Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

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Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby Garen » 30 Nov 2007 19:11

I wonder how many forum members know of any of their ancestors that served in the Victorian era? And are you lucky enough to have any items relating to them (eg. medals, photos etc...)?

I have, in chronological order...

Thomas Higson (ggggg-grandfather) - a soldier at Colne, Lancashire c.1800 (but need to confirm more, know very little).

Donald Campbell (gggg-grandfather) - a sergeant of the 42nd Foot, seems to have served in France c.1815 (Waterloo?), as he had a daughter born there then. Possibility that his name and/or regiment may have been misremembered! More on the mystery of Donald here: ... 110.0.html

Thomas Pritchard (ggg-uncle) - Lucknow c.1880s (have copy of a photo) - still to be researched...

Donald and Alexander Cameron (ggg-uncles) - brothers who served as sergeants in the 72nd Foot, Afghanistan 1878-80 and Egypt 1882. Donald was a regimental piper on the march to Kandahar, and I have copies of two photos of him.

I may have more... but not that I know of. I have more details here:

Would like to hear about anyone else's!
Best - Garen
The Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80
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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby Mark » 30 Nov 2007 19:31

I haven't been able to trace any family military history back to before the First World War. I know I have a Grandfather and several Great Uncles who served in WW1 but family myth has it that someone served in the Boer War. However with many older family members now having sadly passed away I am struggling to find out much.

Today I acquired an Indian Mutiny Medal with Central India clasp to an Ensign Benjamin Simner who served in the 5th Light Infantry of the German Legion. Later he served as a Lieutenant in the Military Train and 53rd Foot (Shropshire Regiment) and as a Captain in the 76th Foot (Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment). I believe Benjamin is a distant relative - in fact most Simner's are since my surname is rare and most listed in the Censuses are family ancestors.

There is a lot of research with the medal and I will post a write up when it all arrives.

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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby Geoff » 30 Nov 2007 21:00

Only two that I know of for sure. Brothers George and William HINDLEY, from West Kirby, Cheshire, both joined the 30th Foot to go fight in the Crimea. William was wounded at Inkermann on 5 November 1854 and survived the war to become an Army pensioner. George was not as lucky - he died of disease sometime between the 16th and 18th of February 1855 in the winter following Balaclava - apparently there were many deaths from disease that particular winter. Both these men were my 3 or 4xGreat-Uncles.

There's another family connection that I am researching: John Mitchell - my GG-Uncle, from Birkenhead, Cheshire (as it was then) was a tug-boat Master (on large ocean-going salvage tugs). There is some evidence that he was present during the Egyptian campaign on attachment to the RN. I have found one of his tugs, Stormcock, as being present in the Suez during this time - but family legend has him actually travelling up the Nile in the attempt to relieve Khartoum. Still working on that one.
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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby kaiser » 07 May 2008 10:19

Yes i know there all post Victorian :D

My Dad's side of the family
6606 Sgt Robert Boughton 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers Boer war/WW1, DOW
10936 Pte Albert Boughton 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers WW1, DOW

My Mams side of the family
1798 Pte James Lovett 12th Lancers KIA 30/3/1918
3854189 Rflm William Reilly 2nd Btn KRRC KIA 27/3/1943

A whole lot more to follow but my dad has all the info somewere i cant find it :(
Last edited by kaiser on 07 May 2008 18:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby DavidB » 07 May 2008 15:25

Pre-WW1 I can point to a gg-grandfather in the Royal Navy - Richard Skinner b.Deal, Kent in 1846 (if memory serves). Must dig out the details again.

Other than that very little that's confirmed.
Family stories and whispers about another gg-grandfather, that he was in the army and served in Matabeleland/Mashonaland.
Nothing about the story I've been able to prove so far though. :( :(
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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby Berkshire Dragon » 10 Jun 2008 22:29

1. My GGG Grandfather was an officer in the 33rd Madras Native Infantry and Madras Staff Corps and fought in the Indian Mutiny earning the Indian Mutuny Medal with clasp Central India.

