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  #1  
Old 01 Aug 09, 09:52
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British Army 1868-1889 : Analysis?

Attached are several photos of my great-grandfather from Aughrim, Ireland who served in the British Army 1868 to 1889. The photos of him are blow-ups of the group photo. He is the one in front with the service stripes. He was in the Royal Artillery Corps. He served in India 1868-1878, was sent to Malta in 1878 during the Russo-Turkish war, was then sent back to India until 1884, when he was sent to Egypt and took part in the Sudan War. After 1884 he was sent back to Great Britain. He retired in 1889, then was a "beefeater" at the tower of London for 7 years before going back to Aughrim and marrying my great-grandmother who was 16 at the time. Any analysis would be appreciated including:

1. Location
2. Time
3. His rank (other info from uniform and badges) My mother always said he was a sergeant major - of course picture may have been before this - but I have no evidence of what his rank was
4. Type of gun - Model/front loader/breech loader, etc.
5. Trees in background, etc.
6. Type/size of unit (I assume this the gun's crew)

Thanks again for any input.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg My Great great grandfather 001.jpg (133.9 KB, 105 views)
File Type: jpg My Great great grandfather 002.jpg (137.5 KB, 80 views)
File Type: jpg My Great great grandfather 003.jpg (135.1 KB, 96 views)

Last edited by lakechampainer; 01 Aug 09 at 09:56..
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  #2  
Old 10 Aug 09, 13:33
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Trip from Britain to India pre-Suez Canal?

I looked up the Suez Canal, it opened in 1869 so my great-grandfather would have had to have gone around Africa in 1868. How long would that take?
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  #3  
Old 12 Aug 09, 16:54
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Prior to the opening of the canal some ships were off loaded in the med and the troops walked across pretty much following the route that the canal did later
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Old 25 Aug 10, 01:41
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He could be an NCO , he was in the Artillery , photo #3 could be at Malta
the gun could be an Vickers 68 pounder muzzle loader .
As to rank I couldn't make out badges . May I suggest you contact the
British Army Museum in London they might have more records.
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Old 25 Aug 10, 04:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakechampainer View Post
Attached are several photos of my great-grandfather from Aughrim, Ireland who served in the British Army 1868 to 1889. The photos of him are blow-ups of the group photo. He is the one in front with the service stripes. He was in the Royal Artillery Corps. He served in India 1868-1878, was sent to Malta in 1878 during the Russo-Turkish war, was then sent back to India until 1884, when he was sent to Egypt and took part in the Sudan War. After 1884 he was sent back to Great Britain. He retired in 1889, then was a "beefeater" at the tower of London for 7 years before going back to Aughrim and marrying my great-grandmother who was 16 at the time. Any analysis would be appreciated including:

1. Location
2. Time
3. His rank (other info from uniform and badges) My mother always said he was a sergeant major - of course picture may have been before this - but I have no evidence of what his rank was
4. Type of gun - Model/front loader/breech loader, etc.
5. Trees in background, etc.
6. Type/size of unit (I assume this the gun's crew)

Thanks again for any input.
Apart from his service stripes you can see his campaign ribbons on his chest but that is about all, plus of course the bloke next to him with one stripe up on his arm. lcm1.
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Old 25 Aug 10, 07:14
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Thanks,

Strathnaver and lcm1 for the comments and advice. I don't have any new information about my great-grandfather. I have realized though, that he must have had an incredible physical constitution, to survive his birth at the tail end of the Irish potato famine and to survive such longterm service in India and to survive service when older in Sudan, not just in terms of combat but in terms of tropical diseases.

When he came back to his village his nickname was, not surprisingly, "Gunner" or "Gunner Kelly".
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Old 25 Aug 10, 08:03
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so much for being able to look up British army ranks for that period all I can tell you one of the chaps is a lance bombardier AKA Lance Corpral



Here is a site that may help with the uniform if it helps looks pretty darn close to a 1880's patrol uniform
http://www.victorianstrollers.co.uk/...artillery.html

Last edited by 150935; 25 Aug 10 at 08:13..
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Old 25 Aug 10, 08:41
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Thanks, 150935. Great link with great pictures.
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Old 25 Aug 10, 09:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 150935 View Post
so much for being able to look up British army ranks for that period all I can tell you one of the chaps is a lance bombardier AKA Lance Corpral



Here is a site that may help with the uniform if it helps looks pretty darn close to a 1880's patrol uniform
http://www.victorianstrollers.co.uk/...artillery.html
Yes thats right, being artillary a lance Bombadier, Cheers lcm1.
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  #10  
Old 25 Aug 10, 14:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strathnaver View Post
He could be an NCO , he was in the Artillery , photo #3 could be at Malta
the gun could be an Vickers 68 pounder muzzle loader .
As to rank I couldn't make out badges . May I suggest you contact the
British Army Museum in London they might have more records.

