Duke of York's School
Girls at the RMA
Royal Hibernian Military School
Royal Military Asylum
RMA bronze statues
Surgeon Thomas G. Balfour
Dear Col Say, Firstly, many thanks for your most prompt response to
my request for details of the above. [Ed note: Following a request
to the Bursar for information on a forebear, a former student.]
It will take time to get through the 11 pages, but even at a cursory
glance I noticed his father had the LS &GC medal. George's Conduct
Sheet had a marked similarity to those I have read in the 1950's.
When I was a boy soldier pottery mugs were the items you had to
buy. First for the one you broke (it was usually someone else, banged
it on parade). Then for the replacement to the stores and, then the one
you needed. In George's time it appears that some smart storekeeper had
cornered the Handkerchief & Badge market. I also noticed that encouragement
was given by Good Conduct Badges. May the ethos and the sense of "belonging" continue
for a further two hundred years.
p.s. You don't really need that logo on the bottom of your note paper "investor
in people" its automatic, you have been doing it for 200 odd years
24 May 2006
Sirs or madams, James Quigley was with the 52nd regiment of foot when
he died. His son also called James was placed in the royal military asylum
at Chelsea in 1815. I was searching for a sister of James Thank You. Don
Patrick Quigley Winnipeg Canada
24 May 2006
Don, Thanks for the contact, unfortunately, James's sister was not admitted
to the RMA. A Patrick Quigly in 1805 another James in 1824 and finally
a William Francis in 1898. This will prove to be a difficult search for
you, too early for a birth certificate and no doubt married by the time
of the 1851 census. There may be some information re James in the muster
Rolls of the 66th Regt of Foot, these can be seen at the National Archives,
Kew. Shedding light on his Parish of birth.
26 May 2006
Art, Here is what I know about Joseph Frederick Richards, hope it is
of use. Born 1st. March 1868 at Chatham, Kent (probably at the Royal
Engineers Depot) son of No. 2596 Serjeant Joseph Richards, Royal Engineers
and Mary Ann Richards, nee Anderson. (Sic Birth & Baptism Certificate)
[Ed Note: Further details follow.]
26 May 2006
Peter, Thanks for the data on Joseph Frederick Richards; splendid. I
don't know what I can do with it by way of a write-up, but I'll think
about it and let you know. You don't by chance have any photographs of
him, do you? Given his DOB it's quite possible an image will exist somewhere.
Also, you haven't by the same 'chance' been in touch with the RE Depot
at Chatham for his records, have you?
3 May 2006
Peter, I have now read the book The Charity of Mars and, together
with the facts I have about James the soldier, I've formed a theory of
his early life. Attached is a copy of the marriage entry of the 17th November
1794 at St Mary Major church in Exeter. As you know both he and the two
witnesses signed their names, and James Doyle was also in the same regiment.
James the soldier and wife Sarah, nee Cheese (a Wycombe family) had a son
baptised in 1795 called James. James, the son, married Rosetta Watmore and
brought up a family. After his wife died, he married again in 1859. On the
marriage certificate he states that his father was a farrier. So my theory,
as you may guess, is that he was born sometime between 1768 & 1772 and
perhaps when 3 to 5 years old was orphaned through the death of his soldier
father. He was then taken in by the Hibernian Military School, and cared
for and taught to read and write. At about 14 years of age he was indentured,
as many were, and apprenticed as a farrier for around 7 years. He then joined
the armed forces, but whether that was straight to his cavalry regiment
in Exeter, I cannot say. Being a historian, what do you think my options
of further research are, bearing in mind I shall be visiting Dublin with
my wife in June? Would your records give any clue as to his farrier apprenticeship?
3 May 2006
Ian, The records of the RHMS that I have access to cover the period 1837
to 1918 and 1847 to 1907. The first set WO143/26 are minimal, just name,
plea No. & father's regt. plus, possibly, the date of discharge and to
which Regiment. For ease I have mangled them together which confirms detail
in the earlier ledger and introduces the new data. Unfortunately, our hero's
details are among the lost and or burnt records. It is possible that he was
apprenticed from the RHMS, however the apprenticeships in the later ledgers
are few and far between. You say that he went to a Cavalry Regt. The most
likely scenario is he was trained as an army farrier, building his strength & physique
from a bellows boy to fully fledged farrier. I would consider that the next
step would be a search of the muster rolls for his Regiment. You have his
date of enlistment at Exeter, and this will provide the commencement date
too. If, on enlistment he was a fully trained farrier, then this should
have been declared, as would the name and possible location of
his apprentice master.
