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Rfn James Power 2/95

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:45 pm
by Ian Kitson
I am writing to ask if your group takes an interest in the lives of former Riflemen and could possibly point me in the direction of any useful record sources?

My great great grandfather, James Power, enlisted in the second battalion in 1819 aged 18 and rose to the rank of Colour Sergeant before being discharged in 1844 due to chronic rheumatism. His service record shows that he was the brother of No 301 but as yet I have not discovered anything about his brother.

I know from the records held at the National Archives at Kew that he enlisted in Tipperary, Ireland, served in Malta and on Corfu but what else was the regiment doing between 1819 and 1844 and what would his life have been like as he rose through the ranks.

I have deduced that he married in 1838 and his eldest son was born at Windsor in 1841. Were the Rifles mounting guard on Her Majesty?

Great great grandfather must, in is early years, have served with men who fought at Waterloo. I also understand that the Duke of Wellington was the regiment’s Colonel in Chief, would great great grandfather have ever been inspected by the great man or even been spoken to by him?

Any assistance gratefully received.

Ian Kitson

Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:35 pm
by Alan Earp
Hi Ian, sorry for a delay in a reply but we've just had our AGM at the weekend and everyone was tied up in that.
Very interesting topic, I'm quite envious of such a family history.

At the time of your g-g grandfather the regiment would have been the Rifle Brigade; they came out of the line in Feb 1816.
This is outside our area of re-enactment and therefore expertise. We do of course take an interest in the development of the regiment but not as much as our core period.

I can confirm that the Duke of Wellington was the Rifle Brigade's Colonel-in-Chief until his death in 1852 when he was succeeed by HRH Albert the Prince Consort.

The forty years after Waterloo were relatively war-free for the Rifles and they spent their time on peacetime and ceremonial garrison duties and, therefore, had no experience of active service.

1825-1835 Service Companies of 1st Battalion were in Canada, mainly Nova Scotia;
1826-1837 Service Companies of 2nd Battalion were in Malta and the Ionian Islands.

At Queen Victoria's coronation in 1838 both Battalions lined Piccadilly in extended order from Apsley House (the Duke's home) to St James's Palace.
In the summer of that year they were reviewed in Hyde Park by Wellington himself, along with Marshall Soult!
Your ancestor, would probably have been at these events and would most certainly have seen him.

1841 Service Companies of 1st Battalion posted to Malta then in 1843 they went to Corfu and the Ionian Islands.
1842-1852 Service Companies of 2nd Battalion posted to Canada at Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Kingston and Quebec.

During this time, the number of men who had seen active service in the Peninsula and Waterloo would steadily have fallen.

Hope this is of use. I'm sure others will add their information.