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Messages - Gunner1984

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Armed Forces / Re: Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80
« on: Saturday 24 September 22 10:53 BST (UK)  »
Walter Stone
Sergeant, 6446
Royal Artillery

Walter Stone was born in the village of Wickham Market, near Woodbridge, Suffolk in 1846. After leaving school, Walter was employed as a labourer and was also a member of the East Suffolk Artillery Militia. On the 22nd of August 1867 at the age of 21, Walter enlisted into the British Army at Ipswich, signing up for 12 years’ service. Four days later he attested into the Royal Artillery (RA), initially being posted to 3rd Division Depot Brigade for two months.

Having completed his initial training Walter was transferred to 2nd Division Depot Brigade and set sail for India where he would serve for the next 13 years. On arrival he was subsequently posted to the Lucknow based 8th Brigade (8 Bde) RA on New Years’ Day 1868. Walter was promoted to the rank of Bombardier in August 1875 and in April the following year, having served nearly nine of his 12-year contract, he re-engaged for a total of 21 years. Shortly thereafter he was promoted to Corporal in July 1876. Under the ongoing reorganisation of the British Army, 8 Bde was renumbered as 3 Bde in July 1877, and Walter was part of E Battery, 3 Bde (E/3) with whom he saw active service during the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

Throughout the war, E/3 formed part of the 1st Division, Peshawar Valley Field Force under the command of General Sir Samuel Browne. Brigaded with the 2nd Infantry Brigade, the battery advanced with the Division from Jamrud on the 21st of November 1878, and took part in the battle of Ali Musjid, directly attacking the fort and the enemy defensive works. Following the British victory, on the advance of the division on the 23rd of November, E/3 were left behind with the 4th Infantry Brigade in charge of the camp at Ali Musjid. It subsequently moved up through the Khyber Pass, and during the remainder of the first campaign did duty at various posts extending to Gandamak and including Daka and Jalalabad. On the 8th of December 1878, shortly after the Battle of Ali Musjid, Walter was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Walter was tried and reduced to the rank of Gunner in April 1880.

On the recall of the troops after the conclusion of peace, it was one of the first batteries to commence the toilsome return march to India, eventually making its way to Campbellpur after suffering severely from the excessive heat of the season and the pestilential climate of the country traversed. On the renewal of hostilities in the Autumn of 1879, E/3 was ordered up from Campbellpur to Kohat, and throughout the ensuing campaign served in divisions at that station, at Thal, and at various outposts, as a unit of the Kuram Division. Shortly after the final withdrawal of troops to India, the battery was ordered home and then to Woolwich in February 1881.

Walter was promoted to Acting Bombardier in May 1881 before again being tried and reduced in September 1881. Under further Army reorganisation, 3 Bde was renumbered 4 Bde in April 1882 and Walter was promoted back to the rank of Bombardier in January 1883. In May 1883 whilst stationed in Curragh Camp, Kildare in Ireland, Walter was once again tried and found guilty by Court Martial, again being punished with demotion. Having been reduced to the rank of Gunner for a third time, Walter was discharged from the Army on the 3rd of July 1883. He has served a total of 15 years, 297 days with the Colours.

Armed Forces / Re: Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80
« on: Thursday 18 August 22 17:11 BST (UK)  »
John Coxson
Gunner, 3156
Royal Artillery

John Coxson was born in August 1850 in Bath, Somerset. He was the eldest of three children born to general labourer and brewer William, and Ann Coxson. After leaving school and aged 15 whilst working as a labourer, John was convicted of “throwing stones” and sentenced to 7 days in Shepton Mallet gaol or to pay a fine of 11 shillings and sixpence.

According to the Royal Hospital Chelsea pensioner admission records, John enlisted into the British Army approximately one month prior to his 18th birthday, in July of 1868, and joined the Royal Artillery (RA). Whilst his service records have not survived, it is known that John was posted to India where he served with 15 Battery, 9 Brigade (15/9) RA during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. For the majority of the war, John and 15/9 were stationed in Lahore and Karachi. This changed in the summer of 1880.

