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December 2006


Army education
Boy Soldiers
Killed in action WWI
Royal Hibernian Military School
RHMS & the King's Royal Rifle Corps
Royal Military Asylum

Army education

30 November 2006

Mr Cockerill, Colonel Roy Fairclough, to whom you wrote a letter dated 4 October 2006 seeking information on the QAS, thought that because I had been involved in army schools work in various tours of duty and also in the history of the antecedent Corps of the Adjutant General's Corps (AGC) as a Trustee of its museum, I was perhaps better placed than he was in making a response to your letter.

I am aware of the outstanding contribution made in the wider context of Army education by the Queen's Army Schoolmistresses as indeed are many of my contemporaries and especially older, former members of the RAEC who are still alive and had served alongside QAS. I am also aware that in the concentration of RAEC archives in preparation for gifting them to the AGC Museum, there were certainly artefacts (sic) and archives related to the QAS. For this reason, I have copied your letter to Mr Ian Bailey, Curator  of the AGC Museum, so that he might look into your request. It is also copied to Brigadier (Retd) DA Harrison who is currently the RAEC representative Trustee on the board of the museum.

In making this reply to you, I also feel obliged to express what is a personal observation on your letter but is one which I believe would be shared by others in the RAEC. Your reference to a revered member of my Corps, Colonel ACT White VC, expressed as 'White wrote in his Story of Army Education...." with an inexplicit criticism of his book caused offence to me. Your low regard of Dr Leslie Wayper's book, "Mars and Minerva", is directly linked to what you perceive as uncritical acceptance of Colonel White's material. I do not believe your disappointment over Dr Leslie Wayper's book is going to excite the attention of many, especially those who delivered Army educational services throughout their military careers and had a high regard for Dr Wayper whose commitment to army education over many ears had won him friends and admirers throughout the Army.

It is likely that your criticisms of Archie White are directed at him as a military historian rather than as a distinguished soldier. They are nevertheless insensitive and take no account of the context in which this book was written. This was at a time when the RAEC had received its Royal Charter and gained a prestigious headquarters base at Eltham Palace. It had also established itself as an essential source of education and training development for the Regular Army as the huge wartime Army resettled into civilian life and National Service ended.

This required the RAEC to create its own distinct identity as a burgeoning, graduate and all-officer Corps charged with wide-ranging responsibilities in an ever-increasing number of roles. Colonel White's book described these roles against an historical background in a way which the members of the RAEC, especially its new recruits, found scholarly, entertaining and inspirational. It gave an overview of army education not to be found elsewhere.

Those of us who enjoyed full careers in Army education would welcome the publication of a work which celebrates the contribution made in this sphere by the Queen's Army Schoolmistresses. If this is your intention, you are more likely to achieve you aim by a more positive approach than adopting the derogatory, sneering air of superiority conveyed in your letter.

Yours sincerely,
(Signed T. Sherry, Brigadier Retd.)

7 December 2006

Brigadier Sherry, Thank you for your letter dated 30 November 2006 and your courtesy in asking Mr. Ian Bailey, Curator of the AGC Museum, to answer my request for information on the Queen's Army Schoolmistresses. Previous contact with Mr. Bailey on the QAS indicates that the Museum can offer no information on this subject. Nevertheless, I appreciate your gesture to help in my search for data on the QAS, especially in the face of your intimidating reaction to my remarks on the books written by Colonel A. C. T. White VC and Dr. Leslie Wayper. I am sorry you were offended. That you found my remark sneerful is regrettable. I am very well aware of the reverence in which Colonel White is held and the high regard accorded the scholarship of Dr. Wayper. I admire these men for their accomplishments, but the respect, veneration and admiration given them by the Corps does not rule out criticism of their scholarship. Out of admiration for his generalship, one might as well hold Wellington blameless for reporting, in his Despatch from Waterloo, the arrival of 50,000 Prussian allies on the field of battle at 7 p.m. when he well knew they arrived at 4.30 p.m. and saved the day. 

