Author Topic: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s  (Read 1170 times)

Offline SandiB

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Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« 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

Offline charlie

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #1 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

Offline SandiB

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #2 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

Offline charlie

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #3 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

Offline SandiB

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #4 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

Offline charlie

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #5 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
« Last Edit: March 10, 2020, 07:31:51 AM by charlie »

Offline charlie

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #6 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

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #7 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

Offline SandiB

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #8 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

Offline SandiB

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #9 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

Offline charlie

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #10 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

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #11 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
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 
It appears William enlisted in Royal Horse Artilllery, aged 15.  May have been a Bandsman.
Welcome
Tim
Following one Platoon and everything around them....
http://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/about/

Offline SandiB

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #12 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

Offline mack

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #13 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

Offline mack

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Re: Manchester Regiment in India during 1880s
« Reply #14 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