Following the disastrous British defeat at the Battle of Maiwand on the 27th of July 1880, and the subsequent Afghan siege of the city of Kandahar, a division was organised at Quetta under the command of Major-General Phayre. His artillery included 43 Officers and men, including John, of 15/9; a mountain battery armed with either older 7lb or the new 2.5 inch “screw guns” made famous by Rudyard Kipling’s poem. Unfortunately, this force was delayed by a lack of troops and transport, and after toiling through Bolan Pass at the height of the Afghan summer, they finally crossed the frontier on the 16th of August 1880. When they were a mere thirty miles from Kandahar, they received word that the siege of the city had been lifted by General Roberts’ relief force that had marched from Kabul.

With the war ending shortly thereafter, John and 15/9 returned to India and Karachi. In 1882, as part of a reorganisation of the British Army, 15/9 RA was retitled 9 Battery, 1 Brigade, Scottish Division RA, based in Quetta and then Bombay. The battery returned to England between September 1885 and July 1886. Having completed 18 years’ service, in November 1886 John was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal, and was presented his award by HRH Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces. John was discharged from the Army in June 1889, having served for a total of 21 years, including 15 years and 3 months in India and Afghanistan.

On the 8th of April 1889, John married Sarah Ann Robbins from Stoke St Michael, at St James’ parish church in Bath. They had four children: Amy Florence (b.1892), Edith Maude (b.23rd of September 1893), John Albert (b.4th of July 1895), and Harry Roberts (b.15th of June 1900).

Their son, John Albert Coxson, was an apprentice bootmaker and served with the 2/4 and 1/4 Battalions Somerset Light Infantry as part of the Territorial Force during the First World War. He saw service in India and Mesopotamia, reaching the rank of Lance Corporal and was disembodied on the 13th of May 1919.

John lived in Bath for the remainder of his life, working as a porter for a furniture dealer and an auctioneer. He died on the 8th of March 1936 aged 85. John is buried in St James’ cemetery in Bath alongside his wife Sarah (d.12th of February 1948) and son John Albert (d.17th of August 1952).

Armed Forces / Re: Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80
« on: Sunday 10 July 22 22:40 BST (UK)  »

Another for the list:

Frank Troward Harvey
Bombardier, 4603
Royal Artillery

Frank Troward Harvey was born in Petham near Canterbury, Kent in January 1851. He was the fifth of seven children born to Marshall, a farmer of 40 acres, and Sarah Ann Harvey (née Cloke). At the time of his enlistment Frank was employed as a Butcher.

On the 4th of October 1870, aged approximately 19 years and 10 months Frank enlisted into the British Army at Shorncliffe Camp, attesting for a total of 12 years with the Colours. After attesting Frank was posted to the Royal Artillery (RA), joining 11th Brigade RA (11 Bde). On the 13th of January 1874 Frank and 11 Bde set sail for India, arriving some 2 months later, and were stationed at Barrackpore. As part of the reorganisation of the Army, 11 Bde were renumbered 4 Bde in c.1877 and Frank was promoted to the rank of Acting Bombardier in May 1878 whilst serving with C Battery, 4th Brigade (C/4).

At the outbreak of hostilities with Afghanistan in the autumn of 1878, C/4 were stationed at Meerut and were ordered to Rawalpindi, where for the next few months it formed part of the Reserve Division of the Kurram Valley Field Force. Frank was promoted to Bombardier on the 1st of December 1878. The following March, the battery was moved up to the frontier and into hostile territory, leaving three guns, en-route, at Kohat. On the 12th of May the advanced half-battery arrived at Kurram, where it remained throughout the remainder of the first campaign. C/4 served through the second campaign with the Kurram Division, until the final evacuation of the Valley. By the end of September 1879, one half-battery had been pushed on to the advanced post of Ali Khel, the other remaining temporarily at Kurram. On the 14th of October. the former was engaged at Ali Khel in the repulse of the determined attack made by the Mangals on that post, contributing materially to their defeat. Broken up into divisions, the battery served for the remainder of the campaign at various posts extending from Kurram to Ali Khel, taking part in the various expeditions conducted into the surrounding country. On the evacuation of the Kurram Valley, C/4, recrossed the frontier, and eventually proceeded to Lahore

In September 1880, Frank re-engaged for a total of 21 years and transferred to 1 Bde on the 1st of December 1880 with whom he would spend the rest of his time in India. Two months later, at his own request, Frank reverted to the rank of Gunner before returning to England in November 1884. Upon his return Frank was transferred to the Coast Bde RA and was posted to Portsmouth.