2. A distant cousin who was in the Boer War. He emigrated to New Zealand and went to South Africa as part of the 2nd NZ Mounted Rifles. He was killed in action on the 23rd January 1901 in the Vlakfontein area earning the QSA with Johannesburg, Cape Colony, Orange Free State and South Africa 1901 clasps posthumously.

3. Two GG Uncles (brothers) who were both officers in the Royal Engineers. One of them was in the Boer War and received the QSA with Cape Colony, Orange Free State and Transvaal clasps (and fought later in WW1) and the other had an IGSM with Chin Lushai 1889-1890 clasp and a 1900 China War Medal (also later to fight in WW1)

4. Another GG Uncle (RA) took part in the Relief of Chitral earning the IGSM with relevant clasp and fought in the Boer War earning the QSA with Elaandslaagte and Defence of Ladysmith clasps as well as being MiD (again fighting in WW1).

Unfortunately, apart from the medals of number 4 (which I have :D ) none of the other medals to the best of my knowledge are with the family so it would be a dream come true to find any/all of them and bring them home so to speak.


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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby Grumpy Old Man » 04 Jul 2008 21:11

Maternal GGF was George Crawford Hogg, Poona Horse. Cavalry brigade major at Maiwand and had his horse shot from under him at Deh Khoja (cheers Garen).
Hogg was a cousin of John Nicholson of Delhi/ Mutiny fame.
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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby willandtom » 04 Aug 2008 17:56

I have two brothers William and Thomas Beetles, who were my 5xGreat Uncles. Both fought in the Indian Mutiny, William was in the 78th Highland Regiment, Thomas in the 73rd Regiment. Also I have a 4x Great Uncle George Beetles, Who was in the 4th Dragoon Guards, he joined them in 1879. He was in Egypt in 1882 in the Battle of Tel-El-Kebir, he fought in the Boer War and was in the Royal Defence Corps in WW1. In 1918 he was medically discharged for poor eyesight, he was 59 years old.
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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby unknownmale » 17 Aug 2008 09:28

Hi to this particular aspect of a very interesting site,

I like so many others are deeply indebted to people such as those who are members of this site.
Presently I am trying to locate some cap badges to mount these would be the badges of my Grandparents regiments, Royal Scots, Seaforths and Labour Corps.

I started out on this military search when I found my Paternal GG/grandfather John Doyle was founf at the barracks in Hamilton. He hadbeen in the 80th. regiment of foot then 90th. Foot, before returning to Scotland, he was Irish. I tried to find his medals buteventually settled for examples of samesLSGC & IGS Bhutan. I would love to find photos of these regiments 80th any time beween 1859 and 1866, then 90th 1866 till 1881 I have not been able to find them yet.

I am also now researching AGordonHighlander my Cousin I have posted on another part of the forum and am extremely greatful for the assistance I have received from this forum to date.

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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby skarm » 04 Apr 2009 02:33

I've got two Victorian ancestors I knew that served:

Pte. John Davis born 23 Jan 1832 in Fairford, Glos, enlisted and eventually served with the 81st Regt. of Foot and served in India during the Mutiny and thus should have recieved an Indian Mutiny medal. John had a stint as a Paymaster Sergeant before being demoted so at the time of the medal issue he should have been a Paymaster...

John had a child born in 1857 in India...

Sgt. Richard Davis born 1857 I just now realized served in the Second Anglo-Afghan war and, according to an old picture, should have said campaign medal with the only clasp the 81st could have earned at the time. :)

There are several post-Victorian.
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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby vivace49 » 06 May 2009 21:07

My gg-grandfather William Hughes was with the Grenadier Guards (service number 5673) from 1849-1871. He was awarded the Crimea medal with clasps for Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman and Sevastapol and the Turkish medal.

His son George Hughes enlisted with the Grenadier Guards aged 10 in 1873 (service number 4527) as a drummer. He then transfered to the RA when he was 18 apparently to be with his older brother. I am still researching this.

Another son of William- Edward Hughes joined the King's Shropshire Regiment when he was 15years and went with them to Suakin. He then trained as a bandmaster at Kneller Hall and became Bandmaster of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment (service number 5449). He was involved in the Ladysmith Seige in the Boer War.

