Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Story from the Census and Beyond or “You’re in the army now” part 3

In 1854 the British army was sorely in need of new men due to troop losses in the Crimean War.  Most army recruits could expect to serve for life. Life usually meant 21 years unless death or disability came first. In theory, it was also possible to buy a discharge but far beyond the means of most soldiers. In times of war, however, recruits could be signed on for limited engagements. 

The war in the Crimea must have been sufficient for new recruits to have been given short terms of service. Not only George Welch, but a number of men who were discharged with him, had served for ten years when they were released from the British army. But, lucky for them, or at least George, their presence was not required in the Crimea, British troops were needed in many other places. 

Initially taken on by the 2nd battalion of the 60th Rifles, in 1855 George was transferred to the newly formed 3rd battalion of the 60th Rifles in Ireland. No doubt it was prudent to have a significant British military presence in the Emerald Isle. Not only were Irish troops away fighting in the Crimea, but the Irish were fractious at the best of times and the mid-nineteenth century was not the best times in Ireland. The Irish Famine had led to the Young Ireland rebellion in 1848. 

They made their presence known if the list of marches for 1857 are any indication.
Dublin – Glouchester and back                  June 25 – 4 July
Dublin – Ashlove and back 154 m             July 2 – July 4
Jersey – Dublin                                           July 3 – July 7
Hytle – Dublin                                            July 9 – July 11
Dublin – Carragh and back 52m                 July 11 – July 11
Jersey – Portsmouth*

The green-clad 60th Rifles marching in Ireland
National Archives film WO 12/7012 60th Foot 3rd Battalion General Muster Books and Pay Lists*


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