Frank was discharged at his own request on the 30th of October 1888, having served a total of 18 years and 25 days in the Army.

Shortly before his discharge, Frank married Margaret Teresa (née Doherty) in July 1888 and they had one daughter, Sarah Ann, who was born in April 1890. Margaret died in 1903 and Frank, who was working as a carpenter, was remarried in May 1906 to Kate Frances Roper.

Frank died in April 1925 at the age of 74.

Armed Forces / Re: Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80
« on: Tuesday 14 June 22 23:11 BST (UK)  »
No problem! The conditions out there were (and still are!) pretty brutal by all accounts. It makes every day life that much more impressive, let alone events like Roberts' Kabul to Kandahar march.

After the barren landscape, the heat and the dust of Afghanistan, a career as a gardener was perhaps a profound choice.

Armed Forces / Re: Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80
« on: Tuesday 14 June 22 13:26 BST (UK)  »
From Shadbolt's "The Afghan Campaign of 1878-1880 (published 1882)

Armed Forces / Re: Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80
« on: Friday 15 April 22 12:18 BST (UK)  »
Garen, the collection is growing!

Patrick Gavin
Gunner, 6578
Royal Artillery

Patrick Gavin was born in Perth, Scotland in July 1857. He was the second of four children born to Patrick and Sarah (née McLaughlin) both originally from Ireland. Prior to joining the Army, Patrick served in the Perthshire Militia and was employed in the boat building industry as a ship carpenter. He enlisted on the 16th of October 1875 at Dundee at the age of 18 years 3 months, joining the Royal Artillery (RA) for 12 years’ service.

After conducting his initial posting with 16th Brigade RA (16 Bde), Patrick was transferred to 20 Bde based in Secunderabad, India. He set sail on the 25th of January 1877, arriving a month later. After just under two years in India, Patrick returned to England, arriving home on the 28th of November 1878 and transferred to 4 Bde on the 12th of April 1879.

On the 19th of April 1879, whilst at Woolwich, Patrick deserted from the Army. 4 Bde were stationed in Agra and it is probable that Patrick deserted to avoid being sent back to India. He re-joined ten weeks later on the 1st of July, when he was imprisoned awaiting trial by court martial. He was tried on the 17th of July, found guilty and imprisoned for a further 55 days. Just three days after his release on the 11th of September 1879, Patrick was again arrested and sentenced to a further 6 weeks imprisonment, being released on the 2nd of November. He eventually set sail for India two days before Christmas 1879 and arriving on the 22nd of January 1880 and joined C Battery, 4 Bde (C/4) who were deployed on active duty in the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

C/4 saw action in both phases of the campaign, firstly with the reserve Division of Major-General Roberts’ Kuram Valley Field Force and in the latter, protecting the lines of communication between Kabul and India under the command of Brigadier-General Gordon. Arriving at the beginning of 1880, Patrick would have taken part in the expeditions throughout the Kuram Valley, during which time the battery was repeatedly in action. At the cessation of the war, C/4 recrossed the border into India, making its way back to Rawal Pindi and subsequently onto Lahore. Within a year, on the 20th of December 1881, Patrick once again found himself tried and imprisoned for another 55 days. Service in India led Patrick to suffer bouts of Malaria, he was hospitalised with heart palpitations, and on the 3rd of March 1884 he passed a Medical Board for return to England.

Two years later, Patrick’s ill-discipline continued, this time being tried and fined £5. In April 1887, whilst stationed in Christchurch, Patrick re-engaged to complete a total of 21 years with the regular Army and at some point was transferred to the Depot battery of 4 Bde. He was transferred to the RA District Staff in October 1890 and then the Inspection Branch, Division of Artillery in April 1892. Patrick was granted permission to continue beyond 21 years’ service before finally being discharged on the 23rd of October 1897 at Woolwich. He had served a total of 22 years and five days.