7 May 2006
Ian, Art Cockerill agrees that the muster rolls should be the place to
start, you having the date of enlistment and the Regiment. It is possible
to photograph the rolls now, so more can be copied for study at home
rather that trying to read as you go. Failure here, would necessitate searching
any extant apprentice ledgers in Dublin or the surrounds.
9 May 2006
Hello, I am not sure how it came up in my listings, but an enquiry as to
boys serving in the army by someone in DUBLIN mentioned W. Corcoran born 1895,
his father had been in the 11th hussars. Young William joined the Middlesex
regt. died age 18. I am associated with the old comrades of the 11th hussars.
There's a friend in Canada ex-11th hussars who was an expert on the 11th history.
If it's at all possible and on the off chance you may have the enquirers email,
perhaps we can offer some further help in his quest.
John Morriss, Deal, Kent
10 May 2006
The thrust of your message as to what you're expecting is not fully clear.
However, Peter Goble has checked the extant records of the Royal Hibernian
Military School and offers this detail. There is no similar name in the records
of the Royal Military Asylum (now the Duke of York's School).
A William F CORCORAN at the RHMS born 2/12/1895 could well be the W.
Corcoran in question: Admitted; 22/06/1906
aged 10y 6m; Company A Coy with number 8; Instructed in Tailoring; Education
Standard 5; Good Conduct stripes 3; Volunteered Middlesex Regt. 22/12/1909;
Father's Regiment The 11th Hussars. (Data source: WO243/79 RHMS
Dublin. Boys Admissions Alphabetical 1877-1918). Is this of any use?
18 May 2006
Peter, As a management consultant I'd have to put you way up there as someone "who
really knows what client service is all about!" In fact, I'm amazed
at how much effort you must have put into the whole RHMS history arena. I
really hope my dear old Aunt may have tucked away various RHMS bits and pieces
which could be of interest to us all. I'm writing to her today to say
thanks to her for making our trip to see her in Bath so enjoyable, and I've
decided to enquire whether there may be tucked away any of Granddad Mills
RHMS photos or the like. I also know she has a bag of military buttons/badges
of his. Do you know whether the RHMS boys had a special brass button
on their uniforms? And if so, what should I be looking for?
Next I see Archibald Mills during his 5 years at the RHMS was awarded 5
marks of good conduct i.e. do these represent a stripe for each award year? Are
they the selfsame stripes which appear on the lower left arm of boys
pictured uniforms? Have you any idea of the basis for awarding good conduct
stripes? I assume that good conduct marks/stripes do not infer that he could
have had a NCO boys rank of some sort? Sincere thanks for sending details
of the nominal role of boys in the Royal Hibernian School which included Archibald's
details. Unfortunately we have yet to start to use skype yet. But in
zooming in on all roll headings, there are a few I just couldn't make
1. Name - read OK
2. Next column seemed to read Company ? (under which was
letter C )
3. Couldn't read this column heading under which number 26
4. Date of child's birth OK
5-6. Assume columns represent Stone (8) & Pounds (11) ?
After the corps the father served in, I could not read next column heading
which has a 6th in column underneath i.e. does this represent some form
of educational attainment or position in class ? Finally, in the column
headed " Trade or " what followed after the " or "?
Yes, if at all possible, I would appreciate an A4 scanned size of the
first sent WO143/27 data as this specifically indicates Archibald's father
was deceased at time of his entry to the school etc. Do you read his data under this
document that although his father was deceased it does not infer that he was
an orphan? Which means his Mother could have been alive? One of the great
things about latest info you sent is it indicates his religion as C of E,
which should make life easier to track down a birth certificate showing
full names of parents ( hopefully ), in turn nailing down his father's background
as a RE. Thanks once again for all your superb help. It will really be
a delight if we can uncover something more tangible of his time at
the RHMS. I will certainly pass all this info to you if it comes forth.
