Lomax's History of the Services of the 41st (the Welch) Regiment
Now the 1st Battalion the Welch Regiment
Containing some information relating to the 41st Regiment (or invalids).
Chapter 1. 1719-1787.
His Majesty the King, by letters patent under the Great Seal dated 22nd December, 1681, announced his intention to erect a hospital for the relief of such land soldiers as were or might be lame or infirm in the service of the Crown, and endow it with a suitable revenue.
This scheme resulted in the building of Chelsea Hospital, to which Institution the 41st Regiment of Foot is indebted for its creation. The old soldiers borne on the books of the hospital were divided into two classes, the in‑pensioners and the out‑pensioners. In the year 1718 the number of the latter was four thousand nine hundred and twenty-six; in 1719 it was reduced to two thousand eight hundred and ninety‑four. This reduction was caused by the raising of Colonel Edmund Fielding's regiment of Invalids¹ (the 41st) and of twenty-five independent companies of invalids.²
¹ As the independent companies of invalids may possibly lead to some confusion, it has been thought advisable to distinguish the 41st, or Regiment of Invalids, by a capital I.
² Papers illustrative of the origin and early history of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, London, 1872.
The Invalids consisted of soldiers partly disabled by their wounds, and veterans who ‑ from old age and length of service ‑ were rendered incapable of the duties of an active campaign, but were still judged fit for garrison duty.¹ The duties of invalids, as a body, were primarily to garrison certain important towns; but individual invalids were not exempt from more active, and frequently more unpleasant, service. Should a regiment embarking for abroad find itself very much reduced in numbers, either owing to desertion or sickness, it was by no means uncommon to take the pick of the nearest invalid unit, and thus bring the regiment up to its proper strength. Occasionally whole drafts were made up from Colonel Fielding's regiment or the in-dependent companies, and embarked as portions of companies or regiments destined to serve on a foreign station.
Possibly the most extraordinary use ever made of invalids was their inclusion in the force which sailed under Anson in 1740. No fewer than two hundred and fifty‑nine embarked under this great sailor, and not one ever saw his native land again.² But ordinarily the life of the invalids was one of ease and comfort. This applies more especially to the 41st Regiment, which seems to have been quartered in or near Portsmouth during the whole of its early existence. Their work as garrison soldiers needs but little explanation. Guarding prisoners of war or drafts about to embark for foreign service, sharing the garrison duty, receiving and guarding treasure, occasionally sending detachments to restore order in disturbed towns ≠ these were their chief responsibilities. Their existence seems to have been a very quiet one, but probably well suited to the deserving class of soldiers of which the regiment was composed. A great many of the men were married, and the officers were generally so aged as to be unfit for the most trivial exertion.
The military character of the regiment of Invalids was therefore uninteresting, and their history, in consequence, is somewhat dull and monotonous.
¹ Grose's Military Antiquities.
² The invalids who sailed with Anson were in no way connected with the 41st Regiment commanded by Colonel Fielding.
The following letter is the first evidence of the raising of Colonel Edmund Fielding's regiment of Invalids (the 41st).
"Whitehall, 13th March, 1719
His Majesty having been pleased to form a regiment of Invalids of ye out pensioners of Chelsea Hospital under the command of Colonel Edmund Fielding, to consist of ten companys; of two sergeants, two corporals, the drummer, and fifty effective private men in each, besides commission officers; as also ten Independent companys, each consisting of ye above‑mentioned numbers; I am commanded to acquaint your Lordship it is H.M.'s pleasure that you do cause the sum of five thousand pounds to be issued upon acct. to the said regiment and Independent companys.
I am, my Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient and humble servant,
The money to be issued into the hands of Mr. Eyre. The Rt. Honble. Earl Lincoln."
Letters to the Ordnance followed, asking that the regiment and companies should be supplied with arms. Subsistence was allowed from 11th March, which is the date of the creation of the regiment.
