Author Topic: John Westmacott, Royal Army Staff Corps  (Read 175 times)

Offline Catling121

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John Westmacott, Royal Army Staff Corps
« on: Sunday 02 December 18 15:07 GMT (UK) »
Hi all, I hope you're having a nice Sunday.

I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas on this one. It's a bit of a punt, but I have a John Westmacott on my tree who was born in Willersey, Gloucestershire c1787-1789, and I can't find any other information on him beyond this.

However, I did stumble across a grave of a Captain John Westmacott in Canada, and then further found his obituary and a couple of army records. This John Westmacott is recorded as being born in 1788 in England. That's as much as I know, apart from that he was involved in the Peninsula Wars in the Staff Corps. I'm wondering if anyone can think of where to look to perhaps find records that might either confirm or reject him as being the one I'm looking for.

Many thanks!

Chris
Sims - Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire
Townsend - Oxfordshire
Empson - Oxfordshire
Jackson - Northamptonshire
Mowbray - Herefordshire
Slade - Warwickshire, Middlesex, Devon
Fisher - Warwickshire
Mills - Warwickshire
Catling - Oxfordshire

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Offline Drosybont

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Re: John Westmacott, Royal Army Staff Corps
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 02 December 18 16:07 GMT (UK) »
Hi Chris,

Captain John Westmacott who died in Canada in 1816 is in my family tree.  He's not a direct ancestor of mine but I've got quite a lot of information about him because my brother came across his grave in Halifax, Nova Scotia by chance and wanted to know how he came to be buried there.

From the information I have, he was born in London on 4 April 1783 (birth date in baptism record on FindMyPast), son of Richard Westmacott "The Elder", sculptor, and Sarah Vardy.  I think I remember in the past noticing Westmacotts in Gloucestershire, but I don't think I've got details of them unfortunately.

Drosybont
Hotham, Guilliatt, Brown, Winter, Buck, Webster, Mortimore
Richards, Meredith, Gower, Davies, Todd, Westmacott, Hill
Mid C19 Cardiff and Haverfordwest, the Marychurch family.

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Online GrahamSimons

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Re: John Westmacott, Royal Army Staff Corps
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 02 December 18 16:09 GMT (UK) »
The place to look is the National Archives. I've searched the indexes in WO25 and WO76 without success, but searches there don't always strike gold dust in my experience.
Next step is the Army List and a John Westmacott does show up there: you can download the document free from the National Archives. In the 1808 List he is an Ensign in the Royal Staff Corps attached to the Quartermaster General's Department. He's the most junior Ensign with seniority from 2nd July 1807. Now that we've found him, you can trace his service through successive annual Lists. Their reference is WO65; find them from http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
Simons Barrett Jaffray Waugh Langdale Heugh Meade Garnsey Evans Vazie Mountcure Glascodine Parish Peard Smart Dobbie Sinclair....
in Stirlingshire, Roxburghshire; Bucks; Devon; Somerset; Northumberland; Carmarthenshire; Glamorgan

Offline Catling121

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Re: John Westmacott, Royal Army Staff Corps
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 02 December 18 16:29 GMT (UK) »
Hi Graham,

Thanks so much for that. I have no idea what about half of what you said actually means so I'll have to do some research.

However, one further question for you: is this paper trail likely to lead me to any information about where he came from? For example, I have another relative who joined the 1st Foot Guards in 1815, and I have his service record and its full of details. One doesn't seem to exist for John Westmacott. Is that unusual?

