The Manchester Regiment Forum

The Early Years => The Manchesters 1881- 1898 => Topic started by: SandiB on March 08, 2020, 10:55:58 PM

Title: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: SandiB on March 08, 2020, 10:55:58 PM
Hello All
I am searching for information about life in the Manchester Regiment during the 1880s. My great grandfather, William W Dart enlisted in Umballa in 1881 and I would love to find out what the life of a private was like back then. I have found one or two diary entries but these are from officers' wives, which show a very different life style to that of a private soldier.
Any help you can give would be very much appreciated.
SandiB
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: charlie on March 09, 2020, 01:27:29 PM
Hello SandiB, welcome to the forum.
I cant help with a book but I‘m sure someone will be able to help.
Was your Great Grandfather 417 Sgt William W Dart?

Charlie
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: SandiB on March 09, 2020, 07:07:52 PM
Hi Charlie,
Yes, that's my Great Grandfather  :)
I'm living in Ecuador so getting to libraries to research is impossible and there's very little that I can find on line, hence the request here.
I am trying to piece together some of the regiment's movements. I know that William enlisted in 1881 when he was underage, then re-enlisted in 1882 in Umballa. After that date I can find very little information with regard to where he was stationed until 1901 when there is a UK census showing him, his wife and children in barracks in Hartshead, Lancashire. Did his battalion return to the UK? He then leaves the service in Cork in 1902. Was his battalion stationed in Cork? Which barracks? Do records show why he left the army?
The above, together with my request for any help in finding out what living conditions were like for soldiers and their wives in India, are questions I have with no real possibility of finding answers here in Ecuador.
Any help would be wonderful.
Sandi
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: charlie on March 09, 2020, 08:52:21 PM
Hello Sandi, we don‘t get many people from Ecuador on the forum :)
I take it is your family tree on Ancestry.
Did you know William Wilton’s father, also William, was also a soldier, he was serving as a Sergeant with 7 Brigade Royal Artillery at Meeanee (not Meean Meer) when your Great Grandfather was born. Your tree has William W as a Sergeant in the 1st Battalion when he married in 1888, I presume this is on his marriage certificate.

By 1891 he was with the 2nd Battalion in India as he qualified for the India General Service Medal 1854 with the clasp Samana 1891. The Battalion was involved in the operations there between 3rd and 25th May 1891.

There are short histories of both the 1st and 2nd Battalion in the „Hello“ section.

The 1901 census records that he and his family were stationed at the Manchester Regt Depot in 
Ashton u L Barracks, later renamed Ladysmith Barracks. From some reason India and East Indies have been confused on the census.

He was discharged from the army from the 4th Bn Manchester Regt on 21 August 1902 presumably when his period of engagement (21years) came to an end. Where did your information that he was discharged in Ireland come from?

Charlie
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: SandiB on March 09, 2020, 11:15:42 PM
Hello Charlie,
Thanks for clarifying a few things re William, and yes, William Thomas was his father.
Was the regiment posted to Cork?
William's discharge documents (found via Fold3) list Cork as place of discharge.
William proved to be a bit of a rascal. He left his wife and children in the UK and sailed to Canada where in 1916 he joined the Canadian army, married a woman in Winnipeg. He was caught embezzling $4K while working for the Montana power commission, served a sentence of two years and then was killed while driving from Winnipeg to Minnesota when his car hit a bridge, flipped over and landed in a stream where William drowned.
I have since found his unmarked grave in Winnipeg and have arranged via the Last Post organisation, to have a stone erected to mark his final resting place.
Great story which I hope to put into print at some time in the future.
All best wishes
Sandi
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: charlie on March 10, 2020, 07:25:34 AM
Hello Sandi,
The 4th Battalion, at the time a short lived regular battalion, was stationed in Cork from 4th February 1902 presumably in Victoria Barracks.

A bit of a coincidence, your Great Great Grandfather, William T, could have known my G G Grandfather who was also serving with 7 Brigade RA in 1866.
Charlie
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: charlie on March 10, 2020, 08:17:39 AM
Sandi,
Have you seen his Canadian Army service record ? If not
https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/list.aspx?SurnameSearch=Dart&GivenNameSearch=William+wilton&

As you said he appears to have been a rascal, he made himself 11 years younger to enlist in Canada, he also awarded himself the Kings and Queens South Africa Medals. He doesn‘t appear on the medal rolls for either medal and he was in the UK during the qualifying period for the Kings SA medal.
Charlie
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: PhilipG on March 10, 2020, 10:39:26 AM
Sandi,

Re your mention :"I would love to find out what the life of a private was like back then".   As far as I can ascertain, there is no record of the daily life of the rank-and-file in the days of the British Empire in India to compare with "Old Soldier Sahib", by Pte.Frank Richards DCM. MM. of the the Royal Welch Fusiliers.    In this connection, I telephoned the Royal Welch Museum in Wales and the curator advised that they have one copy for sale at a price of £10 or so.    Perhaps you would think it worthwhile to visit the museum's website.

