Author Topic: At what age did the British Army accept enlistees in 1800-1840?  (Read 213 times)

Offline Megatill

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At what age did the British Army accept enlistees in 1800-1840?
« on: Friday 08 September 17 07:20 BST (UK) »
Hi, Everyone!

One of my 2GGrandfathers died as Edward COMBER in Armidale, NSW on 31 July 1900.

Anecdotal evidence shows him born 1820 in Spitalfields, and alternatively, 1816 in either Ireland or Dorset!

Other anecdotal evidence reports him as being enlisted in the British Army, and thought to have been in the 50th Regiment of Foot (then the "Queen's Own" and subsequently the "Royal West Kent" Regiment).

My main question for this forum is - "how young would the British Army accept as enlistees?".

In order to fit Army enlistment into the data I currently have, Edward would have had to have been, at the youngest, 10 years old. It would be more appropriate for him to have been 18 years old or so. The 50th was in Australia in 1837 to 1841 (so if he was born 1820, he would have been 17) and no doubt he would have been one of those soldiers shipped to NSW as Convict Guards.

However, if Edward enlisted in Britain or Ireland, how young would he have been allowed to be in order to enlist?

Thanks, in advance!!!

Megan in Sydney
Australia/Scotland: Turnbull, Mackie/Mackay/McKey, Wilson
Australia/England: Hardy, Miller, Turnbull, Comber, Mackie, Tilley
England: Barratt/Barrett, Berridge, Bird, Booth, Bostorne, Buszard/Bussard, Hill, Jacomb, Jarvis, Marston, Miller, Noon, Persival, Roe, Smalley, Tilley, Weston, Wheat, Witsey
US: Tilley
England Counties: Leicestershire, Essex
Scotland: Roxburghshire
Wales: Llewellyns, Jones, Gower, Bowen & Morgan

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Online KGarrad

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Re: At what age did the British Army accept enlistees in 1800-1840?
« Reply #1 on: Friday 08 September 17 07:57 BST (UK) »
There's an older thread on this topic ;D

http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=155353.0
(see reply #3 and #2)
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

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Offline Megatill

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Re: At what age did the British Army accept enlistees in 1800-1840?
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 09 September 17 01:05 BST (UK) »
Thank you, KGarrad - obviously my searches on the topic did not pull this information up!

To summarize:

"The 'official' age to join the army was 18..."

"The age of 19 was often given by underage lads wanting to join up rather than 18 which aroused suspicion and could lead to further checks being made, a simple ruse, but it worked!"

"many army orphans were enrolled into the regt as drummer boys as young as 13, they were the orphans of soldiers who died with the regt and the regt became their guardians, he can enlist at 16, but he needed permission from his parents, if he was an orphan the colonel of the regt he was joining would decide whether they would take him or not, you could not serve overseas on active service till you were 19, unofficially there was no age limit, it was down to the discretion of the colonel of the regt, in the time period you are talking about..."

"I believe the ratio was one 'boy' per company..."

Thank you to M.T.H, manmack, and harribobs for their responses back in 2006.



Megan in Sydney
Australia/Scotland: Turnbull, Mackie/Mackay/McKey, Wilson
Australia/England: Hardy, Miller, Turnbull, Comber, Mackie, Tilley
England: Barratt/Barrett, Berridge, Bird, Booth, Bostorne, Buszard/Bussard, Hill, Jacomb, Jarvis, Marston, Miller, Noon, Persival, Roe, Smalley, Tilley, Weston, Wheat, Witsey
US: Tilley
England Counties: Leicestershire, Essex
Scotland: Roxburghshire
Wales: Llewellyns, Jones, Gower, Bowen & Morgan