Strathnaver, I think your educated analysis that the picture was taken in Malta is probably correct. Looking at the picture a year later, I now see, or think I see:

1. Nine people in the picture, of different ages, the man in the background seems the youngest. The young man in the center who is sitting or leaning on something is partially blocking the view of what appears to be a door or gate. To the right (our right) of the door, there seems to be an outbuilding or guard shack.

2. It does seem to be inside or outside a permanent establishment - it does still to be a stone or brick wall in back back. Seems like maybe a piece of laundry hanging in the background near the wall, on our right looking at the picture. To the right and front of the center of the group, it looks like there is some chalk writing on the ground - maybe parade ground markings?

3. The footwear seems to suggest barracks use rather than field use, and the most prominent tree in the picture seems to have been manicured - any comments?

Last edited by lakechampainer; 25 Aug 10 at 14:09..
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Old 25 Aug 10, 14:51
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Some contents of my great-grandfathers paybook/regulation book

Some information from my great-grandfathers paybook/regulations book. I can't really xerox/photograph the book since it is too fragile.

On page 21, his enlistment info/personal info:

Soldier's Name and Description

Patrick Kelly xx (in cursive writing)

on the xx 26th Aug. 1868

at xx Athlone (?)

in the county of xx Westmeath (?)

at the age of xx18 years x6months

Born in the Parish of xxAughrum

in or near the town of xxAughrum

in the county of xxGalway

Trade or calling xxGroom

Last permanent residence xxAthlone ?

Size x5 feet xx10 7/8 ths inches

Complexion xxFair

Eyes xxGrey Hair Light-Brown

Marks xxNone


There are than two pages of rules/conditions of enlistment, etc. then

Amount of bounty received by the Soldier in Cash in addition to a free kit -xx one British pound

Service abroad

in cursive

Embarked for India 28th September 1868 to 27th April 1878
Malta 28 April 1878 to 3rd October 1878
India 4th October 1878 to 18 2 84
Egypt 19 2 84 to 21 4 84

Then some other parts not filled out - marriage, children, wounds

Distinguished himself, and in possession of medals for -

Medal and Bar Tamaci (?) "Soudan" Egypt 84

Khedives Bronze Star for Egypt

then something immediately below the last sentence above that I can't make out - I think it's identifying the person who filled out this section


Then next section

Cause and date of becoming non-effective

Discharged at Tower of London on termination of second period of limited engagement 27th August 1889


His regimental number was RA 15610 - it was issued to him when he signed on the date of enlistment -this was after all the other personal information, including next of kin

What's frustrating is in the paybook clothing section, for which there is one page per year, the "Station" is written in in each case, and there are a number of them, but very hard to read. No doubt the people filling it out knew where they were!

My best attempt at the Station's, really for my own benefit, as I don't like to handle the fragile book much:

1868 - Wandy
1869 - Thierreln
1870 - Deolaler
1871 - Kirska
1872 -Camp Allese
1873 - Alllese
1874 - Ahnrednuggin
1875 - Ahnrednuggun (obv. same as above)
1876 - Basoda
1877 - Veusku
1878 - Nurmee
1879 - Kurrachee (presumably Karachi in present day Pakistan)
1880 - Kurrachee
1881 - Kurrachee
1882 - Nuseerabad
1883 - Suneerabad (obv. same as above)
1884 - Jesree
1885 - Norwich ??
1886 - 1889 Tower of London

Last edited by lakechampainer; 25 Aug 10 at 15:12..
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  #12  
Old 26 Aug 10, 04:57
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no probs mate i hoped it help
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Old 26 Aug 10, 05:09
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here is a site for a brief history of the Royal Artillary

http://www.britishempire.co.uk/force...tillery/ra.htm
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Old 26 Aug 10, 07:27
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Thanks again, 150935. Another great website, I learned a lot from the page that comes up on the screen already.

