoction called 'arrack' that rendered them insensible and in the process abusive and sometimes violent. It was a serious offence to be insolent, or offer violence to an NCO, or officer and could often lead to months in detention and/or a flogging. Conduct sheets sometime survive in a man's military record, but it does depend on how much of his documentation has been retained, as in later decades these were sometimes 'weeded' as storage capacity became an issue and grew less. Surviving documents are mostly retained in the National Archives.

4. Passage home on completion of service or being medically discharged was free, along with all dependants that were on the unit strength (i.e. officially recognised as the product of a marriage carried out with regimental consent). There were no rail warrants in 1849, but each man received a sum of money on discharge that was expected to cover onward travel to a home destination from the depot where he would complete the discharge process. There was also no organised system to find employment, albeit that men with long service were sometimes assisted by officers with whom they had long association.
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Last edited by Frogsmile on 22 Aug 2017 16:00, edited 21 times in total.
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Re: Private Samuel Delap, 10th Regiment of Foot

Postby Maureene » 20 Aug 2017 06:49

I assume for him to be imprisoned for this period, there would have been a court-martial.

There is a FIBIS Fibiwiki page Courts-Martial, which gives details of likely relevant records.
https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Courts-martial.

The likely records include the IOR/L/MIL/17/2/269-352 series, General Orders by the Commander-in-Chief India, at the British Library. For 1842 the reference is IOR/L/MIL/17/2/291, and for 1843 IOR/L/MIL/17/2/293. For this period, the Orders appear to be unindexed.

The British Library catalogue reference says, about the series of records,
The General Orders relate to the management of the army and its personnel. Details about the careers of individual European and Indian soldiers are included e.g. in orders for promotions, transfers to the pension establishment and in records of courts martial.

There are also records at the National Archives, Kew which may be relevant.

Regarding his marriage, if he married in India, it is most likely his bride would have been the widow, or daughter, of another British Army soldier, most likely of the same regiment. The next most likely source of a bride probably would be an orphan, or pupil, from an orphanage. A marriage of a girl from 14 years old up, to a soldier in his late 20s was probably more the norm than an exception. You sometimes see marriages where the bride was 13, or even 12, but these would usually be orphans, and probably an earlier period.

Cheers
Maureen
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Re: Private Samuel Delap, 10th Regiment of Foot

Postby Frogsmile » 20 Aug 2017 15:49

Maureene wrote:I assume for him to be imprisoned for this period, there would have been a court-martial.

There is a FIBIS Fibiwiki page Courts-Martial, which gives details of likely relevant records.
https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Courts-martial.

The likely records include the IOR/L/MIL/17/2/269-352 series, General Orders by the Commander-in-Chief India, at the British Library. For 1842 the reference is IOR/L/MIL/17/2/291, and for 1843 IOR/L/MIL/17/2/293. For this period, the Orders appear to be unindexed.

The British Library catalogue reference says, about the series of records,
The General Orders relate to the management of the army and its personnel. Details about the careers of individual European and Indian soldiers are included e.g. in orders for promotions, transfers to the pension establishment and in records of courts martial.

There are also records at the National Archives, Kew which may be relevant.

Regarding his marriage, if he married in India, it is most likely his bride would have been the widow, or daughter, of another British Army soldier, most likely of the same regiment. The next most likely source of a bride probably would be an orphan, or pupil, from an orphanage. A marriage of a girl from 14 years old up, to a soldier in his late 20s was probably more the norm than an exception. You sometimes see marriages where the bride was 13, or even 12, but these would usually be orphans, and probably an earlier period.

Cheers
Maureen


For longer sentences you are quite right that a Court Martial was necessary, but there have always been shorter periods of detention that could be awarded by a commanding officer at orderly room via 'summary disposal'. The exact period of detention that could be awarded was modified a few times over the decades of the 19th and 20th C, but for the most part was no more than 28-days, although for a persistent petty offender it could be as long as 90-days providing authority was given by the Divisional Commander. Anything more serious, or expected to be above that term was the province of a formally convened court martial. There is a good history of these matters here: http://www.stephen-stratford.com/history_cm.htm

Like you, I think it very likely that the young wife in question was another soldier's daughter from the same garrison/cantonment, if not regiment.
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Re: Private Samuel Delap, 10th Regiment of Foot

Postby davieboy » 22 Aug 2017 12:18

10th Foot Regiment, Company Locations 1831 - 1842

Many thanks to both of you for your assistance.