I agree with your sentiment that nothing I write on army education is likely to cut any ice or win friends in the army education community; I do not expect to influence its collective thinking either. That is neither the point nor my intention. What is the point is to discover the historical truth through available records, a subject I discussed at length in 1982 with Major General A. J. Trythall, Director of Army Education, Brigadier J. R. Smith, Chief Education Officer of the UKLF, Brigadier Harry Shean, Curator of the RAEC Museum, Colonel Peter de la Haye, Commandant of the Duke of York's School, and other senior officers of the RAEC, all available on shorthand record. They agreed without a dissenting voice among them that facts take precedence over what people say and the claims they make. The Rev. George R. Gleig, the equally revered 'father of army education', is a good example of one who made outrageous claims of his deeds and accomplishments without foundation in fact.

Gleig, whom Shean summed up as "an energetic, intelligent, highly-educated, dedicated opportunist", had virtually nothing to do with creation of the CAS. The decision of Minister at War Fox Maule in 1846 to create the Normal School for training army schoolmasters and the Model School at the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea, was based on Dr. Henry Moseley's confidential report (Doc PRO 43/796/749) to the Privy Council. Fox Maule formed and chaired the Army Education Committee of three (that did not include Gleig). It appointed Dr. W. S. O. Du Sautoy (St. Johns, Cambridge) to head the Normal School and Mr. Walter MacLeod MA (Glasgow Univ.) to be headmaster of the Model School at the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea.

Together, Du Sautoy and MacLeod developed the teacher-training programme for army schoolmaster sergeants and interviewed all applicants for places on the two-year course. It took ten years before the changeover from monitorial teaching to Du Sautoy-trained schoolmasters had a measurable effect. This replaced monitorial teaching introduced to the RMA by Joseph Lancaster and soon after replaced by Dr. Andrew Bell's virtually identical Madras monitorial system (c1807). Monitorial teaching served its purpose well for the next forty years. Using child monitors from the RMA, monitorial teaching spread to numerous parochial church schools of Britain and the British Army in the Home Command and abroad. 

During the period of Du Sautoy's and MacLeod's pioneering work, Gleig, appointed Inspector of Schools (not Inspector-General) in July 1846, proved himself an overbearing nuisance to commanding officers of units of the Home Command. This prompted Wellington, then C-in-C, to send a circular to unit commanders of Home Command, instructing them to treat visits by the Inspector of Schools with extreme caution. With Wellington's death in 1852, Gleig's fortunes improved. He became Inspector-General of Military Schools and took over as head of the newly-formed Corps of Army Schoolmasters, but had no record of influence on the programme of the Normal School. His National Education article in which he claimed credit for the revolutionary change in army education appeared in the June 1852 issue of the Edinburgh Review. Interestingly, he identified himself in that same article as 'Inspector of Military Schools'.

The charges against Gleig are many and serious: in the Gem Magazine for October 1829, he published an eye-witness account of the funeral of General Crauford, killed in January 1812, which occurred a year before he arrived in the Iberian Peninsular; he plagiarised Siborne's History of the War in France and Belgium in 1815 in his own book on A Short history of the War(?); he published the memoir of a trooper of cavalry as an original work of his own.  There are other recorded instances of misrepresentation. His main transgression in my view was in falsifying the record regarding the history of military education from 1846 on. He was, agreed, a prolific writer, but in a clear conflict-of-interest position when he published his Gleig's School Series beginning in 1851 (The Times for 21 August 1851) for use in military schools to his own considerable profit; not to be debated at this remove in time, but decidedly indicative of his opportunism.   

Concerning White's The Story of Army Education 1643-1963, you misrepresent me for  'inexplicitly criticizing' its author. I did no such thing. I merely stated that Wayper 'accepted without criticism everything White wrote in his' (book). White wrote the Story of Army Education. Wayper wrote a History of Army Education. Story and history are different concepts. White's story served its purpose well. It told the story in a lively, active, scholarly, but not overly-academic, style. That is not say it is without fault or beyond criticism.

