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October 2006


Good conduct medals
Kitchener House
Queen's Army Schoolmistresses
Royal Hibernian Military School
Royal Military Asylum

Good Conduct Medals

6 October 2006

I have recently found the DYRMS web site. I attended Kitchener house between age eleven and sixteen before 34 years service in the Army followed by 15 years service as a retired officer with the RAF Reserve. One section of your site deals with the Royal Military Asylum medal for Good Conduct. Your valuation for this medal of £400-£450 is from the Medals Yearbook 2004, revised to £100-£150. At a recent Morton & Eden (incorporating Sotheby's) auction on 24-25 May 2006, a RMA GC medal sold for £240 (lot number 257). This was named to T.LEONARD.

I have two (2) Good Conduct medals to the Duke of Yorks Royal Military School, identical to the RMA medal except for the inscription around the obverse. Although I collect miniature medals I obtained these DYRMS full size medals via postal auctions. Both medals are silver; one is on a red ribbon, without a pin clasp. On the rim, it is inscribed to 'BOY CLERK. R.H.G. CHILD. C COMPANY.'  The second medal is fitted with a suspension pin clasp on a green ribbon and still in its 'B NINNES (Goldsmith) HYTHE' box. For some reason, the naming has been erased reducing the size of the medal rim. (A practise normally used to rename a medal in order add value to an existing 'ordinary' group, by making it out to be something else).

In December 2001 I corresponded with the school Bursar Lt Col R Say (he would have been the Adjutant in my day) who informed me that: The DYRMS Good Conduct medal is still awarded annually to two pupils for their overall contribution to the school. It is awarded as a bronze and silver medallion, the silver normally to the Chief School Prefect (CSP).

I trust that this added information is of interest to you.

Ian Lawrance

6 October 2006

Ian, Thanks for your message; most interesting. [The CCs are to fellow Dukies who work with me on our history site – one doing the research, the other offering pithy comments, but I'll not say which is which!] I say interesting because we've just had another e-mail in from a non-Dukie correspondent on the same subject. What surprises me is to learn that two GCMs are awarded. I should imagine there's an even split between the sexes with girls now in the school. What's more, they probably swap around year by year – all very PC I'm sure. Can you tell me if the medals you have are dated for the year of issue? In any case, this is important information if ever we update the article on the GCM. I don't think they were awarded in my day. I don't know about Peter or Brian's experience. Perhaps they'll say.

Kitchener House

6 October 2006


Join the club. The reference to the goats: as said, I & two others were goatherders, with the shed down on the left of the parade ground; oddly enough only about 100 yards from Doidy Bean’s house. The feed was kept in the room directly behind the swimming pool facing the parade ground. That same room was where I became addicted to the weed. One draw & then cough. But I gave that all up on reaching 55 years. As you may see, both Art & Peter are the "planning & engineering" of the research machine. Lacking an understanding of the intricacies of research, I act and am tolerated as the court jester - just.


7 October 2006

Thank you for your replies to my e-mail, although I think Brian was also replying to something else! Although undated, the medals that I hold are substantial, military-looking pieces, that in no way could be described as medallions. I believe that they are modelled on the Victorian Army LS&GC medal. They have scroll, swivelling suspensions that were introduced on the Army LS&GC medal in 1855 and discontinued in 1920. whether this has any bearing or not on the school medal, I do not know. The use of a green ribbon on one medal, I also do not understand, although since the pin attachment clasp is present, I must presume it to be genuine.

On a lighter note, I see that Brian claims to have been the school goat handler! If memory serves me correctly, if one looked down the parade square the school 'farm' or 'domestic science' area was on the lower, right hand side. I have the distinction of being 'beaten' (on one of several occasions) following Headmasters 'Orders' for burning the haystack down!

Finally, I appear in the 1953 photograph of Kitchener house wearing two Good Conduct stripes, although I have no memory of these. GC stripes were a pre-war army badge which were intermittently revived in regiments of the post war army from time to time, although the pay for them was not! The last time I recall seeing them worn was by the 1st Battalion The Queen's Regiment on Public Duties in London, 1971.