A letter from Mr. Secretary Treby to the governor of Chelsea Hospital, dated Whitehall, 17th March, 1719, says that " as His Majesty has thought it necessary to raise the regiment of Invalids.¹ to do duty at Portsmouth . . . . I send you this, by His Majesty's command, to acquaint you that from the out‑pensioners of Chelsea Hospital you are forthwith to select such a number of the best and ablest men to do duty as will compleat the regiment; and, as His Majesty desires they should be formed with all possible expedition, I am to desire you will please to give the necessary orders for making the draughts accordingly.²
The formation of the regiment appears to have progressed very...
¹ War Office Cornmon Letter Book
...rapidly, for on 21st March the governor of Portsmouth was warned that three companies were on their way to that garrison. On arrival they relieved the foot guards. It is almost certain that they received no clothing, as a letter, dated 2nd May, from Mr. Secretary Treby to the Earl of Lincoln, mentions that "His Majesty has the subject of the clothing of the regiment of Invalids under consideration." This defect was remedied soon afterwards, and on 23rd June the regiment had progressed sufficiently to send two companies to Plymouth, the remaining eight being quartered at Portsmouth. On 16th August, Colonel Fielding received orders to "permit such a number of men to be draughted from the regiment of Invalids as shall be wanting to compleat the four regiments, coming from Ireland."²
In consequence, each of these regiments received about thirty men from Colonel Fielding's Invalids. The loss in numbers was soon made up, as on 13th August there were two hundred and six out-pensioners waiting at Chelsea for an officer to march them down to join the regiment of Invalids at Portsmouth. The strength of the regiment was also increased by the transfer of the sick men of the four regiments already referred to. This was only a temporary measure, and their incorporation into the regiment of Invalids was only until the return of their proper corps.
On 13th September, an order was issued to the officer commanding the independent companies of invalids at Carlisle, Hull, Tinmouth, Jersey, and Guernsey, to send five private men to Colonel Fielding's regiment, and shortly afterwards Colonel Fielding received intimation that the independent company of foot going abroad under the command of General Nicholson would be formed out of the garrisons of Portsmouth and Plymouth. Lieutenant Lambert, Ensign Merryman, two sergeants, two corporals, one drummer, and fifty private men of the regiment of Invalids consequently embarked on board a ship...
¹ Barrel's, Hawley's, Grove's, and Howard's regiments
² War Office Common Letter Book
...destined to carry General Nicholson's company to Carolina, for the defence of that colony.
About this time orders were received that each company of Colonel Fielding's regiment should consist of forty‑five men.
In the summer of 1721 the regiment was reviewed at Portsmouth by Lieutenant‑General Macartney.
The regiment was reviewed during the summer by Lieutenant-General Wills.
The regiment was again reviewed by Lieutenant‑General Wills, when it was thirty‑one men under establishment.
On 14th December, the governor of Portsmouth received a letter from Mr. Secretary Pelham, of which the following is an extract: - His Majesty having thought it necessary for the good of his service to order a draught to be made out of the eight companys of Colonel Fieldingπs regiment of Invalids, of as many of the ablest men as shall be thought sufficient to compleat the four regiments of Foot at Gibraltar and the three regiments now going thither, and to direct Colonel Clayton who is to embark at Portsmouth for his government of Gibraltar, to see this service performed. I am thereupon commanded to acquaint you with it, and to signify to you that it is His Majesty's pleasure that, upon the arrival of Colonel Clayton at Portsmouth, you permit the eight companys to be drawn out at such a time and place as he shall appoint for making the aforesaid draught, and give him all the assistance you possibly can on this...
NOTE: Amongst the out‑pensioners of Chelsea Hospital on 7th July, 1720, was one Christian Walsh, a woman who had served many years very faithfully in the late wars in Flanders in the habit of a man, and received several dangerous wounds. - Correspondence at the Record Office.
...occasion that the men so draughted may immediately be put upon the King's ships."¹
In response to the above letter, it appears that seventy‑three men were selected for embarkation, the remainder of the regiment being evidently not fit for the service. Of these seventy‑three men,² forty‑three embarked with Colonel Newton's regiment on board the Royal Oak, and thirty with Colonel Anstruther's regiment on board the Lenox.
