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  #51  
Old 11-27-2015, 01:18 AM
curious4 curious4 is offline
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Hello all

There is a way Bowyer could be young AND a pensioner. Quotes:


"I am intrigued by the history here, but his parents' names are unknown, so I don't know how to find more information. Details on John Murray's death certificate (in Collector, Australia, 1857) indicated his parents as "father unknown soldier" and "mother unknown", which suggests that the child had no memory or knowledge of either after The opinion given by the WO was that enlisting children into service at such a young age was not unknown. They said that wives of soldiers were sometimes allowed to accompany their husbands overseas, but no provision was made for their support if their soldier husband was killed. In this event, the commanding officer of the unit sometimes permitted children younger than the enlisting age to join up, thus saving the mother and child from destitution. "

"Prompted by previous TACA correspondence about the enlistment of army children as drummer boys during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (see above, ‘TACA CORRESPONDENCE: ENLISTMENT AS A DRUMMER, AGED FIVE’ and ‘TACA CORRESPONDENCE: BOY SOLDIERS AND EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY REGIMENTAL MUSTER ROLLS’), Wendy Laigne-Stuart has been in touch regarding a similar case. She writes:
‘I read the comment about the seven-year-old who was enlisted. My great-great-great-grandfather was also seven when he enlisted. William Sugden was in Colombo [then in Ceylon, today in Sri Lanka] when he enlisted as a drummer boy in the 19th Foot on 21 March 1807. [See the extract from his discharge papers reproduced below.]

When they were returning home, he joined the 45th Foot on 24 September 1819. He was pensioned off at twenty-two. "


"Until well into the 19th century, western armies recruited young boys to act as drummers. The drums were an important part of the battlefield communications system, with various drum rolls used to signal different commands from officers to troops.[1] Although there were usually official age limits, these were often ignored; the youngest boys were sometimes treated as mascots by the adult soldiers. The life of a drummer boy appeared rather glamorous and as a result, boys would sometimes run away from home to enlist.[2] Other boys may have been the sons or orphans of soldiers serving in the same unit.[3] "

Best wishes
C4
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  #52  
Old 11-27-2015, 02:13 AM
Rosella Rosella is offline
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Yes, in the 18th and early 19th centuries absolutely there was very early recruitment. I've read of cornets (lieutenant's positions) being purchased in some regiments for boys of eleven in the 18th century.

But there dont seem to be any Bowyers who entered the British Army as drummers boys and the like for the right period, or any Bowyers who were pensioned off in their twenties. Although Dew seems to have been under the impression that the 'Indian Harry' that he remembered was 'a youth', and several press reports speak of a young man (and 38 is still very young by our standards to be regarded as 'a pensioner') if the illustration of Bowyer in the A-Z is correct this man ain't no Spring chicken.
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  #53  
Old 11-27-2015, 02:26 AM
curious4 curious4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosella View Post
Yes, in the 18th and early 19th centuries absolutely there was very early recruitment. I've read of cornets (lieutenant's positions) being purchased in some regiments for boys of eleven in the 18th century.

But there dont seem to be any Bowyers who entered the British Army as drummers boys and the like for the right period, or any Bowyers who were pensioned off in their twenties. Although Dew seems to have been under the impression that the 'Indian Harry' that he remembered was 'a youth', and several press reports speak of a young man (and 38 is still very young by our standards to be regarded as 'a pensioner') if the illustration of Bowyer in the A-Z is correct this man ain't no Spring chicken.
That's a shame. Not able to check myself due to lack of funds :-(.
Would've explained it though.

Best wishes
C4
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  #54  
Old 11-27-2015, 04:53 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosella View Post
Although Dew seems to have been under the impression that the 'Indian Harry' that he remembered was 'a youth'
Perhaps he remembered newspaper reports, or second-hand recollections from another source, that might lead one to assume that Bowyer was an errand-boy:

"Thomas Bowyer, sworn. I live at 37, Dorset-street, Spitalfields. I am a servant to M'Carthy, the owner of a chandler's shop... I at once went back to my master, and I told him what I had seen"

Source: Morning Advertiser. Some other newspapers, including (significantly?) the Illustrated Police News also used the "master/servant" labels - as opposed to, say, "employer/employee" or "boss/worker", both of which would better characterise the working relationship between two adult males.
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  #55  
Old 11-27-2015, 03:25 PM
GUT GUT is offline
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Joining up young was the norm, my GG grandfather joined the Navy at 11, but short of an injury not sure at what age thy could qualify as a pensioner.
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  #56  
Old 11-27-2015, 03:43 PM
MysterySinger MysterySinger is offline
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Well, if I have it right, this Thomas Bowyer was an apprentice bricklayer at age 13. In 1888 he would have been approx 41 (having been born 1847) and might be a better fit for the generally used depiction of Thomas Bowyer. Not proof, of course, as yet.
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