Until I began doing my genealogy research I had no idea that I had such a military background, though my grandfather was part of the BEF in 1914 (Highland Light Infantry) I am now fascinated by Victorian military history and proud of my ancesters.
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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby SFayers » 13 Jun 2009 09:50

Hi Garen,

Of those I know about so far, on my mum's side of the family:

My gg grandfather Henry William Parnell served in the 59th Regiment from 1849 to 1861, serving in Ireland, China and South Africa. He was promoted from corporal to Sergeant in 1860. Henry was with the regiment at Canton, but never received his 2nd China War medal as he was discharged from the regiment before the medals were issued.

Two of his sons (both my gg uncles) were at different times Drivers and Gunners in the Royal Field Artillery. Alfred Charles Parnell served in the UK from 1891 to 1910 variably in 25th Battery RFA, RA Ammunition Park No. 3, Nos. 3 and No. 4 Depot RFA. Horace George Parnell served from 1893 to 1911 (then 1914 to 1916 when he died of wounds in France), variably in 86th, 69th and 140th Batteries (he was with 69th Battery during the Boer War, being present at Talana, the Siege of Ladysmith, and Laings Nek; and also served with the battery in India); and ended his days with 5th Battery RFA on 27th June 1916. Henry William's eldsest son, Arthur Henry Parnell, my g grandfather, served in the London City Police and the Suffolk Constabulary.

My other g grandfather William George Scarff (known as George) served as a Private in the Suffolk Regiment from 1888 to 1901, serving with 2nd Battalion in UK, Egypt and India until 1896, then as a reservist served with 1st Battalion during the Boer War. Here's a photo of George with C Company football team (holding the ball) in India sometime between 1891 and February 1896:

scff.JPG (85.69 KiB) Viewed 8289 times

On my dad's side:

My ggg grandfather Edward Smith served nearly 16 years with 82nd Regiment from 1826 to 1841. He died in Jamaica (probably of yellow fever) on 28th April 1841.

There were also numerous other family members who fought during the First World War - but I guess these would be off-topic!

Kind regards

Last edited by SFayers on 15 Dec 2013 22:15, edited 2 times in total.
Interested in:
12th Foot / Suffolk Regiment (all periods)
59th Foot (2nd China War period)
69th Battery RFA (Boer War period)
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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby MajorMike » 16 Jun 2009 19:47

Hi, All! :)
I inherited my Father's Medals from the 1919-20's, my Grandfather's WW1 Medals, Death Plaque and Scroll and another Medal of a distant relation. The Medal of the distant relation is the South African Medal with Clasp 1879. I'm trying very hard to find out any details of his Service, Attestation, later life, etc., but am having very little success. :( If anyone can help I'd be most grateful. His details are:
T/3487 Private G. Nevill. Army Service Corps.
I hope someone can help. I've written to various Museums, etc., and am awaiting more replies. So far, no luck! :cry:
Best wishes,
Mike :) :wink: .
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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby Liz » 17 Jun 2009 03:35

Hi all

If you have any information for Mike about Private Nevill please post it on the relevant thread, namely Thanks!

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Re: Your family in the Victorian Army/Navy?

Postby jersey » 06 Dec 2009 12:20

I have a grandfather who joined the Royal Artillery in 1885 when he was 16 going on 17. ot away with it too for the rest of his army days. He did 25 years
in the RGA retiring in 1910. In 1914 he was called up into the special reserve and served another 4 years and 10 months, and finished up the RSM of 30 HAG
in the GW.
I know lots about himbecause I lived with him and his wife for the first 21 years of my life, with my mother and sister. The less said about father the better.
However we led a good life (he came to Australia in 1925) and we lived in Warrnambool a country town in the west of Victoria.
His brother was also in the army ASC in 1899 and went to South Africa and served until 1920 when he also retired from the army. Have another g/uncle although
strictly he doesn't come under the Victorian wars bit as he joined in 1904 and retired in 1940 as a Major Quartermaster.
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