Author Topic: Kings German Legion  (Read 3382 times)

Offline rowanali

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Kings German Legion
« on: Tuesday 02 August 11 17:24 BST (UK) »
I have a relative called Heinrich (Henry) Ringe, born 1773 in Neinburg, who married an Isle of Wight lass in 1811.  It states he was in the Kings German Legion.  I have searched a bit about them, but would welcome any more info - particularly how they could have met on the Isle of Wight, and if anyone knows if there are service records for the German Legion, and if so, where....
ali

Offline km1971

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Re: Kings German Legion
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 02 August 11 18:01 BST (UK) »
Hi Ali

The King's German Legion was part of the British army. It was created in 1803 from the disbanded Hanoverian army. It was disbanded in 1816 after the defeat of Napoleon.

Henry’s record is not on microfilm in the National Archives, and so will not be on Findmypast. But you should check anyway. Only the service records of those who were awarded a pension have been kept. These are mainly men who served with other British regiments before or after their service with the KGL. There are over a thousand records, but they numbered 14,000 at one point.

You should be able to find him in the muster books in Kew. However there were about 20 battalions/regiments of cavalry, infantry, artillery and miscellaneous troops, so they will take a bit of finding. Some units were already abroad in 1811. Most of the rest sailed to Portugal in that year. Some may have stayed in the UK.

You should check the medal rolls on Ancestry. This will give his unit if you can find him.

Ken

Offline neil1821

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Re: Kings German Legion
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 02 August 11 19:04 BST (UK) »
Here's a good site on all things KGL. It's in German and English, so persevere and find the English pages and there's loads of information.
http://www.kgl.de/

Some pages there on genealogy and which archives to look through.
I can't see a Heinrich Ringe on the MGS or Waterloo roll
Name interests: Boulton, Murrell, Lock, Croxton, Skinner, Blewett, Tonkin, Trathen.
Military History & Medals


Offline rowanali

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Re: Kings German Legion
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 03 August 11 07:51 BST (UK) »
Just realised that at the time of his marriage he would have been 38 - would that perhaps be at the end of his army service?  Would that mean that he had been a career soldier?  Presumably they wouldn't have taken volunteers at that age?

Tnanks for both of your helpful responses,
rowanali

Offline km1971

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Re: Kings German Legion
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 03 August 11 08:18 BST (UK) »
There are a number of examples of the KGL recruiting men in their 50s.

Ken

Offline edbar

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Re: Kings German Legion
« Reply #5 on: Monday 02 December 13 16:14 GMT (UK) »

The King's German Legion (KGL)

~~~~~~~~

Under the Act of Succession (1701) on the death of Queen Anne in 1714, the throne of England devolved upon her second cousin, George, Elector of Hanover and Duke of Brunswick-Luneborg who rather reluctantly added King of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to his titles. The two states retained their separate governments, but shared a common head of state. George's heirs retained this dual sovereignty, so at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, George III was Elector of Hanover as well as King of England.

In June 1803 Napoleon's troops overran Hanover, and the outnumbered Hanoverian Army surrendered at Artlenburg. By the Treaty of Lauenburg, the army was regarded as prisoners of War who were not to fight until exchanged for French prisoners, but the army did not recognise this treaty, and the bulk of it slipped away to England to reaffirm their allegiance to their Elector. There they were re-formed (together with a small number of other German speaking exiles) as the "King's German Legion" in December 1804 and based on the Isle of Wight (since by a long standing statute, foreign troops could not be based on the English mainland. I can think of a lot worse places to be based.) The name change was probably to give them some protection from the French under the Rules of War should they be taken prisoner.

In 1805, during the War of the Third Coalition, the whole of the Legion naturally went with Cathcart's expedition to Hanover. Large numbers of Hanoverians flocked to join the Legion during this campaign and returned to England with them when Cathcart withdrew following the armistice which was signed after Austerlitz. This intake of genuinely Hanoverian volunteers doubled the size of the Legion.

The Legion rapidly became some of the best troops in the British Army. In battle they were as steady as the British line, and when let off the leash they were more reliable and much better behaved. Their officers were steady and professional, though none could be called brilliant. The best of them was Karl Alten, who by the end of the Peninsular war was the only KGL officer to command a British division. Not just any division but THE Division, the crack Light Division, in fact. He was also given command of the Allied centre at Waterloo.

The main problem the KGL faced was recruitment. After Cathcart's withdrawal from Hanover it was almost impossible to replace casualties. Some attempt was made to recruit from POWs of supposedly Hanoverian origin, but it was not a success; the POWs were Francophiles and tended to desert. Unlike the 5/60 (which was originally predominantly German) British recruits were rarely drafted into KGL Battalions. The Legion therefore got smaller and smaller as the war dragged on.

After the war, they returned to Hanover to form the nucleus of the new Hanoverian Army. Karl Alten was raised to a Count, and spent time in government. George IV and William IV of England both inherited Hanover (now a Kingdom) in turn. But when Victoria ascended the throne of England, the Salic Law in Hanover prevented her from becoming ruler, and her uncle Ernest inherited. Thus after a hundred years, the sister states went their own ways.

For more information on the King's German Legion, visit the bi-lingual KGL homepage.

ed.

Offline MichaelIOW

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Re: Kings German Legion
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 05 October 21 20:44 BST (UK) »
Hello Ali,

My apologies to bring back up an old thread, I too am researching Henry Ringe, I wonder if you were ever able to find out any further information?

He is my great (x4) grandfather - I live on the Isle of Wight and retain his surname (it was changed to Ringer by his son, possibly to remove the German connotations with the breakdown of relations).