Ian, I am amazed, yet again, Kitchener is to the fore. We must have met; I was the 'Intermediate' of the three that were at the school in the 50s. Len the younger would have been there in 53, & Roy left in 1953, I in 52. From the information gleaned from the Bursar, Roy, as CSP; will have been awarded the medal. It has never been mentioned, nor was I told by a delighted mother, he may have committed some crime or other. Thanks for the contact, I did try to find you in my data base, but technically I'm not allowed to store data on persons born before 1906. You don't appear in the Discharge Ledger. WO143/26. I'm in, as is Art and Brian. Perhaps the clerical staff of that time decided the exercise was superfluous to needs.


Queen's Army Schoolmistresses

3 October 2006

Art, I served in the RAEC from 1961 to 1985, at no time did I come across any QASs. Indeed we knew very little about them, I think that since the RAEC had a supervisory role with children’s schools that they are seen as a task and not a corps in their own right. As a result, so far as I know, no history of the QAS has been written. This is a shame because they were a very fine body of women with a tremendous reputation. Their records were deposited in the old RAEC museum thirty or more years ago. (I have been to the RAEC museum, I was not overly impressed because the history of the 4 corps which comprise the AGC has been treated as one. And not all the RAEC material was there - for example the RHMS stuff was at Worthy Down for some reason).

I do know a little about the QAS. They staffed the infant schools in the days of empire. They were supervised by the AEC. The name QAS was given to them in 1927, and they served a year at home for every year abroad.. According to Wayper in his Mars and Minerva, there were 137 overseas and 202 at home in 1925, and in 1938 there were 175 overseas and 202 at home.

The end of the war and the retreat from empire saw their demise. After the war the army schools at home went to the local LEA, and the Services Children’s Education Authority took over running the services schools abroad. The inability to serve at home and abroad then  saw the QAS cease recruiting and I think the last QAS retired in the late 60s or early 70s. They would come to RAEC functions but not much effort was made to understand their history and to make them really welcome. An exception to this was the late Colonel Tony Naylor who befriended many of them in London District and when he moved as CEO to South East District in Aldershot, they joined the Aldershot branch of the Corps Association because Tony not only ran good parties but made them feel very welcome.

I hope this helps. Someone who might be able to help you further is Colonel Roy Fairclough, 40 Lock Chase, Blackheath, London SE3 9HA. Roy is a very helpful guy, he would not mind an approach from you, mention my name by all means - I was once his staff officer and I think the world of him. I don't know if he is on email.


4 October 3006

Ivan, It was jolly decent of you to give me Colonel Fairclough's address. I have written to him – having first checked Murray Wayper's Mar and Minerva book – in the hope he can tell me something about the schoolmistress formation. What might be new to you is the fact that Beryl, my first wife, was an army schoolmistress in Cyprus and Tel el Kebir, Egypt.

How interesting too are your remarks on the RAEC museum. When I was there in 1982 Brig. Sheen was the curator and a more helpful fellow I could not hope to meet. It was he who warned me about Gleig and pointed out the contradiction with respect to his article (c1857) in the Edinburgh Review in which he had written about seeing boys of the RMA walking about with logs chained to their wrists. However, that again is another issue. I am disappointed with the poor response from the museum these days. Ian Bailey excepted, they do little to assist us.

I hope you'll read Mabel Bottle's account when it comes out; beautifully written by a careful observer of social and military life wherever she went: Dublin, Jamaica, Cyprus, Palestine, et al. Good reading. You'll also note that I wasn't over-enthused with Wayper's Mars and Minerva book. He had a long and distinguished career as an advisor on military education and at Fitzpatrick, Cambridge, but his record of early army education was sadly lacking. He relied too much on White's book, which was equally lacking in research of original sources. I'm afraid I ticked off your RAEC Association with some things I wrote on the subject. I do, however, believe that it is not enough to ignore readily available primary sources on so important a subject. Neither White nor Wayper bothered with them – although Mars & Minerva is well written for the most part and I’ll write as much in a revised review of the work for posting on the web shortly. FYI, here's what I wrote to Col. Fairclough.