The men took their clothing, but not their arms and accoutrements.
An order, very important to the non‑commissioned officers of Invalids, was received in November. On the formation of the regiment it had been decided that all vacancies for sergeants in the regiment should be filled by sergeants of the out‑pensioners of Chelsea Hospital, selected by the colonel. This decision does not seem to have been very strictly observed, and consequently a new order was received that in future all promotions to sergeants should be made by the Board of Chelsea Hospital, and not by the officer commanding the regiment. This order remained in force as long as the regiment preserved its invalid character.
During this year there was a considerable reduction in the strength of the regiment, many of the very old men returning to the out-pension of Chelsea Hospital. The establishment of foot regiments on 25th December was reduced to one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, one major, one chaplain, one adjutant, one quarter‑master, one surgeon, one mate, ten captains, ten lieutenants, ten ensigns, thirty sergeants, thirty corporals, twenty drummers, and five hundred private men. Whether this establishment referred to the 41st is extremely doubtful.³
¹ War Office Common Letter Book
² These men served in the defence of Gibraltar.
³ Derived from War Office Common Letter Book.
On 13th October, Colonel Fielding received a letter from Mr. Secretary Arnold, saying that " several tumults and disorders having been committed in the island of Jersey, the King hath therefore thought it for the good of his service to order a detachment of three hundred men, including commission and non‑commission officers, to embark thereä an d His Majesty hath also thought fit to direct Colonel William Hargrave to proceed to Portsmouth, and to take upon him the command of the said detachment, and embark with them to Jersey; I am commanded by Sir William Strickland to acquaint you with it."¹
During the absence of these three hundred men at Jersey, the Invalids were at first assisted in their duty by workmen belonging to the Royal Navy at Portsmouth. This plan, however, does not seem to have worked very well, and consequently four companies of Lieutenant‑General Sabine's regiment (Royal Welch Fusiliers) marched from Birmingham² to Portsmouth.
On 3rd November, the detachment of Colonel Fielding's regiment at Jersey, except two companies, was ordered back to Portsmouth, as Jersy was quiet, and the great number of soldiers quartered there caused some expense to the inhabitants.
Both the Portsmouth and Plymouth companies were reviewed by the lieutenant‑governors of their respective towns in the autumn.
During this year the regiment was busily engaged in preventing smuggling, which was very common in and around Portsmouth.
¹ War Office Common Letter Book
² At this time there were only two regiments of foot in South Britain - Lord Mark Kerns at Bristol, and Lieutenant-General Sabine's at Brimingham. Bristol being in a disturbed condition, the relief was effected by the latter.
The following is an estimate, dated 23rd March, 1737, for clothing thirty‑five companies of invalids (ten companies of Major‑General Fielding's regiment and twenty‑five independent companies):
- L s. d.
Each man to have a red coat lined with Blew Baize, the facings of the sleeves to be turned up with Blew cloth, brass buttons ; and a pair of breeches, lined....................1 9 0
For a blew waistcoat, lined, with brass buttons....................0 7 0
One hatt....................0 3 6
A pair of white stockings....................0 1 6
Two shirts at 3 shillings each....................0 6 0
Two neckcloths....................0 2 6
Two night caps at Is. 6d., or instead of them four watch coats to a company....................0 1 6
A sword and belt, 5s. 10d. ; a pair of shoes, 4s.....................0 9 10
£3 0 10
For a company according to the above computation, including two sergeants, two corporals, and a drum ≠ their cloathing to be better than the private men - is at £3 0 10 per man for a company....................£152 1 8
The letter accompanying the above estimate mentions that the sergeants' hats were laced with gold, which was approved by His Majesty on a memorial of Colonel Fielding.¹
In November, a considerable amount of treasure, taken on board the Spanish man‑of‑war San Jose, was handed over to the regiment to guard until the arrival of a detachment of horse grenadier guards from London.