18 May 2006
Anthony, I don't think I have exceeded your e-mail size I have attached
a strip of the main ledger WO143/79 Boys index 1877 to 1918. Unfortunately
the Weights & measures only extended to 1907. Yes, I good conduct stripe
per year. There were many what we today would call petty rules, but necessary
for the 400 or so boys. All those that managed to keep on the straight & narrow,
were awarded the stripes, worn on the left sleeve. The 'C' indicates
that he was in C Company, and the 26, his Company number. This number
would have been stamped onto all of his clothing and shoes. All other
headings are now readable, so should cause no problems.
I am at the moment working on the DYRMS punishment ledgers. One of the
penalties for transgressions was to lose 1 GC badge. As the RMA was initially
based on the RHMS set up, there must have been a similar system of discipline
at the RHMS The bottom strip with the number 2 following Archebald MILLS,
is the pointer that means that his father was deceased at the time of his
admission. ! orphan, 2, father deceased 3 Mother deceased & 4 parents alive but father
on foreign service. The images could have been lighter, but the rules at the
National Archives, ban the use of flash. The Standard in School, as 6th, Art & I
consider that this equates to the present 6th grade. However it must be born
in mind, that they did not receive full time education as we know it today,
the 9 to 4 school day was interrupted by trade training and working in that
trade. The boy's themselves were self supporting, producing their own uniforms & boots/shoes.
I have seen a letter from the RMA at Southampton, they had received
an order for 12 doz. pairs of hose, from the RHMS @ 15/- per doz. so in effect
each could have produced articles of clothing for the other. I have yet
to see a Hibernian button. Attached a fore & aft cap button from the DYRMS.(
Kings crown so pre 1952) I should imagine that the RHMS buttons were
similar, RHMS round the edge, and a harp in the centre. If you have any other
problems, Art & I should be able to help, if not we know where to look
19 May 2006
Anthony, I omitted the bit re. promotion at the RHMS. In the ledger some
boys are marked as L/Cpl, Cpl, Sgt & S/Sgt. This information is the rank
on leaving. With his number of GCB, he must have been a model 'soldier', yet
is not shown as promoted. This detail will be included in the 'Lost ledgers'.
None of the boys at the ledgers are shown to be NCOs. Yet in the punishment
ledger, I find that many Colour Cpls (2 stripes with crown above), Cpl's;
L/Cpl's are mentioned. I have checked with the 1901 census, an Archibald
G MILLS is shown to have been at Bexhill. I haven't the address, but I have
a spy in Bexhill, he may have access to their census data.
10 May 2006
Sir, On research family history and obtaining my great granddad's Army papers
from Kew it states that he went to Hibernian Military School. I have recently
written to Mr. G. O'Reilly in Dublin who has sent me some information and
suggested we contact you as he thought you may be doing further research.
I enclose a copy of my letter which gives the details that I wrote to Mr.
O'Reilly. Since I wrote I know that G Granddad died at Horton Hospital. I
have looked at the records released to the History Society (Surrey County
Archives) but I need to go back to Kew. Would you be able to contact me if
you have time at the above address. I have a great interest in finding out
for my mum, age 86, as she never knew her granddad. He died before she was
born in 1919. He spent 26 years in the Army and had a number of children.
We cannot find a birth certificate we are told before 1847. If people were
poor they may not have had to register the birth in Scotland. Also we think
his father may have been killed in one of the wars. His father was John Holmes,
clerk, deceased, on John Godfrey's marriage certificate to Emily. I would
be really grateful if you would contact me. May be you would like to see his
army papers and have a photograph of him as an older gentleman. If you phone
me we would be happy to phone you back.
22 May 2006
I have just found out that my Great Great grandfather was a student at
your establishment from 1855 to 1862 an was wondering if there was any way
of finding any more information about him whilst he was at the RMA. His
details are: 12.
Ref M18; Name Michael Hickey; Age 9 at entry; date of entry 6/3/1855; fathers
regiment 69th Foot; Discharged 13/11/1862; Joined Coldstream Guards on discharge
from RMA. 1861 census also has WO143-18-6099 as his relationship to head.
Thanks for your assistance.