Wayper's Mars and Minerva book is a different matter, which is not to question the high regard in which the author was held by his peers during his lifetime or the value of his service to the cause of military education. Regard for his reputation and achievements are not the issue. I question, and have questioned, a single chapter: The Origins of Army Education.

Of 124 chapter notes, not a single reference to the registers, correspondence or documents available in the National Archives appears; nor for that matter to original sources archived in numerous national institutions. Why? The RAEC Association, presumably, commissioned the proctor, chancellor or life fellow (I may have his designation wrong) of Fitzwilliam College to write a history of army education. He might not have been obligated to research original sources, but in relying on secondary sources he risked criticism for repeating the errors, omissions and misconceptions of other academics and scholars. Given also that he cited one of my books in the bibliography, he must have been aware of the contradictions stemming from Gleig's article in the Edinburgh Review and the doubt cast by others as well as myself on his record. In Dr. Wayper's prestigious position, he would have had at his beck and call the services of researchers with access to the same records that I and my colleague, Peter Goble, have.        

I would hope that I have provided enough evidence here to justify my comment about  Wayper accepting without criticism what White wrote in his Story of Army Education. Further, and in the face of this explanation, I contend, with all respect to your rank, service and experience, that your suggestion of a derogatory, sneering air or superiority on my part is unjustified. The only supremacy to which I can lay claim is the superiority of a wholly military education in the hands of the RAEC from the age of ten to commissioned rank in the Corps of Royal Engineers. This said, I'll express my sorrow for offending you; it is not I, however, who should apologise for the use of intemperate language.
Reverting now to the RAEC Museum Trust, I wish to remark that I would have thought that the museum trustees and membership of the RAEC Association would welcome any and all contributions to the brilliant history of the Corps. Peter Goble, has transcribed and analyzed the available ledgers under WO143/50 and all sources on schoolmasters. The results passed to Mr. Ian Bailey were used to construct a data base. Goble has sent a considerable amount of data, not all of which has been acknowledged. We know that the punishment ledger, which we are now transcribing, was sent to Eltham Palace and, from there, transferred to the safe keeping of the National Archives. We are also transcribing the correspondence of the Normal School.

Yours sincerely
A. W. Cockerill

Boy soldiers

28 December 2006

Hi, interesting article [Canadian boy soldiers] however I spotted one error. Junior soldiers join the British army at 16, not 17. You wrote:

"In conversation with Brigadier J. R. Smith, Chief Education Officer of United Kingdom Land Forces, he said that over sixty-five per cent of those who took part in the Falklands War had entered the British Army as boy soldiers. Boys and girls today are still able to enlist in the British Army at age seventeen with the rank of junior soldier."


Antaine Mac Coscair

28 December 2006

Antaine, thanks. It's not possible to change the text of this address, but editorial correction now added at the end of the paragraph, viz [Ed. correction: Underage soldiers are admitted at age sixteen.]


28 December 2006

Art, Yes I'm fairly sure the Junior system is still in place in the UK. I personally went through the year long Junior Leader system when I was 16. (Three-phased: Common Military Syllabus (CMS, leadership training and trade training.) The amnesty article contains some interesting facts - approx 40% of serving soldiers joined at either 16 or 17, the latter of whom may be deployed in combat. Incidentally around 40% of Royal Marine recruits at the commando training centre are 16 year olds. The initial few months training is the same as an adult recruit receives (CMS). I've been out of touch these past few years however according to their recruitment web site the minimum age is still 16 (I believe they no longer have the Junior Leader system.)


Killed in action WWI

10 December 2006

Peter, I need help, please. I am putting together a piece about the two Dukies who migrated to Australia and were killed in action in WW1 while fighting with the Australian forces and I was wondering if you had their school history details. They are:

Frederick George Hall, KIA August 1915, age 24, so his DoB would have been c1890/92 and date joining school, if admission age was the same then as when we went, c1900/91. Frederick (interesting to note that he is named after our founder and the then Monarch, King George III, born in the Portsmouth district; his parents lived on the I of W.