(I realise that the account of Richards' time in India does not relate to the Manchester Regiment, but nevertheless offer this suggestion for your consideration).      PhilipG
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: SandiB on March 10, 2020, 04:29:54 PM
Hello Philip,
Thank you so much! As you may have read on previous posts, I currently live in Ecuador. I will try to contact the museum to see if they can at least give me some information.
Very many thanks.
Sandi
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: SandiB on March 10, 2020, 04:46:24 PM
Hello Charlie,
Can't believe that our two GG grandfathers were in the same brigade at the same time!
I have two other question, if you wouldn't mind helping.
In the 1880's did privates and sergeants wives travel with them? Did the army pay for their transport? I ask because Lillie Edith, William's wife, gave birth to all three of their children while in India.
As a child William W also spent two years I believe in the Army School after his father, William Thomas died. Would the army have paid for this?
WW Dart's life has really captured my imagination, just wish I'd asked more questions of my grandmother.
Sandi
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: charlie on March 10, 2020, 07:31:25 PM
Sandi,
If you have no success at the museum regarding the book, there are plenty for sale on ABE Books
https://www.abebooks.co.uk/?cm_sp=TopNav-_-Results-_-Logo
Alternatively you could sign up to Scribd and read it online
https://www.scribd.com/book/353185097/Old-Soldier-Sahib?language_settings_changed=English

I don‘t know much about the family side of the army, hopefully someone else can help. You might find this of interest
https://www.nam.ac.uk/explore/victorian-soldiering-wives

Charlie
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: Tim Bell on March 10, 2020, 08:00:31 PM
Hi Sandi,
The Image Archive will have some photos you will wish to see.  Word Search "India" for a start.http://www.manchester-regiment.org.uk/index.php (http://www.manchester-regiment.org.uk/index.php)
I've also researched a 4th Bttn Sgt for our non-commemorations project.  There's a few photos that may show Sgt Dart. https://issuu.com/battlefieldsleuth/docs/lieutenant_joseph_cotterill (https://issuu.com/battlefieldsleuth/docs/lieutenant_joseph_cotterill) 
It appears William enlisted in Royal Horse Artilllery, aged 15.  May have been a Bandsman.
Welcome
Tim
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: SandiB on March 11, 2020, 10:27:43 PM
Hi Tim,
Really appreciate the links. I've got plenty of research material thanks to everyone who has answered my post.
Will let you know how it all goes.
Sandi
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: mack on March 11, 2020, 11:16:38 PM
hiya sandi
wives and children were allowed to go with them,but I don't think it applied to all married men,education was provided by the army while they were stationed overseas,the army would pay the passage for the soldiers family if they were on the strenghth of the regiment,you needed permission to marry if you were a serving soldier

mack
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: mack on March 12, 2020, 01:34:03 AM
sandi
your great ganddads younger brother francis,edwin dart,was also in the army school,he also served for over 21yrs in the royal artillery,until he was discharged in 1901,he was suffering from TB,sadly,he died the following year aged 31
buried st.marys churchyard,frensham,surrey

their father[your gt gt grandfather William Thomas dart,died on 20th august 1873 at northam,devon,ime curious how his widow margaret ended up back in india with your great granddad and his three brothers in 1876,where she married gunner 3044 Samuel smith at kirkee,bombay on 15-8-76.there were more children from this marriage

mack
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: SandiB on March 12, 2020, 02:12:44 PM
Hi Mack
Really impressed with all the help I'm getting in trying to piece together my family's history in the army. You have raised a great point with regard to Margaret, William Thomas' wife. I too had wondered how she managed to return to India with her boys.
I had thought, without any evidence, that she may well have met Samuel while back in England. William Thomas developed TB while with the RA and died three years after his return to Devon.
Margaret was of Irish descent, her father and grandfather also served in the army in India. They both appear to have died in the same year in Rawalpindi.
It seems the more information I find, the more questions I have !!!
Thanks so much for your help
Sandi
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: mack on March 12, 2020, 05:50:33 PM
hiya sandi
I think ive found the answer about Margaret,she was a army school mistress,it would make sense to return to the place she was raised in and she was probably still on the army strength

mack
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: SandiB on March 27, 2020, 10:08:20 PM
Sorry I didn't reply earlier Mac but your reply went to my spam box for some reason.