On 8th November, each of the six companies at Portsmouth, and two at Plymouth, furnished a draft of ten men towards the four newly-raised independent companies.² The distribution at this time was: - head‑quarters and six companies, Portsmouth; two companies, Jersey; two companies, Plymouth.
¹ Miscellany Book, Record Office.
ARMY LIST, 1740
Lieutenant‑General Fielding's Regiment Of Foot.
On 12th May, a detachment of one officer, one non‑commissioned officer, and thirty men proceeded to Portchester to guard Spanish prisoners of war. The remainder of the regiment appears to have been temporarily sent to Wickham, Titchfield, Fareham and Fordingbridge, as the Lords of the Admiralty represented to Sir William Yonge that the Invalids at Gosport fill up so much of that town that there is not room to lodge the sick seamen of His Majesty's Navy."¹
On 29th June, five independent companies were formed under Lieutenant‑Colonel Crackerode. A great many men of the regiment were transferred to these companies.
The following table of camp necessaries for these five independent companies (strength four hundred and ninety) may be of interest:
- L s. d.
7 bells of arms, one for the quarter guard and one for the rear guard....................Price 2 12 0 each.
6 camp colours....................0 15 0
10 drum cases....................0 10 0
100 copper kettles, with canvas bags....................0 11 6
100 hatchets, one to a tent....................0 1 3
490 tin flasks, with strings....................0 1 6
490 haversacks....................0 1 0
490 knapsacks....................0 2 6
5 powder bags....................0 7 0
In April, 1741, the detachment of Invalids at Portchester was relieved by a party of Lord James Cavendish's regiment.
On 1st April, 1743, Colonel Tomkins Wardour succeeded Lieutenant‑General Fielding in the colonelcy of the regiment.
Both the Portsmouth and Plymouth companies were reviewed by the lieutenant‑governors of their respective towns in the autumn.
A letter from the lieutenant‑governor of Jersey to the Duke of Newcastle, dated 20th May, describes the duty carried on by the...
¹ War Office Common Letter Book
...invalids in that island as being very severe, and points out the necessity of increasing their strength. There is no evidence that any reinforcements were sent.
A somewhat new feature in the life of the Invalids occurred during this year. In November, six of them were " ordered to be at Blackwell's coffee house, near Guildhall, in the City, on Tuesday morning next at ten o'clock, there to instruct and teach several gentlemen volunteers the manual exercise."¹ It may be of interest to add that a letter from Sir William Yonge to the governor of Chelsea Hospital directs "a sufficient number of in and out pensioners as may be qualified, to act as sergeants, corporals, and drummers, in disciplining and training the newly raised volunteers.²
The regiment of Invalids, under Colonel Wardour, was reviewed in the summer by General Sir Philip Honeywood. The distribution was as heretofore: head‑quarters and six companies, Portsmouth; two companies, Jersey; two companies, Plymouth.
A letter, dated 3rd November, mentions a clearance of the more infirm Invalids and their places being taken by better men from the out-pensioners of Chelsea Hospital.
Sergeant Richard Thompson, of General Wolfe's regiment, was appointed direct to be a sergeant in Colonel Wardour's regiment after twenty‑seven years faithful service, including the late rebellion.³
¹ War Office Common Letter Book. These Invalids did not necessarily belong to the 41st.
³ The only case I met with of a sergeant being appointed who did not come from the out‑pension. ‑ D. A. N. L.
In June, the two companies at Plymouth embarked there, and rejoined head‑quarters. They were relieved by two independent companies. The regiment was reviewed in the summer by Major-General Sir John Mordaunt. The distribution was as follows: head‑quarters and eight companies, Portsmouth; one company Guernsey; one company, Jersey.
The regiment remained stationed as has been described. The only information that can be gathered respecting it is that it was reviewed in 1750 by Lieutenant‑General Campbell; in 1751 by General Sir Philip Honeywood; and in 1753 again by Lieutenant‑General Campbell. On 4th March, 1752, Colonel Parsons succeeded Colonel Wardour in the colonelcy of the regiment.