Many thanks,

Chris
Sims - Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire
Townsend - Oxfordshire
Empson - Oxfordshire
Jackson - Northamptonshire
Mowbray - Herefordshire
Slade - Warwickshire, Middlesex, Devon
Fisher - Warwickshire
Mills - Warwickshire
Catling - Oxfordshire

Online GrahamSimons

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Re: John Westmacott, Royal Army Staff Corps
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 02 December 18 17:21 GMT (UK) »
Not totally unusual. There will be paper records too but they'll need a personal visit to Kew (or someone to look for you). See the guide at
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/british-army-officers-1913/
Ensign translates as 2nd Lieutenant these days; the date you got your commission was critical as promotion happened in a queue rather than on merit (after all, you could buy a commission!)
The link above will in turn link to the WO references - the WO prefix means it came from the War Office (from the days when titles of ministries were rather more honest - now it's the Ministry of Defence).
You've got me looking again - the London Gazette lists all promotions (although its indexing is iffy at best). I've found
3 June 1809 he is promoted Lieutenant in the Staff Corps without purchase (i.e. he didn't buy his way up the ladder)
26 Jan 1815 he becomes Captain without purchase - so the rank you quote is correct.
I haven't found further promotions; the Army List may well show how long he served and whether he was placed on half pay in retirement. With the List, always go to the index to try to find your man; it's convenient that he has an unusual name.
Simons Barrett Jaffray Waugh Langdale Heugh Meade Garnsey Evans Vazie Mountcure Glascodine Parish Peard Smart Dobbie Sinclair....
in Stirlingshire, Roxburghshire; Bucks; Devon; Somerset; Northumberland; Carmarthenshire; Glamorgan

Online GrahamSimons

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Re: John Westmacott, Royal Army Staff Corps
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 02 December 18 17:24 GMT (UK) »
So I looked up the Royal Staff Corps on Wikipedia. Very brief but a suggestion of a relevant book:
Thomson, Mark S. (2015). Wellington's Engineers: Military Engineering on the Peninsular War 1808-1814. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781473858428.
Simons Barrett Jaffray Waugh Langdale Heugh Meade Garnsey Evans Vazie Mountcure Glascodine Parish Peard Smart Dobbie Sinclair....
in Stirlingshire, Roxburghshire; Bucks; Devon; Somerset; Northumberland; Carmarthenshire; Glamorgan

Offline Drosybont

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Re: John Westmacott, Royal Army Staff Corps
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 02 December 18 17:35 GMT (UK) »
Another source of information on Captain John Westmacott is the Henry Moore Institute Archive in Leeds, which has quite a lot of Westmacott papers and works of art.  They have some letters Captain John wrote while serving in Spain and after his return from there.  Dreadful handwriting!

Their catalogue also gives his birth as 1783.  It says he died from wounds received at the assault of Halifax, a confusion, I think, between his wounding at the siege of Badajoz, Spain, in 1811, with his fatal wounding by two thieves he apprehended in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1816.

The birth year of 1787 comes from him being said to be 29 on his memorial in Halifax.  I've never found anything to corroborate this and his brother Frederick was born in 1787 so I've assumed it's an error.  Always open to correction if more information comes up, of course!

Drosybont
Hotham, Guilliatt, Brown, Winter, Buck, Webster, Mortimore
Richards, Meredith, Gower, Davies, Todd, Westmacott, Hill
Mid C19 Cardiff and Haverfordwest, the Marychurch family.

Online GrahamSimons

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Re: John Westmacott, Royal Army Staff Corps
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 02 December 18 17:40 GMT (UK) »
There is a chance that a baptism certificate and other papers might be found at Kew. These sometimes include statements of birthdate as well.....
Simons Barrett Jaffray Waugh Langdale Heugh Meade Garnsey Evans Vazie Mountcure Glascodine Parish Peard Smart Dobbie Sinclair....
in Stirlingshire, Roxburghshire; Bucks; Devon; Somerset; Northumberland; Carmarthenshire; Glamorgan

Offline Catling121

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Re: John Westmacott, Royal Army Staff Corps
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 02 December 18 21:01 GMT (UK) »
Hi both,

Well, that source of information proves that this is NOT the man I'm looking for, so that's that!

The man I'm looking for was definitely baptised in Willersey, Gloucestershire in 1789. I guess I'd better look elsewhere.

Thanks for all your help!

Chris
Sims - Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire
Townsend - Oxfordshire
Empson - Oxfordshire
Jackson - Northamptonshire
Mowbray - Herefordshire
Slade - Warwickshire, Middlesex, Devon
Fisher - Warwickshire
Mills - Warwickshire
Catling - Oxfordshire