1. I can see I was assuming my The Gunner was a guard at the Tower of London, I guess because of the movies I've seen where people are held there. From the site, it seems clear the Tower of London was basically an arsenal and the "Home" of the field artillery. Presumably he served he last years of service as a skilled artillery NCO.

2. From the posted site:

n the early days the cannon used in war by the British Army were manned by men employed by the Board of Ordnance and not soldiers. The artillery was stored in the Tower of London as had all weapons and military stores since 1455. Charles II carefully organised the Board of Ordnance from which are descended the RA, RE, RASC, RAOC (now the Royal Logistic Corps since 1993) and REME. There were up to 100 gunners on the permanent staff but the Master of Ordnance would take on men to move and fire the cannon when war broke out and disband them when hostilities ceased.

By order of a Royal Warrant dated 26th May 1716, two companies of artillery were formed at Woolwich. Each company consisted of 5 officers, 9 NCOs, 30 gunners and 50 matrosses. The duty of a matross was to assist the gunners in traversing, sponging, loading and firing the guns.

- I would assume the younger men are the "matrosses" and then they worked their way up to gunner.

3. Interesting section on the Royal Artillery at the Siege of Gibraltar:

At the famous siege of Gibraltar by the French and Spaniards the artillery were kept constantly busy for over three and a half years from 1779 to 1783, night and day. Enemy vessels blockading the port were fired on using red-hot shot, iron cannonballs heated in an oven, to set fire to them. They were well stocked because, by the end of the siege it was reckoned that 8000 barrels of powder and 200,000 cannonballs had been used.

4. I would assume the duty station I thought was "Norwich" was "Woolrich"

5. From the "Suggested Reading" section, I may try to get a copy of "The HIstory of the Royal Artillery from the Indian Mutiny the Great War" vol I - 1860 - 1899 by Sir Charles Calwell. My guess is this would be pretty expensive.

Thanks again

Tony

Last edited by lakechampainer; 26 Aug 10 at 07:44..
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Old 26 Aug 10, 08:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakechampainer View Post
Thanks again, 150935. Another great website, I learned a lot from the page that comes up on the screen already.

1. I can see I was assuming my The Gunner was a guard at the Tower of London, I guess because of the movies I've seen where people are held there. From the site, it seems clear the Tower of London was basically an arsenal and the "Home" of the field artillery. Presumably he served he last years of service as a skilled artillery NCO.

2. From the posted site:

n the early days the cannon used in war by the British Army were manned by men employed by the Board of Ordnance and not soldiers. The artillery was stored in the Tower of London as had all weapons and military stores since 1455. Charles II carefully organised the Board of Ordnance from which are descended the RA, RE, RASC, RAOC (now the Royal Logistic Corps since 1993) and REME. There were up to 100 gunners on the permanent staff but the Master of Ordnance would take on men to move and fire the cannon when war broke out and disband them when hostilities ceased.

By order of a Royal Warrant dated 26th May 1716, two companies of artillery were formed at Woolwich. Each company consisted of 5 officers, 9 NCOs, 30 gunners and 50 matrosses. The duty of a matross was to assist the gunners in traversing, sponging, loading and firing the guns.

- I would assume the younger men are the "matrosses" and then they worked their way up to gunner.

3. Interesting section on the Royal Artillery at the Siege of Gibraltar:

At the famous siege of Gibraltar by the French and Spaniards the artillery were kept constantly busy for over three and a half years from 1779 to 1783, night and day. Enemy vessels blockading the port were fired on using red-hot shot, iron cannonballs heated in an oven, to set fire to them. They were well stocked because, by the end of the siege it was reckoned that 8000 barrels of powder and 200,000 cannonballs had been used.

4. I would assume the duty station I thought was "Norwich" was "Woolrich"

5. From the "Suggested Reading" section, I may try to get a copy of "The HIstory of the Royal Artillery from the Indian Mutiny the Great War" vol I - 1860 - 1899 by Sir Charles Calwell. My guess is this would be pretty expensive.

Thanks again

Tony

no probs I learnt a little while looking as well so all good
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