In pursuit of my great great grandfather’s military whereabouts before India, or at least his regiment’s, the recommended link to the United Services Journal online proved to be fruitful. From it I have extracted the locations of both service company and reserve/depot company. This is an updated link.

https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/010068455

There are usually 3 volumes per year, though some are missing, but can be found elsewhere by a Google search. Each journal’s contents are normally listed at the beginning, though some have been omitted. Stations of the British Army are generally tabulated within the “Editor’s Portfolio”, but sometimes separately. Later volumes have monthly listings, whereas the earlier ones appear to be restricted to perhaps 2 per year (January and July) and updates only of movement thereafter. There are few gaps.

Should anyone else be interested, this is what I found about the 10th.

Year Service Company
1831 Zante, Ionian Islands.
1832 Zante, Ionian Islands, to Sep.
Corfu, Sep to Nov.
Vido, Ionian Islands, Nov on.
1833 Vido, Ionian Islands, to Aug.
Corfu, Aug on.
1834 Corfu, Ionian Islands.
1835 Corfu, to Aug.
Ionian Islands, Aug on.
1836 Ionian Islands.
1837 Ionian Islands (Ordered home Jun).
Cork, County Cork, Dec.
1838 Cork, County Cork, Jan.
Fermoy, County Cork, Jan to Jul.
Templemore, County Tipperary, Jul to Oct.
Limerick, County Limerick, Oct on.
1839 Limerick, County Limerick, to Apr.
Dublin, May.
Manchester, Lancashire, May to Oct.
Burnley, Lancashire, Oct on
1840 Burnley, Lancashire, Jan to Jul
Manchester, Lancashire, Jul on
1841 Manchester, Lancashire, Jan to Jul
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Aug
Glasgow, Scotland, Sep on
1842 Glasgow, Scotland, Jan to Mar
Winchester, Hampshire, Apr
Depart for Bengal

Year Reserve Company
1831 Tralee, County Kerry, Jan to Aug.
Castlebar, County Mayo, Aug to Oct.
Cork, County Cork, Oct to Dec.
Boyle, County Roscommon, Dec on.
1832 Boyle, County Roscommon, Jan to Nov.
Clonmel, County Tipperary, Nov on.
1833 Clonmel, County Tipperary, Jan to Mar.
Fermoy, County Cork, Mar to Aug.
Cork, County Cork Aug to Oct.
Devonport, Devonshire, Nov.
Plymouth, Devonshire, Nov on.
1834 Plymouth, Devonshire, Jan.
Brecon, Powys (Brecknockshire), Feb.
Plymouth, Devonshire, Mar on.
1835 Plymouth, Devonshire, Jan to Jun.
Brecon, Powys (Brecknockshire), Jun on.
1836 Brecon, Powys (Brecknockshire)
1837 Brecon, Powys (Brecknockshire) Jan to Jun.
Wexford, County Wexford, Jun to Dec.
Cork, County Cork, Dec.
1838 Companies reunited.
1839 Companies reunited.
1840 Companies reunited.
1841 Companies reunited.
1842 Companies reunited till Apr.
Winchester, Hampshire, Apr to May.
Chatham, Kent, May on.

The Depot remained at Chatham till at least August 1850, when Sam was finally medically discharged there.

I chanced upon an amusing and informative letter at the link below about depots in Ireland, seen by its writer as an inferior location. He is none too complimentary about the initial quality of his recruits.

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... up;seq=127
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Re: Private Samuel Delap, 10th Regiment of Foot

Postby Frogsmile » 22 Aug 2017 15:54

That's great news Davie. I did not know that about the United Services Journal online having the reserve (depot) companies locations accessible. I should have realised that Maureen would have posted something really critical, but the subject of reserve companies between 1831 and 1841 hasn't really arisen before. It would be great if a list could be consolidated and posted on FibiWiki because it is not available anywhere else online and even the Nafziger project's transcribed lists does not include those for most of the 1830s and much of the 1840s.
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Re: Private Samuel Delap, 10th Regiment of Foot

Postby davieboy » 23 Aug 2017 20:38

In the interests of accuracy I should point out that the 10th's depot did not become a fixture at Chatham until February 1844. Prior to that it alternated between Chatham and Sheerness.
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Re: Private Samuel Delap, 10th Regiment of Foot

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 28 Aug 2017 12:51

One quick thought about your great-great grandmother, Mary. You can say with certainty that she is not Indian, since she is actually listed on a burial record (and, I'm assuming, on the baptism for the children). If the woman had been Indian, she would never appear on the British records. I have worked on tracing several men who did marry Indian wives, and even though they took on English names, etc., they are never ever recorded in British church records. In fact, one gent in my tree married an Indian woman. Together they had several children and then the family moved back to England. She survived her husband (even mentioned at length in his will) and is known to be buried with him. But you'll never find a hint of her name in a record, either in India or England.

Regards,
Sarah
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