James Toohey, KIA December 1917 age 32 years, so his DoB would have been c1893/94 and joining school c1903/05. James was probably born in Ireland where his brother lived. Hope you can help


10 December 2006

Ted, Attached as pdf relevant details of the two old boys. An interesting fact re. TOOHEY. He was discharged 2 months short of 16, and had been discharged to "Student"; of the students I have discovered, most seem to be in the January of each year. Art and I are currently working on the schoolmaster courses held at the RMA. As a student, he will have been transferred from the RMA to the Normal School (same site, different location on the RMA premises) for training as an Army Schoolmaster. I have no proof that he attended for the full term or that he was subsequently employed as an Army Schoolmaster. Nor can I establish the date that he left the RMA permanently. Is it possible that this was his employment in OZ after his change of location? An indication of his Regiment may offer the necessary clue. Pause a while, and Art will confirm or challenge my postulation.


Royal Hibernian Military School

6 December 2006

Sir, I hope you don’t mind me emailing you having looked at the Hibernian School ‘Last Roll Call’ A picture of that used to hang in my old Grandfather’s bedroom in Staines when I was very young. My father used to point out him standing in the band – 120 Sgt Bdmn. Michael E. Thatcher. It was quite a thing to see that photograph after 40 yrs. On. I wonder if any of those on that last muster are still alive….I presume not.

Tony Thatcher

6 December 2006

Tony, To our knowledge, two ex-Hib fellows are still alive. One, Michael Kilduff (see URL, is the subject of the article headed The Last Hibernian. We have, however, come across one more, listed on the Duke of York's OBA website. His name escapes me at the moment, but he had to have been among those transferred from Phoenix Park to Shorncliffe Barracks, Kent, in 1922 and amalgamated with the Duke of York's School in 1924. Michael Kilduff is now in a nursing home in Dublin. My colleague, Peter Goble, and I maintain the history site of the Hibernians in deference to an old Hib who donated his hw history of the Hibernians for the writing of the Sons of the Brave book (1984) Secker & Warburg. If you have any memorabilia: letters, documents, photographs of your grandfather, might I ask that you supply us with copies? The records of the Hibernian School were destroyed by fire in WWII, so we are researching and collecting what historical data is available from other sources. Another colleague is researching government and institutional documents in Ireland and the National Archives, so we are gathering data.

Art C

24 December 2006

Hello, I have just found your site. My grandfather - George F Smith - was at the RHMS. He was admitted on 18/10/1871 at the age of 7 and remained there until 17/04/1878 when he joined the 78th Regt of Foot. I know very little more as he died when I was only 1. If you have access to any information that might be helpful please let me know.

Edward Smith

24 December 2006

Edward, Yes, we might have more information. I am passing your inquiry on to my colleague, Peter Goble, who is more familiar with the Royal Hibernian registers than am I. You may expect to hear from him shortly.

Art C

24 December 2006

Edward, Thanks for your contact. I have attached as a PDF file all detail that I have on your George F SMITH. The interesting thing to note, is that he was 47 3/4 inches tall at aged 7. (The program has automatically rounded up to 48 inches). Seems he was quite a sturdy lad. He was also in the Spit & Dribbles, the nick name  of the Drum & Fife band, playing the bugle. The information can be found at the PRO in the ledger WO143/79 Admissions to the RHMS Alphabetical. Any further details will have been lost in the air raid of 1942. Also attached an image of the Hibernian School badge. I am pleased to be able to  nail a leaf onto your family tree.


[Ed note: The illustration at right is typical of the data conversion and transcription prepared by Peter Goble for the benefit of genealogists seeking information on former pupils of the Royal Hibernian Military School. This data, derived from the few extant records of the Hibernian School is not available from any other source in this compact format.]

27 December 2006

Peter, Thanks again. Fortunately this has highlighted a mistake in the research a cousin has undertaken. She had given the details that I passed on but I can now see that it is the wrong boy. My grandfather was only 5 feet 6.5 inches as an adult and the date of birth is wrong. The details that I know are correct are that he was born on 24th October 1866 (or possibly 1865 (he altered his age to get into the army). His father - a soldier an also called George and married an Irish girl - put him into the Hibernian. His full name was George Frances Smith. Is there any chance that you could check to see if you could identify him? I would be very grateful.


