The Manchester Regiment Forum

The Early Years => The Manchesters 1881- 1898 => Topic started by: Lancaster Lad on February 27, 2017, 12:57:24 PM

Title: Private Albert George Stagg
Post by: Lancaster Lad on February 27, 2017, 12:57:24 PM
I wonder if a Manchester Regiment expert could help me with the information contained on the gravestone in the attached file? The gravestone is in the Burnsland Cemetery in Calgary, Alberta. It was provided by the Last Post organisation, an official Canadian organisation that pays for the interment of military veterans who have fallen on hard times. It seems reasonable to suggest that such an organisation would not have approved the inscription without good cause and even appropriate documentation. The funding presumably explains why a man who had died aged 72 was remembered principally by a military link that must have dated back to his relative youth. I know that he was described as 'military' in his marriage certificate in 1888. Family anecdote records that he was in a military hospital some tome in the 1890s or possibly during the Boer War. I have searched in the National Records for Manchester Regiment of the 1880s and found a number of individuals who share his service number, but none with his name. Stagg emigrated to Canada in 1907 and became associated with a veterans organisation that allowed British former servicemen to join.

Can anyone interpret the data on the gravestone for me? Does this appear to be a regular battalion or a militia battalion? To what does the figure 4 after Manchester Regiment refer? Can anyone point me to any way in which I can get a better grip on this man's service record? Is it surprising that a man who was born and grew up in London served with the Manchester Regiment? I have a hint that a man with the same name served in the Royal Dragoons later in the 1890s. Was it common for men to serve with different regiments in this way?

I will be very grateful for any help received
Title: Re: Private Albert George Stagg
Post by: charlie on March 02, 2017, 05:14:57 PM
The 2nd Bn was a regular battalion, what the 4 denotes I cannot help with. It was not unusual for soldiers to come from different parts of the country other than the Regiments affiliated area.

Have you tried looking at the medal rolls for the India General Service Medal 1854 with clasp Samana 1891 and the Queens South Africa Medal? If he was serving with the 2nd Bn in the 1890's he could be entitled to one or both of the medals.

Title: Re: Private Albert George Stagg
Post by: sphinx on March 02, 2017, 11:20:05 PM
There are 4 Albert G. Stagg's in the 1901 Cencus.

Do you actually know for sure that the one in the grave was 72 when he died?

Title: Re: Private Albert George Stagg
Post by: Lancaster Lad on March 03, 2017, 08:45:24 AM
Charlie and Sphinx,

Thank you very much for these helpful comments.

I have looked at the two medal rolls before and nothing jumped out at me as being absolutely clear, but on Charlie's recommendation I will go back and look more carefully. I would be interested to know the kind of routes that led to a Londoner joining the Manchester Regiment - I can imagine that it might be chance, but has anyone any comments?

In response to Sphinx's helpful research in the 1901 Census, I ought perhaps to have stated more clearly that I have a good deal of other non-military information about AGS from the C19th Censuses and elsewhere and this includes identifying him living in London in the 1901 census with some certainty. Of course, this date has implications for his possible involvement in the Boer War - though there is an A. Stagg who served with the 1st (Royal) Dragoons in South Africa, which is why I asked about men moving between regiments at this time.

The key fact I hang on to is that I find it hard to believe that the Last Post Organisation in Canada, a semi-Government agency largely staffed by ex-military personnel, would be casual in authorising any inscription on a gravestone. And this seems especially relevant to the figure 4 following the 2nd Batt Manchester Regiment 4. This must have meant something to them - or they must have been working from sort sort of official documentation. I have written to them but they have no remaining records for this period.

With thanks and best wishes to my helpful advisors.

Title: Re: Private Albert George Stagg
Post by: sphinx on March 03, 2017, 09:04:34 AM

The Regiments of the British Army didnt just recruit local men.  For example they often recruited from areas they were stationed, such as Ireland, London etc  & it is very common and not at all unusual for non Manchester born men to be in the Regiment.  So I would not make any great issue out of the fact he was a Londoner in a Northern Regiment.

Secondly if a person appears on the 1901 census its a very good indicator that they were NOT a serving soldier in South Africa.

What I am trying to ask you is this.

Have you decided that the man in the grave was the 72 yr old AGS that is one of the 4 on the 1901 Cencus


Is there some Canadian grave/death record independent of the cencus that says he was 72.

If there is then we can definately say that you have the right man.

Title: Re: Private Albert George Stagg
Post by: Lancaster Lad on March 07, 2017, 09:01:20 PM
Thank you Sphinx.
I am certain that the man 'beneath the gravestone' is the same as the man I have identified in the 1901 Census because the woman he was living with in the 1901 Census has the same name as the woman (described as wife) who informed the coroner of his death in 1938. And I have the death certificate and certificate of cause of death confirming his age and place of birth (England) as well. I see that this rules him out of the Boer War. He is definitely not in any of the lists of Boer War medal holders  or - for that matter - any of the India Campaign medals either.
It is a mystery. I repeat, he was described as 'military' on his marriage certificate in 1888, but with no more information than that one word. I have wondered if he was in some sort of support capacity.

I'm sorry I have taken a while to reply. The notification email went not my junk mail. Are these mysteries common?

With thanks.
Title: Re: Private Albert George Stagg
Post by: sphinx on March 08, 2017, 10:25:08 AM

The absence of his name on medal rolls does not preclude him from having military service in the late Victorian period.

Medals were in short supply to the Manchester Regiment in the last 20 years of the 19th Century, from the issue of the Egypt Medal in 1882 to the QSA in 1902.

The 1st Bn got none and SOME the 2nd Bn got an IGS in 1891 - Thats the lot.

So its very normal for soldiers doing their 8 years service not to have a medal.

Title: Re: Private Albert George Stagg
Post by: Lancaster Lad on March 08, 2017, 10:32:20 AM
Thank you again Sphinx. This is very useful background information.
I will look into the Egypt medal, though I think this will be a little early for AGS.
So, I fear a last question as I see I am meeting a dead end, are you aware any sources - manuscript or otherwise - in which I might find anything about Stagg's military service if he was not awarded a medal?
There is a misty family 'legend' that he was visited in a military hospital. Might this open helpful ways forward?
Title: Re: Private Albert George Stagg
Post by: sphinx on March 08, 2017, 10:45:14 AM

Service papers for soldiers of this period exist at the National Archives, his may well be there.
If you have Find My Past they are searchable on line, but I dont have it.

Title: Re: Private Albert George Stagg
Post by: Lancaster Lad on March 08, 2017, 11:06:18 AM
Thank you.
I took out a subscription to Forces War Records for a month, but they have not guided me to Service Papers. I will check again. Whilst I have your help and interest, may I ask a further question? I note you refer to an eight year service. Am I correct in inferring from this that that was a standard length of service in the 1880s and 1890s? Was it possible to sign on for a shorter period? And what would be the youngest age at which the Regiment would allow men to join? Finally, is there any derailed account of the Manchester Regiment's activity in India in the 1880s?

Title: Re: Private Albert George Stagg
Post by: sphinx on March 08, 2017, 11:13:30 AM

8 years plus 4 in reserve (12 years) was the norm.  I dont know of a shorter period in that era.
As for the youngest age others here would know better than me but boys agen early teens were taken on as drummer boys.

There are good accounts of the Regiments time in India in the Regimental History by Colonel H.C. Wylly, available as a reprint on ebay and elswhere.