On the 2nd of May 1900 Patrick re-engaged for one years’ short service with the RA and was posted to 103 Field Battery. He was 42 years old. This was during the Boer War, when the possibility of additional troops being required for service in South Africa meant that additional recruiting was taking place to backfill the regular troops at home. Having served his short service contract Patrick was discharged on the 1st of May 1901.

Patrick died in Woolwich on Christmas Day 1903 aged 46.

Armed Forces / Re: Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80
« on: Monday 07 March 22 22:56 GMT (UK)  »
Frederick Evan Cowper-Smith
Royal Artillery

Frederick Cowper-Smith was born on the 11th of July 1861 in Horncastle, Lincolnshire. He was the first of three sons born to the Reverend Thomas and Isabella (née Blathwayt) Cowper-Smith.

Frederick attended the prestigious Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey where he was a member of Girdlestonites and Daviesites boarding houses. He left Charterhouse in the ‘Oration Quarter’ (early September – mid-December) 1877 and commissioned into the Royal Artillery on the 30th of July 1879. Frederick was posted to 11 Battery, 9 Brigade RA (11/9) and deployed to India to join the battery in the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

Having taken part in the Battle of Ali Musjid in November 1878, 11/9 was part of the Kyber Field Force taking part in numerous expeditions in the Lughman Valley and operations in the Hissarak Valley in April 1880.

Frederick died of fever on the 26th of July 1880 at Safed Sung, Peshawar in Afghanistan. He was 19 years old.

His father was the Rector of All Saints Church in Horsington, Lincolnshire between 1856 and 1871. Within the church, a memorial plaque to Frederick has been placed reading:

"To the beloved memory of Frederick Evan Cowper Smith Lieutenant Royal Artillery eldest son of the late Revd. T F Smith formerly Rector of the parish.
He died of fever bought on by over exertion in the discharge of his duty in active service in Afghanistan with the Kyber Line Field Force on July 26th 1880 when he had just completed 19 years of earthly life. 'Jesus’ mercy'"

Frederick’s younger brother, Arthur Monroe de Lasalle Cowper-Smith also commissioned into the Royal Artillery, serving with the 21st Division Royal Field Artillery (RFA). Arthur died whilst serving with 67 Battery RFA in South Africa in September 1898. He is also memorialised at All Saints Church:

"Sacred to the memory of Arthur Munro Cowper Smith, Captain in the Royal Field Artillery and graduate of Trinity College Cambridge. He died at Beira, East Africa on September 28th 1898 in the 36th year of his age of injuries received in a grass fire whilst shooting game on the Pungwe River. He was the second son of the Revd. T F Smith B D Rector of this parish."

Armed Forces / Re: Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80
« on: Friday 18 February 22 00:00 GMT (UK)  »
George Sparks
Gunner, 3652
Royal Artillery

George Sparks was born in Northfleet near Gravesend, Kent in March 1847. Recorded as being a general labourer, George also was a member of the West Kent Light Infantry Militia, serving for just over a year before being discharged to join the regular Army. On the 22nd of December 1869 aged 22 years and 9 months, George enlisted into the Royal Artillery (RA) at Woolwich, signing up for a period of 12 years.

On enlistment, George joined the Depot Brigade RA to conduct his initial training before being posted to 25th Brigade (25 Bde) based in Allahabad, India and he departed England on the 21st of October 1870. Whilst in India George transferred between the 25th, 22nd and 24th Bdes and suffered repeatedly from Malaria and Dysentery. He appeared before a medical board in February 1874 which recommended that he return to England. On arrival back home, George was initially posted to the Depot Bde before being transferred to 22 Bde on the 1st of June 1874 with whom he served for 18 months. Having regained his health, George was transferred to 21 Bde who were subsequently posted to India, arriving back in the subcontinent on the 23rd of February 1876. On the 1st of July 1877 George transferred to 11 Battery 11 Bde (11/11) in Barrackpore and, in January 1878, re-engaged for a total of 21 years.

