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July 2006


Army education
Copyright dispute
Inspector General George Gleig
Royal Hibernian Military School
Royal Military Asylum
Sir Percy Sillitoe

Army education

19 July 2006

Thank you for your enquiry on the RHMS. I examined the collection database for RHMS entries and confirm that we have 160 items - the majority are photographs/press clippings, but there are several documents and artifacts relating to the school. The museum has the Rules and Regulations for 1854 and 1884 along with the 'New Charter' of 1871. The record also shows a history of the RHMS but this has still be located from its temporary storage. If your correspondent would like some more information, I'm sure that you will pass on the e-mail address.

One of my other tasks as Museum Curator is to give an annual lecture for Winchester's Military Museums. This year, I have chosen education in the army as my theme under the title of  'A Sergeant of Good Character and Abilities'. In the course of my initial research I have come across couple of interesting reports in the collection: a. The First Report by the Council of Military Education on Army Schools 1862; and b. Instructions for the Guidance of Candidates into the Army as Schoolmasters and the Admission into the DofYRMS and RHMS as Pupil Teachers 1897.

Away from the RHMS, the construction of the database on the CAS from the Enlistment books and Army Schoolmasters Association address book nears completion and will become a good research tool for the future.

Ian Bailey

20 July 2006

Ian, Thanks for your response to my note on the RHMS; interesting for the news of your coming lecture for Winchester's Military Museums. Combining what you have in your records with what Howard Clarke is unearthing in his research, and Peter's work on the admission registers, will go a long way to resurrecting the history of the Hibernian School.

I sent you a copy of my review of Mars and Minerva. In retrospect, this was a harsh and undeserved judgement, which explains why I spiked it. Dr. Wayper was an accomplished and dedicated scholar. I am, and was, well aware of the high regard in which he was held. I am revisiting what I wrote because I believe (Mars and Minerva) it is an important history of Army education. I mention this as by the way in connection with the following commentary on the first intake of the Chelsea Normal School. The (RAEC) Association quite probably takes a dim view of what I write on army education on my website. At the same time, its principals and members interested in Corps' history must know that Peter and I are deeply committed to digging out the history of the Corps. I should include Howard, too.

Dr. Du Sautoy, who for many years organized and managed the training programme, kept a record of trainee students. His comments are subjective, but the following extract fairly represents his general observations of the first intake for training. Academically, the candidates made a poor showing and did so for a long time to come, contrary to the glowing statements of the Rev. George Gleig.  

Of one student, Du Sautoy wrote:

Reading – Fair, (re. other candidates, frequent notes on the student's reading voice, e.g. - reads with a Scotch accent or Welsh accent or Irish brogue)
Scripture – Good
English history – Fair
Ancient history – Knows nothing
Geography – Poor
Arithmetic – Poor
Geometry – Nil
Algebra – Nil  

I'll pass on your e-mail address to Howard, who might find it useful to add to his record. I believe he has a copy of the 1862 Report of the Army Council of Military Education. He might also have a copy of the Guidance of Army candidates for schoolmaster training. He visited the museum some time ago. You may or may not have met. I wish you luck with the Military Museums address and would be most interested in receiving a copy of it if you'd care to share it with me.

Art C

Copyright dispute

11 July 2006

(See April 2006 corres: copyright ownership) In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have completed processing your counter notification dated June 23, 2006. The pages in question will be reinstated in the Google search results shortly. Please let us know if we can assist you further.

The Google Team

12 July 2006

I don't know about further assistance, but you've restored my faith in Google's reason and logic. In short, thanks. There's justice in American jurisprudence after all!

Art C

Inspector General George Gleig

9 July 2006

(Continuing correspondence) Peter, I enjoyed COMAC (The Charity of Mars);it filled in more detail to SOB (Sons of the Brave). I can see the author was not impressed with Gleig. Sounds a bit like Robert Hooke & Issac Newton to me. He who shouts loudest gets the glory. KGL (The King's German Legion) Children at RMA. We are still working on that. We found there were in 1813 reported to be 42 wives and 74 children belonging to the KGL in Bexhill clearly there must have been some military system in place to look after them. The local farming community only numbered in the low hundreds at that time, The civil parish Overseers and the Poor Rate could not support such a number. - will let you know the outcome.

