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Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:53 pm
Frank Newman (born 1858) is my great grandfather and I have come across his obituary in a newspaper item in 1934. The obituary indicates that Frank was born in Stedham, Sussex and at the age of 18 enlisted as a drummer in the 1st Battn. Wiltshire Regiment. He saw service in the Zulu War in 1879 for which he held the African medal with clasp. He afterwards served in the reserve, being finally discharged in 1901.
I would particularly interested in finding his service details whilst in South Africa so could anyone possibly point me in the right direction as to where this information may be situated.
Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:05 pm
Find My Past has the Short service record for Frank enlisting in 1900. On the form it states that he had previously served in the Wiltshire regiment. I haven't looked for the earlier record as there are a lot of records for the same name. However, to find what I did, I had to enter the simplest of details - just surname and year of birth. Hope that is a help for you.
Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:11 am
The records are probably (what survives) at The National Archives (TNA).This Information Sheet from TNA may help (paragraph 10 is useful)http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/british-army-soldiers-up-to-1913/
Personally I think 18 is quite old to join as a Drummer Boy (my grandfather's eldest half-brother joined at 14).
Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:14 pm
Thank you brunes and junkers for the information. I will check out the records you have suggested which hopefully will provide more information I have managed to find in my research so far.
Regarding his age as a drummer boy I picked this up from the obituary printed in the local newspaper. It may well be that whoever provided this to the reporter was not entirely sure of the facts!
Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:14 am
Ancestry has got WO100 - Campaign Medals.
It will be worth checking that for the Africa medal - it should show a service number which will help you search for the service record.
Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:34 pm
Thanks Peter, I'll look that up.
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:33 pm
It's all a bit over the shop, but if you go to the short (1y) engagement mentioned above (in FindMyPast British Army Service Records 1760-1915, citing Wo 97 - Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1913) and page through that little selection, you will find the papers for his original engagement (1877+) follow on - so no need to try and work out which is him (that's even if they are present as a 2nd index). And yes, slightly to my surprise as well, "drummer" is mentioned!
The details show that he was in 43 Brigade to start with - it's not immediately obvious on the front page what regiment he was in (I have a vague idea I have seen this before - whether this is typical for pre-Childers Reforms of 1881, I don't know). The transfers recorded on his WO738 forms seem to record the regiments sometimes, but not always!
He spends 6y in uniform, then another 6y in the "A Res", i.e. the Army Reserve I guess. He's ranked as a drummer there, for instance. In that time period, it mentions "62 RD" which may stand for 62nd Regiment Depot - the 62nd being the old designation for the Wiltshires. I can't immediately see a reference to the 62nd before that but I've not tried to decipher everything.
Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:46 pm
discusses the role of the drummer. One interesting assertion in that thread - "At least in the early Victorian period, most drummers were adult men NOT boys".
What also appears to have happened, around about Frank's time, was that drums were replaced by bugles as battlefield communications - but maybe "Drummer" was retained as the "rank" / appointment???? Just guessing here...
Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:14 pm
Adrian many thanks for your response to my posting which I have found very informative and appreciate the time you have taken to explore the records. I'm certainly far more aware of his background than I was before posting my original message and will check out the victorianwars site to ascertain the role of the drummer in this conflict.
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