I also found information to confirm that she was a teacher. However, would the army have covered the cost of her return to India as a widow?

Not sure whether you're aware, but I live in Ecuador at the moment. We have a very strict lock down here so I have time to work on finding out as much as I can about the family. Hoping to write some sort of creative memoir on William Dart. Just dabbling, nothing too serious.

Thanks so much for your help
Sandi B
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: charlie on March 28, 2020, 05:31:51 PM


I also found information to confirm that she was a teacher. However, would the army have covered the cost of her return to India as a widow?


If she was employed by the army and it had reason to send her back to India, yes the army would have paid her passage.

Charlie
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: PhilipG on April 01, 2020, 05:43:18 PM
SandiB,

I am glad to hear of your success in obtaining the book.    Keep safe.  PhilipG.
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: SandiB on April 03, 2020, 09:41:32 PM
I am hoping you can help with another query.

William Wilton Dart married Lillie Edith Martin in Camberwell, London on 25th December 1888.

When did the 2nd Battalion return from India? Did the Battalion serve in any other countries between leaving India and returning to the UK?

Sorry, that's two questions!

Sandi
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: PhilipG on April 04, 2020, 09:23:20 AM
Sandi,

The battalion left Bombay on the 11th November 1897 for duties in Aden which it reached on the 21st.    It embarked at Aden on the 14th November 1898 arriving at Southampton on the 2nd December.     Proceeded thereafter to Manchester & Lichfield.         PhilipG 
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: SandiB on April 05, 2020, 04:18:54 PM
Thanks for your reply Philip. The information confirms what I have also found.  However, my query therefore is, how did WW Dart marry Lillie Edith on Christmas Day, 1888?

Would his personal army records show why he was back in the Uk before his Battalion?

Sandi B
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: charlie on April 05, 2020, 04:53:14 PM
Sandi,
His marriage certificate shows that he was serving with the 1st Bn and not the 2nd when he married in 1888. The 1st Bn was stationed in England in 1888. The first connection we have to the 2nd Bn is in 1891.

Charlie
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: PhilipG on April 06, 2020, 10:50:12 AM
Sandi,

I quote from the 1st Manchesters' history.  "On the 4th April 1888 the battalion left Aldershot for Portsmouth and embarked for conveyance to Ireland.  It disembarked at Queenstown on the 9th and went by rail to Tipperary, there to be stationed, providing a detachment of one company at Clonmel."     It goes on.   "The stay at Tipperary was an unusually long one, extending to close upon three years, for it was not until the 5th February 1891 that the headquarters moved to Kinsale, sending two companies to Fort Camden."

(A few days ago I noted from the Ambassador's web site that a party of UK citizens left for home, their departure arrangements from Ecuador involving Ministers Raab & Morton.   It would seem, too, that the Ambassador herself will be moving on later this year.)           PhilipG.
 
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: themonsstar on April 15, 2020, 12:37:23 PM
63rd Foot or 1st Battalion
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: themonsstar on April 15, 2020, 12:41:36 PM
96th Foot or 2nd Bn
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
Post by: SandiB on April 15, 2020, 05:01:38 PM
Firstly, I hope this finds you all safe and well.

My thanks to themonsstar for the really helpful information on the movements of both 1st and 2nd Battalion. It has answered some more of my queries.

To PhilipG, thank you for your assistance. I had read the short histories for both Battalions and, together with the information provided today, have a much clearer view of where each was.

Life in Ecuador continues to be difficult. We have a lockdown from 2pm through to 5am every day, with cars only allowed on the streets once a week, this monitored by the last digit of the registration. Saturday and Sunday are no go days. Unlike the UK we are not allowed out for exercise, only for essential groceries or medicines. The streets are much quieter and the air quality improved. The plus to these severe restrictions is that the virus has been contained, with only just over 100 deaths in Cuenca to date.

And so to my next request.

With the help you have given, I still have gaps.
WW Dart enlisted on 24th June 1882 with the Manchester Regiment in Sialkot No.417. (see attached - if anyone can decipher the section as to his previous time with the RA I would be very grateful)

The next time I can find him is when he marries Lillie Edith in London on 25th December 1888. The marriage certificate shows him as Sergeant with the 1st Battalion.

He then appears again when his children are born in India. William on 15th January 1890 in Amritsar, Ivy on 20th May 1892 in Sialkot and Lilian on 20th September 1893 in Chakrata.

From the information provided by themonsstar, I can only assume that he was somehow transferred to the 2nd Battalion and joined them in India.

Am I on the right track? Could William have missed life in India and requested a transfer?

Any help as all ways, is very much appreciated.

SandiB