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Correspondence 2001 - 2002

26 June 2002

Keith Parker

Hello there from Australia. I am trying to get some information for my father and I am hoping you might be able to help. He is chasing the mailing address for the Duke Of York's military school. thank you very much. Keith Parker [Address provided]

Answer: Information supplied

21 June 2002

Mary Grant

On the service records of the above who served in the Scots Guards from 1893-1905 he gave his school as Royal Military Asylum and Royal Hibernian Military School. Obviously this must have been in Lanarkshire or thereabouts as that was where was he was a child. Have you any information you could pass on to me about these please. Many Thanks Mary Grant 

Answer: It is unlikely, but not impossible, that your father was in both the Royal Hibernians and the Duke of York's. As I do not have access to the admissions registers after 1880, I regret that I am unable to check for his possible entry to the Duke of York's.

11 June 2002

Paul Erlam

Thank you for your views re my "Erlam Family History". I assure you that I have included a lengthy reference to William's desertion in Jamaica - as well as descriptions of the "cat o nine tails" and "branding" used occasionally on the offenders.

As a matter of interest, also locked in the Jamaica guardhouse on 17 January 1839 was Joseph Murchuson, a short, sallow complexioned gent who had deserted the 64th Foot and been recaptured the same day as William. According to WO 25/2918, "Record of Desertions 44th Foot to 73rd Foot", Mr. Murchuson, already carried a D in his left armpit, which was punishment for a previous desertion.

While typing out my list of sources (see below) I noticed William is shown as having "rejoined from desertion" on January 16. When I originally got this information I read it to mean that William had rejoined the regiment after being captured. Now I'm wondering if he gave himself up, and that's why he was pardoned by the Lt. General? I guess I'll never know for certain.

Speaking of my sources - they are listed below. I've also included references to William's brother Charles who was in Jamaica with him. Charles was also a Dukie:

WO 12/7340: Muster and Pay Lists, 64th Foot, 1838-9. 1 July to 30 Sept. 1838, at Jamaica.

Privates: 1106 Charles Erlam, 91 d. ord. pay.

Drummers and Fifers: 972 William Erlam - 1 July to 1 Aug,. 32 d. ord pay.
Deserted at Up Park Camp, 2 Aug.
Numbers Reduced in Regiment Since 30 June 1838:
Drummer Wm. Erlam, Date - 2 Aug. Remarks - Deserted."
1 Oct. to 31 Dec. 1838, at Jamaica.

Privates: 1106 Charles Erlam, 91 d. ord. pay. [No mention of Drummer William Erlam]
1 Jan. to 31 Mar. 1839, at Jamaica.

Privates: 1106 Charles Erlam, 90 d. ord. pay.
972 William Erlam - 29 Jan to 31 March., 62 d. ord pay.
Rejoined from desertion on 16 Jan. [Does this mean he turned himself in?]
In Guardhouse from 17 to 28 Jan. Tried by Courts-martial and pardoned by the lt.-general.
WO 12/7341: Muster and Pay Lists, 64th Foot, 1839 - 40.
1 Apr. to 30 June 1839, at Jamaica.

Privates: 1106 Charles Erlam, 91 d. ord. pay.
972 William Erlam, 91 d. ord pay.  Detached Stony Hill. (It looks as though Drummer Erlam was busted to private)
1 July to 30 Sept, 1839, at Jamaica.

Privates: 1106 Charles Erlam, 91 d. ord. pay.
972 William Erlam,  5 d. ord pay.  To Drummer 6 July.

Drummers and Fifers: 972 William Erlam, 87. ord. pay. From Pvt. 6 July.
Detachment at Stony Hill. [regained the rank of drummer] + WO 86/3 JAG's Office: District Cs - M. "Pte Erlam, Wm, 64th Regt. UpPark, 21 Jany [1839] Desertion. 2 Mos HL. 1 Mth Soly." -+ WO 25/2918 "Record of Desertions 44th Foot to 73rd Foot. [This I've already sent you. It contains reference to "Mil Asylum".]-+

8 May 2001

MY UNDERSTANDING of all this is: William was found guilty of desertion and sentenced to "2 Mos HL. 1 Mth Soly" (soliltary confinement) but was pardoned by the Lt. General (and busted to private for a few months). Anyway, those are my sources.

Answer: You are correct. My history is limited to the RMA (1803-1892).

Arthur J. Buller

I am a "born again" Dukie having rejoined the OBA again after an absence of some 40 years. I was at the School from 1933 until 1940, so we overlapped --- just! Subsequently I qualified in medicine and, until I retired in 1980 was an "academic medic".

Over the past 6 months or so I have been researching (in an amateur way!) events at DYRMS over the period around the outbreak of the 1939-45 war (roughly from 26.7.39, when Lord Gort presented the School with a King's Colour, until 1.6.40 when the School dispersed following Lord Gort's order to the BEF to retreat to Dunkirk and the subsequent evacuation).

As you are aware the documents at the Public Record Office are not very revealing over this period! I know that you are writing a history of the School, but will it include this period?

I have received contradictory accounts of exactly what you intend to cover. One "clear" statement that I have received is that you are dealing only with the Royal Military Asylum (as the DYRMS formerly was) between the years 1803 and 1892. Is this correct? I would be most grateful to know.

Incidentally I have enjoyed reading your contributions to the DYRMS website. To my mind the dispersal of the School from Dover was a major event in the School's "development" --- if that is the right word! Perhaps, with the advent of the 1944 Education Act, much of what has happened was inevitable. However I do believe that from the time of the move the character of the School lost something. Perhaps more has been gained than lost but I regret the passing of an era I knew.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Arthur Buller.

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