In June, the Marines were ordered to furnish detachments at Porchester and at the hospital at Gosport instead of the Invalids, upon whom the duty was rather severe.
An increase of one sergeant, one corporal, one drummer, and twenty‑seven privates was made to each of the eight head‑quarter companies. These transfers seem to have been effected by diminishing the strength of certain independent companies; the Bristol companies furnished fifty‑nine men, who joined in December under Lieutenant Thomas Hawkins.
The regiment spent most of its time this year in guarding French prisoners. In February, an officer of Lord John Murray's Highland regiment of foot arrived at Portsmouth to take his pick of the regi...
...ment of Invalids, and to enlist any men who were willing to serve.
In November, the regiment moved to Gosport, Wickham, Fareham, and Titchfield.
In April, the Gosport detachment moved to Forton, and Marine officers were ordered to be supplied for its command, if necessary. This was evidently owing to the great age of the officers of the Invalids.¹
In May, all the detachments (save those at Guernsey and Jersey) returned to Portsmouth.
In July, two new regiments of invalids were formed out of the eighteen independent companies, and Colonels Lord Lindores and Parker were ordered to command them. Four companies, strength four hundred and fifty‑four, were made up out of these two regiments, and were ordered to embark for Germany under Colonel Parker. These four companies garrisoned Embden during the Seven Years War.²
On 5th August, the eight companies of the 41st³ regiment of Invalids, commanded by Colonel Parsons, were reviewed at Portsmouth by Major‑General Henry Holmes. The strength of the regiment was: one colonel, one lieutenant‑colonel, one major, six captains, seven lieutenants, eight ensigns, one chaplain, one adjutant, one quarter ‑master, one surgeon, one mate, twenty‑four sergeants, twenty-four corporals, fourteen drummers, and five hundred and fifteen...
¹ War Office Common Letter Book.
² This is mentioned on account of erroneous statements in various short histories of the 41st, which have shewn the regiment as not only having been in Germany, but also having participated in some of the actions which were fought. The garrison at Embden was occasionally reinforced, but there is no trace of a single man of the 41st having been included in the drafts dispatched for that purpose. ‑ D. A. N. L.
³ From this date until 1881 the number of the regiment will invariably be used in the narrative.
...privates, being two drummers and thirty‑seven privates under establishment. The inspecting officer made the following remarks:
Men : Marched by companies; a great many fitter for Chelsea than garrison duty.
Clothing: As it is put on at different times, makes them appear not uniform.
Uniform: Red, faced with blue, without lace.
Officers: The same.
Towards the end of this year some cases occur of private soldiers of the 41st being appointed sergeants of militia regiments.²
About 8 a.m., on 23rd August, a terrible explosion occurred at Southsea Castle. A great number of the Duke of Richmond's regiment, 41st, women and children, were killed. "One invalid soldier was blown out of the castle about one hundred yards, and was found dead, blackened and bruised, upon the glacis: another "was blown over the parapet into the dry ditch, one leg and one arm being torn off, which were afterwards found lying on the parapet wall."³
On Sunday, 15th November, the 41st Regiment was ordered under arms before eight, and, " being joined by a company of the Train, marched from the parade to the bottom of the Point to receive the remains of the late General Wolfe. The Invalid regiment followed the hearse, their arms being reversed."⁴
The following table gives the rate of pay, etc., of the 41st regiment of Foot (or Invalids):
¹ Inspection Returns, Record Office. This is the first return of this description I was able to find. ‑ D. A. N. L.
² War Office Common Letter Book
³ Annals of Portsmouth, by 11. W. Saunders.
The clothing of this company, consisting of a coat, waistcoat, and breeches, a hat, 2 shirts, 2 neckcloths, 1 pair of shoes, 1 pair of stockings, a sword and belt, at £3 0s 10d each non-commissioned officer and soldier once in two years, amounts to...
The clothing of this company, consisting of a coat, waistcoat, and breeches, a hat, 2 shirts, 2 neckcloths, 1 pair of shoes, 1 pair of stockings, a sword and belt, at £3 0s 10d each non‑commissioned officer and soldier once in two years, amounts to amounts to...