22 May 2006
Martin, All the info is available in WO143/18, Boys admissions 1826-1889,
is as displayed on the web. There may be some records still at the DYRMS.
This cannot be guaranteed. Write to Lt Col R Say. Bursar, The Duke of
Yorks School, Dover. Kent CT15 5 EQ. Include the names of your GGF, age
on admission, father, mother, date of admission and, most importantly, your
relationship. I am at the moment transcribing the punishment ledgers, covering
the some of the time he was there so, write to me in a couple of months & I
will check to see if he was entered.
27 May 2006
Peter, I am back to you again about John Leslie. I have discovered that
his father, Henry Leslie, was actually in the Royal Artillery, serving initially
in the 8th Battalion which company became a Battery of the 9th Battalion and
he was then transferred to the 14th Battalion in 1869. He transferred
to the West Cork Artillery Militia in 1873 and in 1876 that became the 2nd
Brigade South Irish Division Royal Artillery. He was finally discharged
in 1884. I believe he had two other sons, Charles and Alfred but know
very little about them. If you are looking at the ledger again some
time, perhaps you would have another look if it isn't too much trouble.
27 May 2006
Jane, I must say sorry again. I have checked the pages of the follow on
ledger WO143/79 Boys index 1877- 1907. It is easy to search, in Alphabetic
order and almost in Chronologic order. With the birthdates shown too. I
could not find either your John, born 1874 nor any other Leslie for the time frame
given. I have also checked the RMA Chelsea for the same period. No success
their either. May I suggest that you check the 1881 census for the UK, his Regiment
may have been in England/Ireland, Wales or Scotland at the time
of the Census. Check too with your Reference Library to see if there
is a copy of Kitzmiller's 'In Search of the Forlorn Hope', this is a record
of where each Regt was during the 19th Century I am sorry that I can't be
of more help
8 May 2006
Sir, I am doing genealogy on Henry Vokins and I found him 11 years old
in the 1841 England Census Record as attending the Royal Military Asylum
tried to pull the records up but could not read them. I am very interested
in the names of his Parents to get me back another generation and would
appreciate hearing from you.
8 May 2006
Joan, Thanks for the contact. Perhaps the cause of your inability to extract
the details is due to my being named as VOKING AKA VOKINS. The full details
are attached as voking 2 pdf & vokins.jpeg
8 May 2006
Peter, Thank you very much for helping me out! Much appreciated. I
do believe you are right that the boys are brothers. I have never been
able to get back further in my genealogy and possibly this information will
get me somewhere. You were so special to answer my requests so quickly. Send
me an e-mail if I can do something for you. I live in Arizona, USA
8 May 2006
Joan, Now that all is sorted, and we have them pegged so to speak, write
to Lt Colonel R Say, Bursar, The Duke of York's School, Dover, Kent CT15 5EQ.
In your own words, tell him you are researching your great-g-g-grandfather,
Henry, and his brother, John VOKIN. They were admitted to the RMA, 25
October 1836 (Henry) & 24 October 1837 (John). Their father was Henry
and their mother was Isabella. Henry Sen. was with the 15th Hussars. Do you
have any records at the school with regard to my great-g-g-grandfather and
his brother? Your help and assistance in tracing any details of my forebear would
I can't guarantee that the records are still there, but I have pointed
to 1868 and the researcher was delighted. My own for example, has a certificate
that I (at 10 years old) did not wet the bed. Try & keep a straight face
when your grandchildren find out your secrets. Unfortunately, the 1841 census
only tells us that the boys were not born in London. To continue the search
you will need to check the whereabouts of the 15th Hussars at the time
of the birth of Henry. The best place to look is the book. In search of
the Forlorn Hope by Kitzmiller, or the National Archives in London.
At the NA, check the muster rolls of the 15th Hussars. This is a list
of who was where with the Regiment for the year researched. Please let
me know the results of your further research. I shall add your VOKINS
to my watch for list.
9 May 2006
Sir, I am trying to find out more information on my great great grandfather,
I have the information listed below but am unable to find out why he was in
the RMA or what his fathers and mothers names were? is there any way you can
help with this please.
