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Kew lookup request re 41st Regiment of Foot, John Smith 1809

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Kew lookup request re 41st Regiment of Foot, John Smith 1809

Postby bjlaking » Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:48 am

My three times great grandfather, John Smith, was a whitesmith from Birmingham. He was a colour serjeant in the 41st Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion, and served in Canada in the War of 1812. He was a POW after the Battle of the Thames for 351 days at Newport Barracks, Kentucky. He returned to England and Ireland and was discharged on 4 April 1816 after serving 7 years in the British Army. I found online the General Muster Books and Pay Lists WO12, piece 5416 (1812-1814) and piece 5417 (1815-1816), but I can not find online piece 5415 (1809-1811) to trace his early movements. Would the first entry in the pay lists give his age or birth date on joining the army?
He returned to Canada as a settler. His age on the 1851 Census of Canada is 64, but his tombstone says he died at age 62 on 20 Oct 1855. I need an accurate age or birth date when searching parish registers for a name like John Smith! The Description Books at WO25 do not have an entry for the 41st Regiment. He wouldn't be a pensioner as he was not wounded and had not served 12 years. Does anyone have access to the records at Kew, and knows where I can find more info on Colour Serjeant John Smith of Birmingham? thank you, Brenda, Ontario, Canada
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Re: Kew lookup request re 41st Regiment of Foot, John Smith

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:41 am

I can't do your look up, I'm afraid, but the other possible source is the Casualty Return that covers his discharge. It probably only gives the occupation and birthplace data that you already have but you never know....

NB Casualty Returns don't cover every single wound but are for much more significant events like transfer to other units or discharge.

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Re: Kew lookup request re 41st Regiment of Foot, John Smith

Postby bjlaking » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:34 pm

Thanks for responding. I don't know if he was ever wounded. It says in the Muster Roll, he had expired his period of service. I guess he only signed up for 7 years. Would he be in the Casualty Returns if he was never wounded?
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Re: Kew lookup request re 41st Regiment of Foot, John Smith

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:19 pm

He should definitely appear in the Casualty Return on his discharge and also if he transferred between regiments (and possibly battalions). My *impression* is that if he was wounded and stayed with the unit, then that didn't appear on the Casualty Return. (Something sounds adrift with the naming of the books, however I can only go on my limited experience).

What I find interesting is that he made colour serjeant in just 7 years. He must have impressed them, though I've no real feeling for the usual time to that rank at that time.

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Re: Kew lookup request re 41st Regiment of Foot, John Smith

Postby junkers » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:07 pm

Brenda,
I go regularly to Kew and I can look up the information from WO 12/5411 which is not available online. The WO 25 covers 'Officers' and I don't think Colour Sergeants were in that category. WO 12/5411 is unlikely to give his exact date of birth but should give an age.
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Re: Kew lookup request re 41st Regiment of Foot, John Smith

Postby bjlaking » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:42 pm

Thanks for responding! Even if it does not give an exact date of birth, another clue to his age would be a great help in searching the parish registers. I will try to be patience while waiting for your lookup and reponse. Thanks again, Brenda
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Re: Kew lookup request re 41st Regiment of Foot, John Smith

Postby junkers » Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:19 pm

Brenda,
I have looked at document WO 12/5415, but unfortunately there is no age stated. If it helps he joined voluntarily from the Militia on 1 July 1809, starting as a Private and being promoted to Corporal and then Sergeant, serving in Montreal, Quebec and lastly at Fort George.
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Re: Kew lookup request re 41st Regiment of Foot, John Smith

Postby bjlaking » Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:52 pm

Thanks Junkers for trying. Every little clue helps piece together the story. I have an amazing amount of info on my John Smith, a preponderance of evidence as they say. Now on to militia records. Thanks again, Brenda
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Re: Kew lookup request re 41st Regiment of Foot, John Smith

Postby Drummer41st » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:58 pm

You're going to have be very careful with a name like John Smith. There are 7 John Smith's who served with the 41st when in Canada from 1799-1815. The John Smith from Birmingham served from at least 1792 and exchanged into the New Brunswick Fencibles in 1815. He actually rose through the ranks to become a Lieutenant and Adjutant. He also died in 1830 according to my records. The only John Smith I can't account for was born in Portsmouth and joined the 41st in 1814 (7 years doesn't necessarily mean with the same Regiment, it's the time in the Army, no matter what Regiment). All the rest died before 1851 except one who deserted in Ireland in 1817.
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Re: Kew lookup request re 41st Regiment of Foot, John Smith

Postby bjlaking » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:13 pm

Thanks for responding Drummer41st!
I did chase Adjutant John Smith for a while but found a memorial written by his wife asking for help with her 9 children after he died in India in 1830. She is not my 3xgreat grandmother.
My John Smith died on 20 Oct 1855 in Peel County, Canada. His tombstone said he was a native of Birmingham. He returned to Canada after his discharge on 4 April 1816. The Muster Book said his "period expired". Also discharged on the same day was Thomas Atkins. The two had adjoining lots in Canada given to them as military grants for 7 years of service. I don't think they gave out land to deserters. Thomas was killed by a falling tree. He had willed his land to Sergeant John Smith. John returned the lands to the government and returned to England for a year, and then tried his luck again in Canada, meeting his future wife in New York while waiting for a pass to Toronto.
The Muster Book in WO12/5415 has my John Smith, a whitesmith from Birmingham, joining voluntarily from the Militia on 1 July 1809 as a Private and serving in Montreal, Quebec, and Fort George, and becoming a Corporal and then Sergeant. The dates would suggest he had served the usual 7 years.
The Muster Books and family lore have John at the death of General Brock on 12/13 Oct 1812 so he would not be the John Smith from Portsmouth who joined in 1814.
Am I correct in assuming that if a man was not wounded and had not served for at least 12 years he would not be eligible for a pension? If a man took a military grant of land, he would not be eligible for a monetary type pension? In these cases would there be any records in military files of his movements after discharge or of his death? I have another 3xgreat grandfather who served in the 24th in Spain. He had a pension because of a bullet in his ankle, and his movements were recorded until his death because he received money on a regular basis in Toronto, Canada.
You don't mention your sources. Could you elaborate? thanks, Brenda
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