At the beginning of October 1878, 11/11 was warned for active service in Afghanistan, and marched from Jutogh where it was stationed, towards Kandahar through the Bolan Pass and via Quetta, arriving at Kandahar on the 8th of January 1879. From there four guns of the battery accompanied General Stewart to Kalat-i-Ghilzai, with the remaining guns being attached to the force under General Biddulph which marched to Girishk. The battery reunited in Kandahar in late February 1879 where they remained for the summer. At the end of August 11/11 and the rest of the Kandahar Field Force were prepared to return to India but, following the massacre of the British Embassy at Kabul, orders were received to remain at Kandahar.  The battery remained in the city for the winter and were then put under the command of General Sir Donald Stewart. At the end of March 1880, 11/11 accompanied Stewart’s force in its advance from Kandahar towards Kabul. On the 19th of April 11/11 was present at the battle of Ahmad Khel. Subsequently the battery advanced with the other units of the force into the Logar Valley, where is remained until July when it proceeded to Kabul. It remained in the Afghan capital until it was the evacuated by the British in August, when it began its return march by the Khyber Pass to India and arrived at Peshawar on the 9th of September 1880.

In April 1882, 11/11 was reformed as 1 Bde, Southern Irish Division RA. George served with both 5 and 6 Batteries, including a year spent in Aden between October 1884 and October 1885 before returning to India and transferring to 2 Lancashire Division RA. On the 1st of September 1886, George transferred to 1 Bde Northern Division. He appeared before a medical board for the second time in September 1887, this time suffering from general debility. The board again recommended he be posted back to England, and he landed back home on the 27th of January 1888. At his own request, George was discharged from the Army at Devonport on the 3rd of August 1888 having served a total of 18 years and 176 days.

Armed Forces / Re: Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80
« on: Wednesday 16 February 22 22:18 GMT (UK)  »
James Jenkins
Driver, 6553
Royal Artillery

James Jenkins was born in the village of Churchstanton, Devon in around 1835, the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Jenkins. By the age of 16, James had left home and was working as an agricultural labourer in the nearby village of Otterford. A few years later, aged around 22, James enlisted in the Army at Taunton, joining the Royal Artillery (RA) on the 29th of December 1857, signing on for 12 years’ service.

Following his attestation, James was posted to 12th Battalion RA and then 8th Brigade (8 Bde) RA on the 1st of May 1859. During his time with 8 Bde, James spent time in Ireland, including in Connagh (County Cork), Cork, and Clonmel (County Tipperary) before returning to England and Devonport, Plymouth in June 1863. The following year, in March 1864, James returned to 2nd Division Depot Brigade before being posted to 22nd Bde RA who were based in Morar, India on the 1st of August 1864. Shortly thereafter, James sailed for India, arriving on the 15th of October 1864. This was to be the beginning of a total of 14 years and 290 days spent on overseas service in India.

A few months after arriving with 22nd Bde, on the 1st of March 1865, James was transferred to A Battery, 16th Bde (A/16) based in Barrackpore. He remained with A/16 for two and a half years before again being transferred, this time to E/8 in Lucknow on the 1st of October 1867. James was to remain with E/8 for the following 11 years and with whom he saw service during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. With his first period of service drawing to a close, James re-engaged for an additional 9 years on the 8th of May 1868.

At the end of 1875, having completed 18 years’ service and accumulating 5 good conduct badges, James was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal. Shortly thereafter on the first of July 1877, as part of the Army’s reorganisation, 8th Bde was renumbered 3rd Bde. When war broke out in November 1878, James would have served with E/3 in their initial preparation and supported the advance of the 1st Division, Peshawar Valley Field Force under the command of General Sir Samuel Browne. He was not however recorded as having fought with E/3 at the Battle of Ali Musjid on the 21st of November 1878 and, most likely due to having only around 6 months left to serve with the Army, he did not see any more service in Afghanistan.

On the 1st of December James was transferred to K/5 in Bareilly, and subsequently returned to England in early 1879 to see out the final weeks of his time in the Army. James was finally discharged on the 27th of May 1879 having served a total of 21 years and 146 days.

James returned to his home village of Churchstanton and the 1891 Census records him as an Army Pensioner living in Taunton with his wife, Charlotte.

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