THE 41ST REGIMENT OF FOOT (or INVALIDS) CONSISTS OF:
In all, 755 men, officers included.
The distribution of the 41st this year was:‑ head‑quarters and eight companies, Portsmouth; two companies, Jersey. The strength of the regiment on 10th February was: one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, one major, seven captains, one captain‑lieutenant, nine lieutenants, ten ensigns, one adjutant, one quarter‑master, one chaplain, one surgeon, one mate, twenty‑eight sergeants, twenty‑eight corporals, eighteen drummers, and six hundred and two privates.
On 16th May, Major‑General Lord Lindores succeeded Major-General Parsons in the colonelcy of the regiment. The strength of the regiment actually present at Portsmouth in December was: one major, four captains, five lieutenants, eight Ensigns, one adjutant, one quarter‑master, one surgeon, one mate, twenty sergeants, ten drummers, and four hundred and ten privates.
On 6th September, Major‑General Parker succeeded to the colonelcy of the regiment, vice Lord Lindores, deceased.
The distribution of the regiment was :‑ head‑quarters and eight companies, Portsmouth; two companies, Jersey.
On 18th May, the 41st was inspected by Major‑General the Earl of Pembroke. The strength of the regiment was: one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, one major, seven captains, seven lieutenants, ten ensigns, one chaplain, one adjutant, one quarter‑master, one surgeon, one mate, twenty sergeants, twenty corporals, ten drummers, and four hundred and three privates. Twenty‑seven men were shewn unfit for:
The inspecting officer remarked that the officers are old, mostly wounded and infirm, and many have lost limbs. Many of the men stout and not old. The regiment is conformable to the King's order, and the clothing is good and new."¹
During this year the 41st garrisoned Portsmouth, Hilsea, Cumberland fort, and Southsea castle. It was inspected on 11th June by Major‑General Clavering. The strength of the regiment was: one colonel, one lieutenant‑colonel, one major, five captains, eight lieutenants, eight ensigns, one chaplain, one adjutant, one quarter‑master, one surgeon, one mate, sixteen sergeants, sixteen corporals, eight drummers, and three hundred and fifty‑two privates. The inspecting officer's report was quite satisfactory.²
The regiment was inspected on 15th June by Major‑General Clavering. The strength was slightly greater than on the date of the...
¹ Inspection Returns, Record Office. The ages of the officers are also taken from this source.
...last inspection. The inspecting officer particularly noticed the cleanliness of the non-commissioned officers and men, and his report was quite satisfactory.¹
The distribution of the regiment remained unchanged. The 41st was inspected on 9th June by Lieutenant‑General Monckton. The strength of the regiment was: one colonel, one lieutenant‑colonel, one major, six captains, nine lieutenants, nine ensigns, one chaplain, one adjutant, one quarter‑master, one surgeon, one mate, twenty‑seven sergeants, twenty‑seven corporals, twelve drummers, and three hundred and fifty‑one privates. The inspecting officer made the following remarks: ²
Officers: Properly armed; uniforms according to the regulations.
Men: Clean and in good order.
Arms: Clean and in good order.
Accouterments: According to the regulations.
Clothing: Very good, and well fitted.
Gaiters: According to the regulations.
Regimental Accounts: The accounts of the companies properly kept.
Officers absent: None.
General observations: Much attention seems to be paid to the regiment, and it is kept in very good order.
On 5th August, Major‑General Wren succeeded Major‑General Parker in the colonelcy of the regiment.
On 14th August, the 41st was inspected by Major‑General the Honble. James Murray, A.D.C. The strength of the regiment was: one colonel, one lieutenant‑colonel, one major, six captains, nine lieutenants, nine ensigns, one chaplain, one adjutant, one quarter-...
¹ Inspection Returns, Record Office.
