Inspector General George Gleig
Royal Hibernian Military School
Royal Military Asylum
Sir Percy Sillitoe
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
I find this exercise enthralling.
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.
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
6 July 2006
Apologies if you get too many queries of this kind, but I have found
a gt.gt.uncle - 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?
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.
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
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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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 www.achart.ca/books_militaria.htm 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
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.
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!