Author Topic: Did my ancestor serve in the armed forces (~1809 - ~1814)?  (Read 1137 times)

Offline M_ONeill

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Did my ancestor serve in the armed forces (~1809 - ~1814)?
« on: Friday 12 October 18 17:33 BST (UK) »
Hey all, first time poster to the military board!

I'm currently trying to explain a gap in the children of my 4x great grandparents, William Monk and Elizabeth Handley, of Rock Worcestershire. They marry on the 29th November 1798, in Rock, and then proceed to have a child every couple of years. Then there is a large gap between James Monk (baptised 16th April 1809) and Francis Monk (baptised 2nd July 1815). The couple then have two other children after that.

Now of course there could be other, non-military explanations for the gap (miscarriage, parents moved away for a couple of years, incorrect baptismal info etc), but someone raised the point that military service of some kind could be another reason, given the timeframe, and I was wondering how one would go about even investigating it as a possibility.

I'm completely new to this area of military history, so any pointers in the right direction would be gratefully appreciated!

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Offline philipsearching

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Re: Did my ancestor serve in the armed forces (~1809 - ~1814)?
« Reply #1 on: Friday 12 October 18 19:14 BST (UK) »
There is an entry on the Waterloo medal roll which might be worth following up:

Private Wm MONCK, 2nd Battalion, 35th Regiment of Foot, Captain McNeill's Company.

The 2nd Battalion was in the Netherlands in 1809 and 1813, and at Waterloo in 1815.

Philip
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Offline M_ONeill

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Re: Did my ancestor serve in the armed forces (~1809 - ~1814)?
« Reply #2 on: Friday 12 October 18 19:27 BST (UK) »
So Iíve actually found another candidate as well, Pte. William Monk, 66th Regiment of foot, 2nd Battalion. Not jumping to any conclusions, but the dates seem like a good fit.

The battalion embarked for Portugal in April 1809 (same month James Monk was born). for service in the peninsular war. They then fought in Portugal, Spain and France until the battle of Toulouse in April 1814. Which seems to have marked the end of their operations for that campaign

This William Monk is listed in a Muster Roll for December 1814 in Bristol - but Iím not sure exactly what that means.

So the timeline for this soldier seems to fit - is there any way to be more sure?

Offline M_ONeill

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Re: Did my ancestor serve in the armed forces (~1809 - ~1814)?
« Reply #3 on: Friday 12 October 18 19:55 BST (UK) »
Iíve found a record of this William Monk in the Military Campaign and Medal Award Rolls 1793-1949.

It lists six battles sieges for the soldier: Talavera, Albufera, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle and Orthez.

I donít know how these award rolls worked for this era, would this be all the battles this soldier fought in, or just some of them?

Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Did my ancestor serve in the armed forces (~1809 - ~1814)?
« Reply #4 on: Friday 12 October 18 20:55 BST (UK) »
The battalion embarked for Portugal in April 1809 (same month James Monk was born). for service in the peninsular war. They then fought in Portugal, Spain and France until the battle of Toulouse in April 1814. Which seems to have marked the end of their operations for that campaign

This William Monk is listed in a Muster Roll for December 1814 in Bristol - but Iím not sure exactly what that means.

Battle of Toulouse was one the final battles of the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon had actually surrendered a few days earlier. He abdicated and went into exile on the Island of Elba. He left Elba in February 1815 and returned to France. 4 months later he was defeated at The Battle of Waterloo and went into permanent exile.

A muster roll is a register of officers and men in a unit present at a certain point in time in a given location, Bristol Dec. 1814 in the case of William Monk of 2nd Battalion.

Offline M_ONeill

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Re: Did my ancestor serve in the armed forces (~1809 - ~1814)?
« Reply #5 on: Friday 12 October 18 21:08 BST (UK) »
Thanks, MS! I suppose Bristol isnít that far from Worcestershire via the Severn, though still some journey in 1814!

So it would seem all of these dates fit, except William Monkís death date. He would have had to have been living in 1848 to apply for and receive the Military General Service Medal, which he seems to have done.

So either I have the wrong death date, or this is a completely unrelated William Monk...

Offline M_ONeill

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Re: Did my ancestor serve in the armed forces (~1809 - ~1814)?
« Reply #6 on: Friday 12 October 18 22:10 BST (UK) »
So Iíve double checked, and the only burial record for a William Monk I can find in Rock is 1844 in the National Burial Index.

So I suppose this could be an unrelated William - though it seems a strange coincidence that the peninsular campaign fits into the gap in my 4x great grandfatherís children so neatly.

Offline philipsearching

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Re: Did my ancestor serve in the armed forces (~1809 - ~1814)?
« Reply #7 on: Friday 12 October 18 22:44 BST (UK) »
So Iíve double checked, and the only burial record for a William Monk I can find in Rock is 1844 in the National Burial Index.

So I suppose this could be an unrelated William - though it seems a strange coincidence that the peninsular campaign fits into the gap in my 4x great grandfatherís children so neatly.

On the General Register Office index is: death registered Dec qtr 1844 Cleobury Mortimer vol 18 p35 MONK William age 69.

As Rock was in the Cleobury Mortimer registration district I checked for other William MONK deaths with a fuzzysearch from 1837 to 1890, but he was the only one.

Philip
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Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Did my ancestor serve in the armed forces (~1809 - ~1814)?
« Reply #8 on: Friday 12 October 18 22:57 BST (UK) »
So I suppose this could be an unrelated William - though it seems a strange coincidence that the peninsular campaign fits into the gap in my 4x great grandfatherís children so neatly.

Not really. An estimated 250,000 men were in British Army in 1813 (according to "British Army during the Napoleonic Wars" on military.wikia) Many of these soldiers were Irish and Scottish of course.  As well as regular Army there were militia regiments.

The army was reduced in December 1814, mainly by disbanding 2nd battalions of 22 regiments.

Edit. For comparison I've just searched for one of my ancestors who did military service during Napoleonic Wars in the same years. 20 results for at least 4 different men with his name.