...master, one surgeon, twenty‑seven sergeants, twenty‑seven corporals, eighteen drummers, and three hundred and forty‑three privates, being one mate and eight privates under establishment. Twenty‑six men were reported unfit for garrison duty. The inspecting officer remarked that "in general the old men are fit for garrison duty, though there" are several who are very infirm, but as they have families settled in "Portsmouth, they are continued in the regiment to avoid the cruelty" of discharging them to have their places supplied by able men from "the body of out‑pensioners."¹
On 26th May, the 41st was inspected by Lieutenant‑General Irwin. The report is very similar to that of 1771. Eighteen men were reported unfit for garrison duty.
The 41st received new Colours on 26th May.
On 1st June, the 41st was inspected by Lieutenant‑General Irwin. There is nothing remarkable in the report; twenty men were recommended for discharge as unfit for garrison duty.
On 22nd June, His Majesty the King visited Portsmouth, and was received by Major‑General Parker, commanding the 41st regiment (or Invalids), who delivered the keys of Portsmouth to him.²
On 9th April, the 41st was inspected by Major‑General Howe. The strength of the regiment was:‑one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, one major, seven captains, eight lieutenants, nine ensigns, one chaplain, one adjutant, one quarter‑master, one surgeon, one mate, twenty‑seven sergeants, twenty‑seven corporals, eighteen drummers, and three hundred and thirty‑two privates, being nineteen privates under establishment. Thirteen men were reported unfit for...
¹ Inspection Returns, Record Office.
² Chronicles of Portsmouth, by Henry Slight.
...garrison duty. The inspecting officer remarked that the regiment was composed of a serviceable corps of men for garrison duty. Performed their manual exercise and firing well, load quick and present with proper aim. Fired in three ranks, the front rank standing. Particulars of exercise:
During this year the regiment was quartered at Portsmouth, Fortune, Hilsea, Powder Magazine, Cumberland Fort, South Sea Castle, Blockhouse Fort, Plymouth Citadel, and St. Nicholas Island.²
On 6th June, the Plymouth companies were inspected by Major-General the Honble. G. Parker, and on 16th June the Portsmouth companies paraded before the same officer. The former were compelled to appear in old clothing, as their new issue had not arrived.
The strength of the regiment was :‑ one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, one major, seven captains, eight lieutenants, nine ensigns, one chaplain, one adjutant, one quarter‑master, one surgeon, one mate, thirty‑six sergeants, thirty‑six corporals, eighteen drummers, and six hundred and seventy‑four men, being seventy‑three privates under establishment. Forty‑one men were shewn unfit for garrison duty.
Referring to the Portsmouth companies, the inspecting officer remarked that "the duty is by no means easy, and the officers and men being invalids and infirm are scarcely equal to it."³
In February, His Majesty ordered that the regiment and independent companies of invalids should be completed to full strength...
¹ Inspection Returns, Record Office.
² Six companies at Portsmouth, three at Plymouth, and presumably one in the Channel Islands, of which no mention is made in the return.
³ Inspection Returns, Record Office.
...by drafts from out pensioners of Chelsea Hospital; consequently the companies of the 41st at Portsmouth received eighty‑nine men, and those at Plymouth forty‑five men.
During the year, His Majesty again ordered an increase in the 41st and independent companies of invalids to be effected by drafts of out‑pensioners, the Plymouth detachment receiving twenty‑eight men and the head‑quarters five men.
On 4th August, a notice appeared in the London Gazette, ordering the medical examination of every out‑pensioner in the South of England and the Principality of Wales, which resulted in ten new independent companies being formed, six of which were stationed at Plymouth.
A regiment of Highlanders landed at Portsmouth about this time from America, and on landing received orders to re‑embark for the East Indies. This order the men positively refused to obey, and disarmed their officers on the parade ground. The main guard, consisting of a few men of the 41st Regiment, proceeded to quell the disturbance, but a Highlander shot one of the old men dead, and as they had no ammunition the men of the guard retired. The officer in charge of them was unable to get away as he had a wooden leg, and consequently he was captured by the mutineers. Eventually the Highlanders were marched on board and were disbanded at Berwick, the matter having been the subject of some discussion in Parliament. This disorder was familiarly known as the Battle of Portsmouth, and a well‑known inhabitant of that town wrote a short and humorous piece of poetry descriptive of it, of which the following verses are extracts:
When the long Yankee war had ceased,
A gallant Highland corps
Was ordered hither to embark
For Indians distant shore.
