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My Ancestor was a Deserter

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My Ancestor was a Deserter

Postby Daniel Cossins » Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:26 pm

Comment on Alan's latest blog - [link=]Click here[/link] to read it.
Daniel Cossins
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RE: My Ancestor was a Deserter

Postby FamilyHistoryAddict » Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:30 pm

I have two deserters on my family tree. I have found out when one was apprehended through records at the National Archives. Not sure if the records stretch back to the early 1800s. My chap was obviously not a George Clooney lookalike. He had lost a front tooth and had a large nose. He also had no fashion sense because he was wearing green trousers. I'll check the TNA records and see if they go back as far as 1804!

Here are my deserter's details:

James Kemp Deserted from 60th Regiment of Foot on 25 April 1838 from Hull when he was 18 years old. He was 5ft 7ins tall, fair complexion, brown hair, hazel eyes. He enlisted in the army on 22 December 1837 at Newcastle on Tyne. Regimental Report Number: 58132.

More info:

Office Number: 5832
Corps: - 1st Bat 60th Foot
Parish: Wells
County: Norfolk:
Trade: Labourer
Age: 18 and a quarter
Size: 5ft 7ins
Person: Stout
Face: Proportional
Eyes: Hazel
Nose: Large
Hair: Brown
Arms: Proportional
Legs: Proportional
Mouth: Proportional
Marks & Remarks: [b]Lost A Front Tooth
[/b]Time: 25 April 1838
Place: Hull
Coat: Fatigue
Trousers: [b]Green[/b]
I found out about his apprehension from here:

Register of Commitments (Returned Deserters File) at National Archives: WO25/2946

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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

RE: My Ancestor was a Deserter

Postby FamilyHistoryAddict » Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:30 pm

I was first alerted to my deserter through the pages of Hue and Cry or Police Gazette.

Here is the info about Deserters straight from the TNA website:

Army: Deserters
There is an incomplete card index at The National Archives to army deserters (1689-1830), compiled from bounty certificates of rewards paid out of locally-collected taxes to those who had turned the deserter in. The index covers only rewards paid out in London and Middlesex (from [link=][u][color=#0000ff]E 182/594[/color][/u][/link] to [link=][u][color=#0000ff]E 182/673[/color][/u][/link] ) and in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Cheshire ([link=][u][color=#0000ff]E 182/2[/color][/u][/link] to [link=][u][color=#0000ff]E 182/114[/color][/u][/link] ). The main part of the index is of deserters, giving date and regiment:, as well as a reference to [link=][u][color=#0000ff]E 182[/color][/u][/link] by piece number and sub-number. There is also a sequence by county, as well as cross-references from entries like "Dragoons", "Fencibles" and "Militia" to the main sequence. If you order one of these [link=][u][color=#0000ff]E 182[/color][/u][/link] references, you will get one or more large boxes of tax documents, with no obvious clue as to where the bounty certificates will be. Look amongst the many unwrapped bundles of documents for a bundle wrapped up in linsen paper (a stiff brown paper).
There are registers of deserters, 1811-1852, in [link=][u][color=#0000ff]WO 25/2906[/color][/u][/link] to [link=][u][color=#0000ff]WO 25/2934[/color][/u][/link] . Until 1827 they are kept in three series, for cavalry, infantry and militia (the latter up to 1820 only). After 1827 they are arranged by regiment. These registers give descriptions, dates and place of enlistment and desertion, and outcome. There are registers of captured deserters, 1813-1845, in [link=][u][color=#0000ff]WO 25/2935[/color][/u][/link] to [link=][u][color=#0000ff]WO 25/2951[/color][/u][/link] , with indexes up to 1833 in [link=][u][color=#0000ff]WO 25/2952[/color][/u][/link] , [link=][u][color=#0000ff]WO 25/2953[/color][/u][/link] , and [link=][u][color=#0000ff]WO 25/2954[/color][/u][/link] . Deserters who surrendered themselves under proclamation, 1803-1815, are in [link=][u][color=#0000ff]WO 25/2955[/color][/u][/link] . On capture, some deserters were sentenced to imprisonment on the [i]Savoy[/i] hulk: there are unindexed registers for the hulk, 1799-1823 ([link=][u][color=#0000ff]WO 25/2956[/color][/u][/link] ).
Local newspapers and (for 1828 to 1845) the police newspapers [i]Hue and Cry[/i] and the [i]Police Gazette[/i] carried details of deserters, giving name, parish and county of birth, regiment, date and place of desertion, a physical description and other relevant information. For deserters in Australia ([link=][u][color=#0000ff]HO 75[/color][/u][/link] ), consult Y Fitzmaurice, [i]Army Deserters from HM Service [/i](Forest Hill, Victoria, 1988)
Posts: 185
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RE: My Ancestor was a Deserter

Postby Annie08 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:36 am

I sometimes where 'green' jeans - they really don't look that bad fashion wise. However, I haven't found any disserters, yet!


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Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:33 am

RE: My Ancestor was a Deserter

Postby FamilyHistoryAddict » Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:53 am


My comments about the green trousers were made tongue in cheek and I should really have used an appropriate smiley to denote that. Trouble is, with this forum I'm not really sure what the smileys on here represent! [:(] (I think I'm crying now)! [;)]

Alan made similar comments about his deserter's fashion sense, so I was merely mirroring Alan's comments. [;)] I think I have posted the tongue in cheek winking smiley now! [;)]

Cheers, FHA
Posts: 185
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

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