Charles Thomas Davey; Born 1852; Place of Birth - Hong Kong; Fathers Regiment
believed to be 59th Regiment of Foot.
9 May 2006
Steve, Thanks for the contact. Your GGGfather was an orphan, his father
and mother were both deceased at the time of his admission. It is highly
probable that as an orphan, his Regiment will have organized his application
for admission, failing this his grandparents or guardians. All the detail
I have is attached.
Write to Lt Col. R Say. Bursar, The Duke of York's School, Dover, Kent,
CT15 5EQ and say you are researching your great-g-g-grandfather, Charles
DAVEY, admitted to the RMA in December 1858 His father, William, & mother,
Leah, were deceased. William served with the 59th Regt of Foot. Do you
records with regard to my g-g-g-grandfather? Your assistance in tracing
any details of my forebear would be much appreciated. I know that some of
these records are archived, but not how many there are. If you are successful
in your quest. Please inform me. Data WO143/18 RMA Boys admissions Chronological
10 May 2006
Peter, thank you for the information you have provided, is there any way
I can trace back how or when his parents were deceased? it has always
been a family "tradition" that Charles' mother was Chinese but,
as he was born in Hong Kong I am struggling to find any further information.
Is there a website that you are aware of that could be useful in finding
out any further detail. I will write to Lt Col Say but is there any other
avenue I could pursue for more info?
10 May 2006
Steve, The logic approach is a visit to the National Archives at Kew. to
check out the muster rolls for his father's Regiment for the year + -
his birth. This lists the men who were with the Regiment for the period
researched. Births within the Regiment are more often than not recorded
there too. If he was a Christian CE/RC then there may have been a Register
of births at the British Consuls offices in Hong Kong. A vaguely remember
a list of foreign births within the St. Catherine's Births Register. As
this is by year & quarter
too, it may be a simple task to go to your local Reference Library or nearest
Latter Day Saints Research facility and check, plus it is free There were
several CE/RC churches in Hong Kong, perhaps the Registers were left when
the British departed. I have checked Vol2 pp1080 (China) of Kitzmiller's
'In search of the forlorn hope'. This shows that the Regiment was there from
1855 - 1856 a little too late for the birth of Charles, unless a Company
of that Regiment was on detachment at that time. This fine tuned data
will be available within the muster rolls at Kew. I will be interested
in your progress, and will try to keep a weather eye out for him.
14 May 2006
Art & Peter, Well well ...you will be pleased to know that someone
who read your article (see Warrant Officer Alfred Fowler (1865 - 1953) on
the website contacted me (via a message I left on roots web). We are
second cousins ... he is the grandson of my great-uncle Edward Purchase (mum's
uncle - Virtue's brother). He was the one I had not been able to trace at
all - now I seem to be on a bit of a roll. Peter, the clues in the e-mail
following may give you a lead on tracing him. He apparently was in Adelaide,
Australia, when he enlisted in 1914 and was in the oz army in Gallipoli and
France but was originally in the RAMC. He was born in 1879 in Alderney.
Thank you so much for all your help.
14 May 2006
Fiona, When I began trawling the net for details on Virtue Purchase a
short while ago, I came up with information you supplied on the Duke
of York's history site and WO Fowler.
It was of great interest to learn that Virtue's daughter had come to Australia,
but I wasn't quite sure how to proceed until I saw your name as a contributor
from Brisbane. I was in a hurry and didn't my details. I now find that on
Edward's enlistment papers dated 18 Aug 1914, he gave his age at 32 years
and 10 months with the birthdate of 8 Oct 1880, which doesn't quite work out.
But I'm sure he must be your great uncle.
When you're the only member of your family in Australia you don't end up
with much in the way of memorabilia. It was lucky that my brother-in-law
found an old tin among things my mother left behind when leaving her
Twickenham home of 40 years. He gave me the tin when I visited the UK. It
contained a couple of Edward's medals from WW1 along with one or two items
of mine and my father's. I was intrigued to find that he had been in the
AIF at Gallipoli and the trenches of the Western Front. On enquiry to the
Australian Army, I was sent quite a lot of information on him: No. 129 Sergeant
Edward Purchase of B Sec. 3rd Field Ambulance; Wife, Louisa Purchase of
8 St Martins Rd, Dover, crossed out and replaced by 24 St Georges Road,
Fremantle, nr Southampton, Hants. I believe this was also his last address
when he died in the early 1940s. Previously he had been in the British Army
for 17 years, RAMC, so he must have joined at an early age. I have details
of his marriage that show he married at 25 years on 28 Sept 1904 to Emma
Louisa Puntis, aged 21. Father of Edward shown as Edward Purchase, Gentleman.