27 December 2006

Edward, The height shown is that on entry to the RHMS at 3 ft 11 1/2 inches. He is the only G. F. SMITH in the ledger. I have checked other George SMITHs, none fit the bill, mainly born in 1862 and discharged at 14 in 1877. The problem with the accuracy of this ledger is in parts doubtful, it is not the original, which would have been in Chronologic order. This can be observed by the writing style of the penman. It is by the same hand from left to right over 2 pages. being written up as the boy's left the Institution, the data being copied across to the Alphabetic ledger WO143/79, and there are, or must be, many minor errors. There is no doubting the date of birth shown as 24 February 1864. As he arrived at the RHMS in October 1871, it is possible to pick up his trail in the 1871 census of the UK if you are aware of his location, Birth certificates of his siblings may prove to be an accurate pointer. Sorry Edward, but you now have all the information on the Geo F SMITH that is in the ledger.


RHMS & the King's Royal Rifle Corps

2 December 2006

I found your web site interesting and I would be grateful if you could help me with some Family History research.  I believe that My Great Great Grandfather was in the 60th Rifles and was admitted 01 04 1861 - name of John R Chillcott although you have the spelling a  Chilcott his was discharged 29 06 1865 - Delivered to his mother. I would be interest to find out how he came to you and if there is any evidence of his father -? Williams T Chillcott (Chilcott).  I have found in other research that there is a possibility that he was born in South America around 1852.

Ann Gerrish (nee Chillcott)

2 December 2006

Ann, Thanks for the contact; we are doing our best to keep the history of the RHMS alive.
Thanks, too, for the correction, a transcription error on my part, the top half of the second 'L' is missing in the hand written entry. Now corrected. I have no connection to him, just an interest, alongside Art Cockerill, in the history of the Military Schools. The detail on my web site is a transcription of the remaining ledgers found at the DYRMS, Dover. All detail re. your relative have been included. Unfortunately, there are no Irish Census details for the period he was there. The school disbanded in 1924 and the bulk of its records were sent to the London Archives, but were destroyed in the London blitz. I am forwarding your request to Irv Mortenson, who specializes in the 60th Regiment of foot, he may have some data re. your William T. CHILCOTT.

Peter Goble

Irv, Can you help with this KRRC man? Much appreciated.


2 December 2006

Peter, I do have bits and bobs of info on Chil[l]cotts in the 60th Rifles. Please note that the army records I've found indicate the had the family name as CHILCOTT - not CHILLCOTT.
That said, there were two CHILCOTTS in the 1/60th Regiment of Rifles - both of whom would have (based on their consecutive regimental numbers) attested in August or September of 1854 and embarked with a draft for the 1/60th in India on 16 JUL 1855; arrived in India and joined at Meerut on 7 APL 1856. I suspect they were brothers since they joined the same day and had sequential regimental numbers:

3342 Pte Edwin CHILCOTT got a Mutiny Medal with clasp "Delhi", and later transferred to the 99th Foot who went to China in 1860 and were stationed at Chusan. Edwin died 12 FEB 1862 in transit while returning to England from China, and would have been buried at sea.

3343 Pte John CHILCOTT also got a Mutiny Medal with clasp "Delhi". John CHILCOTT was killed in action on 19 JUN 1857 (see account below). His wife was a Mary Ann, and a son, John R. CHILCOTT was admitted to the RMA Chelsea as No. 6628 on 1 APL 1861 at the age of 9. I found in the Free Births, Marriages, and Deaths Index on-line the birth of a John Richard CHILLCOTT registered in the June 1851 Quarter at Bristol. This would  seem to be a likely candidate for the boy who was entered at the RMAC at the age of nine. There was also a marriage registered to John Richard CHILLCOTT at Bristol in the MAR 1872 Quarter. I found no reference to a William[s] T. CHILLCOTT with the 60th Rifles. Are you sure that WTC wasn't a brother of JRC?