Peter Cole

9 July 2006

Peter, Thanks for the update. I'm delighted for you that so much data arrived from the DYRMS. I have seen somewhere, but god only knows where, that the soldiers paid into a regimental fund to cover those wives & children not permitted to follow the Regiment overseas. Once the entitlement had been established, A rear type party or one of the local Regiments took on the duties of issuing the correct entitlement to the families concerned. I shall have to get the old thinking cap out and try to bring it to mind. Art may be more helpful.

Peter (Goble)

9 July 2006

Peter (Cole): Congratulations on a successful outcome of your exchange with Bursar Say. If you have sufficient info on George, and photographs for illustrative purposes I'd like to write a bio on him for the website. We're always hungry for material (see what we did with Dan Kirwan from the same era). So please consider what you might have available and send it along.

As for Inspector-General Gleig, it's true that I was not impressed with him. In fact, the more that comes to light the less enchanting he appears in many eyes. I'm not alone in questioning his ethics. He plagiarized Siborne's work on Waterloo; published a trooper's bio under his own by-line; when C-in-C of the army, Wellington instructed COs not to cooperate with him during his inspection visits; Gleig was taken to task by a Cambridge scholar for telling outright porkies; he was also in a conflict of interest position when he compelled army schools to use text books he wrote i.e. he derived financial benefit. In short, bit of a scoundrel I'd say; an opportunist at least. Yet everyone in the Education Corps worships him. I'm about to post a review of Leslie Wayper's Mars and Minerva (History of Army Education) with considerable reservations on the blind trust the author places in Gleig's account of military education. I've had scathing reviews of some of my books; criticism goes with the territory I guess.

I'd defer to Howard Clarke on the question of regimental funds and payment of entitlement to families left in Britain, but I do have a little info on the subject. I'll dig it out when I've got over these pieces I have on the anvil for knocking into shape.


Royal Hibernian Military School

7 July 2006

Peter, Apologies for not being in touch for so long, but I had been waiting birth certificate of Grandfather Archibald Mills's father. RHMS records you earlier sent me stated his father was a RE and deceased. Next when you pinpointed from the 1901 Census an Archibald G. Mills had been born in Gravesend, this helped me track down his father and his mother ... with the amazing result as you will see from the attachment his father at the time of my grandfather's birth was: a. Corporal, Royal Engineers; b. He was born on the 9th December 1896 at 24, Married Quarters, Gravesend Barracks, Milton. Next I have had for some time the following information from the Royal Engineers Museum, extracted under the name " Mills" from an index to pre First World Sappers ...

Mills, A.G., Cpl ( 16330 ) - 7104.6.2, page 314; Spr 10.97, 51

Naturally, I will hunt out this information. However, they did say at the time they sent this info "You really need to check the Public Record Office website for information about their sources because this where the service record for your great grandfather should be held".  Peter, any idea how I should go about the next stage of uncovering more about him?

I find this exercise enthralling.

Royal Military Asylum

3 July 2006

Sir, I am doing family history research and am writing to you to ask if you could please help me with information regarding  an ancestor of mine who was a scholar at the Royal Military Asylum ,Chelsea. The information I have at the moment is as follows: JAMES DONALD McGILL was born at Dover, Kent 28th July 1879. His father JOHN KENNETH DUNCAN McGILL was a Sergeant in the Army Hospital Regiment of Corps. In 1880 the family was in Ireland where his mother gave birth to twins who both died a few days later together with their mother. JOHN McGILL remarried in 1881. He died in the Lewisham Workhouse 1st January, 1891.I have found JOHN DONALD McGILL on the 1891 census where he is shown as a scholar at the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea. I understand that this institution took in the orphan children of servicemen and that they were trained for eventual enlistment in the Army. Are you able to give me any information about his time at the  RMA and also any information about which unit he may have joined.
Thank you

Jim Hansen

3 July 2006

Jim, Unfortunately, the page containing the details of James McGILL is a wobbler. I can't decipher anything. He does appear in the 1891 census. It is one to be retaken at Kew. I have no plans for the moment for the next visit. This calls for a letter to Lt Col R Say Bursar. The Duke of York's School, Dover CT15 5EQ. Let him know all the details you have, especially your relationship, his date of birth, father's Regiment, (Include age at the time of the 1891 Census) and ask if there are any surviving records for young McGill. I'm sorry I can't supply, but the Bursar has provided some interesting material for researchers, and I don't think you will be disappointed