Father of Emma Louisa, Henry Puntis , Gentleman.
I am John Purchase, aged 71, born to Edward's son, Laurence Edward, I was
christened John Edward Joseph, although it was written as Edwin, I have
a son Andrew Edward who lives in Brisbane and is a pastor in the Potter's
House church. I also have another daughter Joanna. Another daughter Sally died
in an accident in the UK in 1985, the same year her mother, Pat, died.
I married Margaret a couple of years later. My father had a sister
Muriel who married a Cornishman, Rex Stephens, a farmer in Lostwithiel.
They had one son Robin. However, Muriel died early, just after WW2. Robin
is your 2nd cousin; also, he has married twice and has two sets of children.
More about them later. Enough for now. Are you still in Brisbane? Love to
hear from you.
John and Margaret
16 May 2006
I have found your site by typing Royal Military Asylum Chelsea into Google
(as you do when you want to find out about something!!) I wondered if
you may be able to help me, or know of anyone who can? I received my Gt Gt
Grandparents' marriage certificate this morning. They were married Sept
5th 1886. Her name was Alice Bartlett, spinster aged 22. She gave
her address as Royal Military Asylum Chelsea. Her father is deceased,
but his profession is recorded as stone mason. Do you know how
I can find out what she was doing there? She married a William Tucker,
bachelor aged 22 who was a brewer's assistant. residing in Battersea.
Any information that you can give me will be very welcome.
16 May 2006
Thanks for the contact. The most likely explanation for the presence of Alice
Bartlett at the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea, in 1886 is that she was a
member of the school staff in some capacity. She could have been employed
in the laundry, the kitchen, hospital or as a member of the school matron's
staff. A more senior position than the laundry or kitchen would seem to be
the case if she was accommodated on the premises, a nurse perhaps or nursing
assistant working in the school infirmary. If she had been in the institution
in 1881 (a census year), we might find her reported on the census return for
that year, which we do have. I am directing a copy of this response to my
colleague, Peter Goble, who might have other suggestions to help identify
what Alice might have been doing at the school. For my own part, I should
think she was employed in some capacity if not the daughter of a male member
of the school staff.
16 May 2006
Caroline, Art seems to have covered all the possibilities, with the exception
of; Sewing Mistress, piano teacher or Reading Mistress. One of the
ledgers covering the punishments meted out to the boys indicates that
the cleaning of class rooms, dining rooms the pan wash in the kitchen( as illustrated
in the Graphic magazine article), dormitories and bathrooms was all
completed by the boy's themselves. An indication of her employment
may be within the 1881 census, also after her marriage in the 1891 if
she continued in any professional employment such as Nurse, Schoolmistress,
seamstress dressmaker etc. I have yet to discover any reference to the
civilian staff at the RMA other than the census entries.
18 May 2006
Thank you both for your emails. I have had a dig further into my Alice
Bartlett's connection with the Royal Military Asylum Chelsea. She wasn't
there for 1881 census and was married in 1886, A Jane Trussler was a
witness at her marriage. She was registered at the Royal Military Asylum
Chelsea. in 1881 census. Her husband was a pensioner there (sergeant)
!891 census She was still there as a widow, and worked as a needle woman. The
other twist in the tail is that she came from Long Sutton in Somerset, the
home of William Tucker Alice's husband. So I assume as you suggested
Alice must have worked there. Perhaps Jane Trussler introduced the
young William and Alice? Who knows? Thank you again. Should you come across
Alice Bartlett at all please let me know.