[Ed. note: Thanks to Irv Mortenson for this passage from Annals of the KRRC. He derived the casualty list from the records of the 1857 Indian Mutiny]

19.06.1857 The enemy made a demonstration again Hindoo Rao’s House, while the main body worked its way round and attacked the British camp in rear. As long as it was light the steady fire of the artillery and the repeated British cavalry charges kept the enemy in check. At dusk, their superior numbers began to tell, and they nearly succeeded in capturing the British guns. The 9th Lancers and Guides Cavalry again charged desperately and lost heavily. The moment was critical - those 60th Riflemen in camp were sent out in support, and were later followed by some other infantry - mainly from the 2nd European Bengal Fusiliers. But for the time being, 2½ companies of Riflemen stood their ground against at least 2000 Sepoys. Supported by the 75th, the Riflemen drove the enemy from one position to another, with only darkness putting an end to the fighting.

Killed in Action 19/20 June 1857: CHILCOTT, JOHN 3443 Rfn;MALCOLM, JOHN 1029 Rfn; STEVENS, JAMES 3157 Rfn; SULLIVAN, JOHN 2191 Rfn

Wounded in Action: WILLIAMS, HENRY F. Captain: DUNDAS, JAMES DURHAM; Lieut McGILL,  J. S. D. Lieut BOULTER, JOHN 2220 Rfn; COULTER, Wm 2314 Rfn; DIXON, THOMAS 3495 Rfn; FLYNN, JOHN 3182 Rfn; HANNICK, THOMAS 2997 Rfn; HART, CHRISTOPHER 3106 Rfn; HEAVER, EDWARD 2138 Rfn; JENNINGS, THOMAS 1670 Cpl; JONES, GEORGE 3429 Rfn; SHEELEY, MICHAEL 2920 Rfn; SULLIVAN, DANIEL 2926 Rfn; TURNER, SAMUEL 2929 Rfn; Sabre cut on arm [VC for carrying a Wounded Lt. Humphrys of the 20th NI to safety]; WALLER, GEORGE 2391 Sjt VC - LG 20 January 1860 For Actions of 14 and 18 September.


Royal Military Asylum

10 December 2006

Hi I've just been trying to search your indexes for a relative of mine who was at the RMA. Unfortunately I keep getting an error message and my system closes down. This happens on all off your index pages. Are you using an unusual PDF format, or is there a problem with your site? I hope you're able to help because it would be very useful to confirm my relative's attendance at the Asylum for some family history research that I'm doing. My relative's name if James Binge and he served with the KOYLI.

R Leonard

10 December 2006

Hello Roy, Sorry about the problems you are having. I have checked, and all seems to be in working order I have checked the ledgers, and the only BINGE is Frederick. I have  attached the details as BINGE.PDF. This gent was admitted in 1855. I do have some ledgers from  1880 to 1958, an indication of the time span would help me to locate him after 1880


11 December 2006

Peter, Thanks for your speedy response. I think James was at the RMA around 1845-1855. I'm wondering if my relatives got things muddled when they told me about this and whether he might have been at the Dublin school. I'll try your files again and see if I can get them to work. Incidentally, there was no PDF attachment to your e-mail. Thanks again.


11 December 2006

Roy, There is only one BINGE at the RHMS, and not the one you are looking for. I have accurate records from Jan 1st 1847 to 1907. WO143/27 Boys discharges RHMS. covers the period 1837 (the earliest entry) to 1919. Not all boys were transferred to this ledger. If you have positive proof that your relative attended I will be pleased to add his name with a foot note that data was supplied by a relative. The proof can be found, if he volunteered to the Army, on his attestation form. There will be a PRINTED line "Educated at the RMA  Educated at the RHMS, If there is a YES a tick or some form of indication this will be sufficient proof. This problem re the missing ledgers is due to their transfer to the Archives in 1942 and the subsequent Air Raid in 1942. Perhaps you have heard the expression "Burnt Records" when referring to soldiers records at the National Archives. There is also the possibility that this Edward is a sibling of your missing relative.


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