But of the valiant Scots, each man
Sighed for his native home,
To join again his native clan,
And o'er the mountains roam.
In fair Stokes Bay the transport lay,
And boats were on the strand,
No soldier would the word obey
Which ordered "Leave the land!"
We've served our King and country well
Full many a fiery day,
And is it lawful now to sell
And send us far away?
The old Fogeys then opposed the squall
Which every townsman feared,
Till whistling shot struck Tommy Prawl,
When quick they disappeared.
* * * *
Their leader bold was captive caught,
For quarter forced to beg,
In vain upon escape he'd thought
For he'd a wooden leg¹ etc. etc.
On 14th January, Major‑General McNab succeeded Major‑General Wren in the colonelcy of the regiment. The 41st was inspected at Portsmouth on 2nd August by Lieutenant‑General Lord George Lennox. The strength of the regiment was: one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, one major, seven captains, eight lieutenants, nine ensigns, one chaplain, one adjutant, one quarter‑master, one surgeon, one mate, thirty‑six sergeants, thirty‑six corporals, eighteen drummers, and two hundred and fifty‑nine privates, being eleven privates under establishment.²
Twenty‑seven men were reported unfit for garrison duty. The commanding officer remarked that " the regiment went through their firings, and marched in a way that proved them to be a very useful corps, which I had frequent opportunities of experiencing when I had the honour to command at Portsmouth. Their clothing and appointments were in every respect according to His Majesty's orders.
With reference to the transfer of sergeants of the out pensioners of Chelsea Hospital to fill up any vacancies in that rank in the regiment, the inspecting officer made this report: "The following circumstance having been represented to me as very unfavourable to the...
¹ The above is gleaned from the Chronicles of Portsmouth, by Henry Slight, published in 1828. Invalids were familiarly known at this time as "Old Fogeys."
² I am unable to account for the great reduction in strength. ‑ D. A. N. L.
...41st Regiment, I feel it incumbent on me to report it. It is the appointment of sergeants by the Board, which takes from the commanding officer, who is supposed to be best acquainted with the merit of the individuals of the corps, the usual opportunity of rewarding them, and also stops the customary promotion from corporal to sergeant when vacancies happen. This is so discouraging a circumstance, joined to the trifling advantage of being a corporal in a corps where it is the custom to allow the men to work, and which benefit they are deprived of by the necessary attendance on parades and company duty, that few can be prevailed on to accept it."¹
The 41st was inspected on 3rd June by Major‑General Wynyard. The strength of the regiment was: one colonel, one lieutenant‑colonel, one major, seven captains, eight lieutenants, nine ensigns, one chaplain, one adjutant, one quarter‑master, one surgeon, one mate, thirty‑six sergeants, thirty‑six corporals, eighteen drummers, and two hundred and seventy privates, being ten privates under establishment. Twenty‑seven men were reported unfit for garrison duty. The inspecting officer remarked that "the regiment went through the manual exercise, and firing, standing, advancing, and retreating, very steadily" and well. Are well clothed. Great complaints are made of hard duty, the men having sometimes not above two nights in bed.²
On 10th June, the 41st was inspected by Major‑General Smith, who remarked "it was a good invalid regiment, in proper order in all respects, to which every attention, with a constant residence, is paid by Lieutenant‑Colonel Roberts."³
¹ Inspection Returns, Record Office. Reference has already been made to this custom.
41st Regiment of Foot Military Living History Group
Synopsis of Contents
Headings of Chapters
List of Full Page Illustrations
Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Mr. Milne's Chapters on the "Dress and Equipment" and "Colours."
Succession List of Colonels
Biographies of the Colonels
Succession List of Lieutenant-Colonels
Biographies of the Lieutenant-Colonels
Regimental Plate Pictures