18 May 2006
I am trying to trace the family of one of the boys shown on the 1891 census
as having been at the RMA. His details are: Name - George Newling; Age - about
10; Born - East Indies. Unfortunately his name does not appear on the Name
List in the RMA website so I have been unable to identify his father's name,
regiment, marriage etc. I wonder if you are able to help? Thanks
18 May 2006
Chris, The ledgers covered on the rma-searcher site, are from 1803 to
Aug 20th 1880, with the additions of the 81, 91 & 1901 census. I have
yet to transcribe the next ledger WO143.80 covering 1880 -1920. I have
photographed the ledger but, not being allowed to use a tripod, some of
the images are a bit shaky, and need to be re done. The page you require
takes the Super Wobble prize. Do not despair. He is there, entry No10053,
admitted 29th August 1890 aged 10. his father was with the 7th Regiment
of Foot, or The Northumberland Fusiliers. It is the R hand page that is
faulted. I can't make out the parents names, and he was delivered to his
parents on the 11 August 1894. Write to Lt Col R Say, Bursar, The Duke
of York's School. Dover. Kent. He's very helpful. I'm sure that if the
records have survived, a set will be sent to you. Should you be successful,
we would be pleased to know any further details.
28 May 2006
Dear Mr. Smith,
I was delighted to find the whereabouts of the above statues, as mentioned
in your web-brochure to quote:-
Outside in the square itself, we set illuminated blocks featuring local
historical images into the paving. These complement references to the
history around the site, which include an engraved map of the King’s
road from 1720 and bronze statues of 19th Century pupils from the Royal
Having seen them in the vestibule of the Duke of Yorks HQ in about 1986,
I was concerned that they may have been lost in the reuse of the site.
I trust that provision has been made for their future. because to quote
from the attached, I would hate for them to be "Just flung in a ditch" Whilst
I can appreciate, they are probably doing and admirable job at the moment-
if they are displayed. Have you given thought in the long term to bequeathing
them to the DYRMS at Dover or the Army Museum down the road. These statues
represent an era of care in the Army which cannot now be equalled.
28 May 2006
Peter, Thanks for the contact, and the attached info. I am a little
confused, Art &I researched the bronzes on display at Chelsea, and Ted Beck,
a friend took photos of them, one a boy leap-frogging over a bollard,
and the other a girl sat on a stone. Art's article appears on his web site
under "My Children" as discussed with the artist. they were cast
in 2002. I may be wrong, and would be interested in any further
detail that you can find from your source, with images for comparison.
We really appreciate your contact and letting us know of your discoveries.
When you reach the item on the Heyside Weavers, there are some terrific
images on Art's web site and a little more enlightenment of the 1830's
30 May 2006
Hello, You may like to have a look at my Barefoot & Pregnant? Irish
famine orphans in Australia/2 vols genealogical society of victoria melbourne
1991 and 2001 or order vol 2 for your library isbn 0949672 51 3 It has
information on the orphans per Pemberton to Port phillip. or have a look
30 May 2006
Trevor, Thanks for the contact. Our primary aim is to retrieve the history
of the Phoenix Park institution (its records were lost in the London blitz).
We've been helped immensely by the Genealogical Society of Ireland. In
turn, we have contributed to the Soc's research (see its Genealogical Series
No. 25 for the history edited by George O'Reilly). We are now preparing
an article on 'sources of data' for The Irish Sword. I've been
to your site at the URL reference you gave. It is well designed and attractive.
I have not succeeded in finding the SS Pemberton data. If you'd care
to make a cross-link to our data on the Irish orphans at URL www.achart.ca/hibernian/pemberton.html I'd be happy to co-operate and cross-reference the link. Also, feel free
to use any info from the RHMS site with the usual attribution of course.
17 May 2006
Iain Chalmers, Surgeon Thomas G. Balfour, resident surgeon at the Royal
Military Asylum 1848 to 1854, later became surgeon general of the British
Army. A report of Balfour's statistical clinical trial on the use of
belladonna given to prevent scarlet fever is posted at URL www.jameslindlibrary.org/trial_records/19th_Century/balfour/ [Might
I point out that the institution from which Balfour wrote his report
is incorrectly identified as The Duke of York's Asylum. In fact this
was the Royal Military Asylum (1801-1892)? The Asylum was renamed the
Duke of York's Royal Military School in 1892.] With a colleague, I am
researching and writing the history of the RMA/DYRMS. Analyzing the punishment
registers for the period, a colleague finds that an unusual number of
entries bear Balfour's name as the one reporting minor infractions of
discipline that earned those charged with excessive punishments: cuts,
stripes, time in the 'black hole' and extra drills. For an article on
Surgeon Balfour, we should like to know more about him. Do you have biographical
material on this interesting man that we might use as reference material?