6 July 2006

Apologies if you get too many queries of this kind, but I have found a - Thomas Glynn, born 1860, Aldershot; a pupil of the RMA who appears in the admission register on-line, and also in the 1871 and 1881 censuses, the latter as a pupil-teacher. In the 1891 census he appears living in Aldershot as an Army Schoolmaster. In 1901 I can find no trace. It is possible that he went to Ireland where his father originated. His father, Andrew Glynn had had an army career in the 5th Dragoon Guards, and retired on ill health in 1863 in Eltham, Kent. I was wondering whether you have come across any other reference to this name? For instance, one of the school photographs appearing on-line which has name captions indecipherable on the scanning. Would he have been attached to a particular regiment at Aldershot? or would there be any records of schoolmasters there at the PRO?  There seem to be references on your website to documents not referred to in the PRO lists, such as 'Register of Candidates'  Are these deposited elsewhere?

Lee Burgess

2 July 2006

Lee, Thanks for your note and inquiry. If you found Thomas Glynn on line and in the 1901 census it is, frankly, doubtful that we could supply additional data. He might appear in the punishment records – if you're lucky! My colleague is analyzing those now. As to his subsequent career following his RMA experience and teacher training course you would best seek him in the records of the units in which he served. On the off-chance that we have something not yet posted on the net, I'm forwarding a copy of this exchange to my colleague, Peter Goble. He might throw further light on your forebear.

Art C

6 July 2006

Lee,  Detail held re. Thomas GLYN, is as posted on the web. It is possible that he may appear in the WO143/53 or 54. The punishment ledgers cover the period that he was at the RMA 1870-1878. These are held at the PRO Of the years transcribed, he fails to make an appearance, The School master Ledger circa 1858 only covers  3 years. This too is at the PRO. From the sparse detail seen in this ledger. It seems that the trainees were attached to Regiments after completing their Schoolmaster training. The data base I have re CASM is lacking a GLYN. I have no other references to any GLYN. However, If he did go to Ireland for the 1901 census, this is available as is the 1911. I can't check the RHMS as George O'Reilly's book is out on loan, and I shan't see it for at least another fortnight


26 July 2006

I am researching an ancestor of mine James Friatt, who attended the Royal Military Asylum as a boy from Jan 1859 until Aug. 1861, when he was delivered to his mother (un-named) at age 11 years. I subsequently traced him as a gunner in the Royal Artillery, age20, at Woolwich Dockyard. I'm not sure where I can find any further information on his mother or his military career. His father was also called James Friatt, a soldier, and I have information on him and his death 1858, but wondered how I could trace his mother Margaret from the School records.  Have you any suggestions please?
Any help would be very gratefully received.

(Mrs.) Pearl Duncan

26 July 2006

Pearl, I am passing your inquiry to my colleague, Peter Goble, who has transcribed the admission registers of the RMA and is therefore more familiar with them than I. He might be able to offer more information. I do, however, doubt that the records will give more clues as to information on Hames Friatt's mother Margaret.

26 July 2005

Pearl, All I have on James is as displayed on my web site. However all is not lost. Please write to Lt Col R Say, Bursar, The Duke of York's School, Dover, CT15 5CQ, asking if any records for your relative, James FRIATT, still exist. Give as much detail as you have: date of birth, father, mother, father's Regiment. Most importantly, state your relationship, i.e. my great great grandfather etc. The school is on summer vacation, and will be until about 5 September. There may be a delay in response. If any records are available, it is possible that a copy or details of the marriage certificate, home address of the then widow, plus possibly some other written ephemera of that era pertaining to his plea for admission to the then Royal Military Asylum. As he was born after 1838, is should be possible to follow the St Catherine's index and find his birth certificate, also the marriage of his father James to Margaret circa 1845-50. I have checked the Register of the Guild of One name studies. A gentleman there is researching the name FRIATT; he may be able to help.  If you are successful with the Bursar, I am sure that an email to Ian Philpot will also be worthwhile, and provide a link to other lines of the FRIAT name. Please let me know the school provides the missing detail.


Sir Percy Sillitoe

21 July 2006

I am researching family history, particularly the eminent career of my grandfather, Sir Percy (Sillitoe). From surfing on the internet I have discovered that you have written about him in some capacity, and I was wondering how I could obtain a copy of these writings. It would be wonderful for me to get a deeper insight in to his work, outside of his own autobiography (which was undoubtedly censored by his former colleagues at M15 and his own polite English sense of keeping his "word"!) any assistance much appreciated.