17 May 2006
Thank you for your message about Thomas Graham Balfour. Deferring to
you on the matter, I’ve arranged for the Chalmers and Toth commentary
on the James Lind Library to refer to ‘the Royal Military Asylum
for soldiers’ orphans’ rather than ‘the Duke of York’s
Asylum for Soldiers’ Orphans’. My sources for the former were:
Balfour’s obituaries in the Lancet and the Edinburgh Medical Journal;
Munk’s Roll, Royal College of Physicians; and the Oxford Dictionary
of National Biography. So I trust you are right and that all of them
As far as biographical details about Balfour are concerned, by copy
of this message, I am putting you in contact with James Wood, Balfour’s
great-great-grandson, and Andy Grieve, who, like Balfour, has been a president
of the Royal Statistical Society. Last summer I introduced James and Andy
to each other and invited them to prepare a biographical piece about Balfour
for publication on the James Lind Library. I know that they have done a
fair bit of research already, but I doubt they have yet discovered Balfour’s
prescription of “cuts, stripes, days and hours confinement to the
'black hole' and extra drills” for minor infractions by the orphans
under his ‘care’.
17 May 2006
Thank you for your prompt response to my request for information. I shall
write to Messrs Wood and Grieve in my continuing search for information
on Surgeon Balfour. As regards the name of the institution, I wish to confirm
that, yes, all your sources are wrong. We (Goble and myself) have spent
the past four years researching the history of the RMA and there is no
question as to its name up to 1892 when it was renamed as I earlier stated.
The name change was confirmed by the present chairman of the board of commissioners,
Major Gen. A. L. Meier, CB, OBE, and is covered in the first volume of
the institution's history The Charity of Mars (1801-1892) pub.
Black Cat Press, 2002. This volume includes material on Dr Balfour. We
dispelled a number of myths regarding the RMA. For example, incorrect
information on the history of army education was published in two official
volumes commissioned by the Royal Army Education Corps, which I'll not
develop here. I do, however, assure you that reference to the name change
is to be found in the minutes of the board of commissioners of the RMA
17 May 2006
(To J. Wood & A. Grieve) Gentlemen, You will have received a copy
of the exchange of correspondence between Iain Chalmers and myself regarding
Surgeon Thomas G. Balfour, resident surgeon at the Royal Military Asylum,
Chelsea, from 1848 to 1857. As stated in that same correspondence, my
colleague, Peter Goble, and I are researching and writing the history
of the Asylum and its successor organisation, the Duke of York's Royal
Military School. References to our websites are to be found below. We
intend writing an article on Dr. Balfour for posting on our website.
The same material might be included in the second volume of our history
of the Duke of York's School as it is known today. I am writing to ask
a) if you could provide us with a bio sketch of Surgeon Balfour for use
in a our article, attributed of course, and b) allow us to quote appropriately
from the material on the jameslinlibrary website. From our analysis of
the punishment records of the RMA, Dr Balfour was no slouch when it came
to reporting the misdeeds and disciplinary infractions of boys of the
Asylum. For example, of 1800 boys reported and punished over a given
period, Surgeon Balfour reported 282 or about 15.5 per cent of them.
This is as high a reported number as any other member of staff over the
same period. In fact, one might say that, as the school doctor, he was
qualified to report but one boy, for failing to attend to have a dressing
changed. This leads us to wonder what sort of man was this Dr. Balfour.
Our transcription of the records also reveals an astonishing detail of
medical data on boys admitted to the military schools (the Royal Hibernian
Military School in particular, though we believe this holds true for the
RMA too): height, weight, chest measurements etc. from which it is possible
to calculate the respective body mass index (BMI) of the children; invaluable
epidemiological data I should imagine for anyone studying obesity in children.
This of course is a related subject. We have yet to discover if or what
Dr. Balfour's involvement was in the collection of such data. I look forward
to hearing from you.