Nicholas Anthony Sillitoe

21 July 2006

Nicholas, How very interesting to hear from you. Give me a little time to collect my thoughts and I'll get back to you. I have no idea where my research notes went, probably dumped by now I'm afraid. I had an Ottawa journalist here a few months ago, interviewing me on the same subject; a Madeleine Drohne. She might be an interesting person to contact, too. What about your uncle, still living in Toronto (or Oakville, Ont.) somewhere like that? I take it that you have a copy of your grandfather's Cloak with dagger.

Art C

21 July 2006

Nice to hear from you too, and so swiftly! Would be fantastic if you could find any notes, is there a book you have written regarding Percy´s exploits? How can one obtain this? I'm afraid my uncle, Richard passed away just recently... but before he died he managed to get a copy of all his press cuttings of his father Percy over to his niece in France who scanned and copied and got copies to me. Lat time I spoke to Richard in hospital in Toronto he was most pleased that information about Percy was spread and not lost! As to his book "Cloak" ... am reading it now! fabulous stories! I feel a responsibility to the Sillitoe name and bloodline, and want to be able to pass on as much information as I can to my own son who was born recently ... funnily enough who has a striking resemblance to his Great-grandfather!

Nicholas Sillitoe, Norway,

21 July 2006

Okay! I'll spend a little time with you and tell more later. You get a swift reply because I have a massive correspondence (about 2,000 visitors a day to my website, which translates into a slew of inquiries, book orders, correspondence.) I am really sorry to hear about your Uncle Richard's death. He was a nice fellow. We met many times when I was writing you g-father's biography, which you obviously know nothing about or you'd have got yourself a copy. If you go to URL you will find a description of the book, the publisher and a sale's blurb. It sold well, but the quality of writing wasn't all I'd like to crack it up to be [I'm a hack, so I have no pretensions about top-drawer writing. Besides, it was my first book, so one has to make allowances, but why, I wouldn't presume to know.]

Sillitoe was a great fellow. I came to know him well and admire him. He had some skeletons in the closet I'd be willing to tell you about, but only if you take an objective approach to his life and personality. I had enough from emotional members of your family baying at me enough to last a lifetime, but that was years ago when you were a nipper I suppose. I think it was your own father (John Sillitoe?) who threatened to sue me for something I'd written, but what the heck? That's every writer's lot. Besides it was only a journalist's interpretation of fact. Your great-uncle Sir Percy's brother was also ticked off because I lifted a veil of family skeletons – so minor it's flown from memory. If you're that interested - you obviously are - you can get a copy of the Sillitoe biography on the internet. I should think secondhand copies are available dirt cheap. I have a fistful of reviews lying around somewhere. I'll dig them out and see if there's anything of interest. You might check the works of Chapman Pincher (journalist) and Peter Wright (ex-MI6) who have comments about, and references to, what I wrote. There's another work, on the Masonic Society that includes more stuff.

I've always felt rather sad about one aspect of your g-f's experience. That was his being sucked into the DeBeers' diamond scam that cost the public purse about £2M. You'd have to read the book to know what I wrote about it, but Ian Fleming (who based his James Bond 007 Diamonds are forever novel on the exploits of your g-d) was also in on the nonsense. He wrote his only non-fiction work on the alleged diamond smuggling episode; The Diamond Smugglers I believe was the title. Rubbish of course. He spent a good deal of time with your g-d (an interesting connection was that my wife knew Fleming's second wife's daughter, at Oxford I think; small world, seven degrees of separation).

Another writer with whom you might wish to make contact would be Madeleine Drohan [e-mail addy supplied] She was writing a book on corporate greed and came across the diamond business I'd written about. That's enough to be going on with. I wish you luck and fully agree with your sentiments about collecting family history for your son. It's a worthy endeavour. I wish you luck with it. There's a mountain a info you need to sort through – and a really quite interesting experience to commit to writing.

Art C

26 July 2006

Just to let you know. I ordered a second hand copy of your book, and its arrived. Lovely. Can't wait to settle down and read, after completing Cloak without dagger. Super to have all this info. about Percy - my splendid grandfather. Will get in touch after reading!


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