Royal Hibernian Military School

5 October 2006

Peter. Once again, I would like to thank you for identifying where my grandfather (Mills/Royal Hibernian School ) was born, which in turn has subsequently led to 1. Securing his birth certificate and full identification (with service papers) of his father (also called Archibald George), a Corporal in the Royal Engineers, who attented the sister RMA school. I find quite fascinating ... unusual may be? ... a father and son should have attended such twin schools. His service record has proved a fascinating read. He spent a considerable part of his service life overseas in Egypt (and entitled to Egypt Medal with The Nile 1884-5 clasp and Khedive Star), Malta and Bermuda. He collected his LSGC medal after 18 years when he resigned from the RE on the 28th August 1897. We have still to establish date of his death and whereabouts. I have a feeling it was in Ireland, because his Mother is listed as next of kin in his service records as living in Dublin. 2. Whilst RMA records indicated G Grandfather's father, at the time of entering the school, had been a Sgt in the RE, it transpired (after a great deal of research work) he had actually been a Sgt in the Army of the India's Honorable East India Company's Madras Sappers & Miners! GG Grandfather William Mills was born in 1840 in Rochdale. His father was a farmer with 10 acres and a general pedlar!) He signed up to join the Army of HEIC for 12 years at Liverpool on 2nd March 1859. He sailed out to India on the Ellenborough to Fort St George Madras (now Chennai). Within a few years of arrival he married an English lass (Anne Hopkins) who had herself been born in India. They had two children. Archibald George the son being the eldest. Sadly, in 1869 William (aged 33, now a Sgt) becomes gravely ill in Secunderabad and dies on 5th September 1873 of a brain tumour. I should add further research in hand.
I have read Art's excellent, scholarly book The Charity of Mars twice ... and have frequently been into your great RMA Chelsea Admission ledgers, looking at all sorts of fascinating bits of pieces related to a pile of medals I have long had in my possession to see if anything of interest turns up in this arena! Finally, I bought one of the earliest engravings of the RMA (circa 1820 ) for family interest plus an excellent coloured engraving of 1860 of Fort St George Madras where William began his service life at this time with the Madras Sappers and Miners. I still hold out hopes some RHMS material could be tucked away somewhere in the family, but the time is not right to delve further at this juncture. Finally, thanks again for all your help.


6 October 2006

Gee that was a prompt response with usual great assistance advice. Firstly, I have very a good friend, ex RE with a superb RE medal collection. Before he buys a medal he really does do his homework. When looking (not so long back) at the RMA registers relating to two Widgery brothers who went to the RMA (and he has both their later LSGC medals) he stated " ... a volume I picked up had numerous entry's ( boy's offences at the Asylum ) for my Widgery Boys but also featured Archie ...

17th March 1878 8033 Boy A Mills 4 on the hand  
9th April 8033 Boy A Mills Fined 1d  
20th May 8033 Boy A Mills Fined 1/2d and 5 on hand  
26th June 9033 A Mills 4 on the hand

which makes me think he's lucky didn't lose a hand !... But Archie's misdemeanours were apparently nowhere near the worst! Interestingly, the elder brother James Widgery was a Cpl in C Company as Archie was a boy in the same Company ... another, to me, amazing little bittle of history. I will certainly send a letter to the Bursar at the Duke of York's School Dover along the lines you kindly suggested (and will copy you in). Have great weekend when it arrives!


Glad to help, especially as the saga goes continues with you sending me information I don't have. Earlier in the year I photographed all the punishment ledgers bar the WO143 57, yes sods law strikes again, the one I need is missing. The data you sent will prove most informative re the fines. The fine of 1/2d is quite severe, the pay received was a penny per Good Conduct Stripe, with extra for the NCOs. It will give me something to look forward to analysing this ledger. For your RE Searcher, I have attached the 4 WIDGERY boy entrants, two, the brothers, are his, the other two, well someone must love then.

6 October 2006

Tony, The plot thickens. It now goes from a scrap of paper to almost a tome. You have certainly put in some research to discover all that you have. You must now write to :- The Bursar: Lt Col R Say: The Duke of York's School, Dover: CT15 5 EQ Give all the detail re Archibald senior at the RMA, and most importantly state your relationship to him. Records have been found to 1868; I am quite confident that his are still extant. If they are, then full details of his Father & mother will be there, His Regiment etc. My children laughed when they saw my certificate to show I didn't wet the bed!, but keep that to yourself please. I note that he was admitted in 1876. If you are at the Records office. Kew, and you have time to spare, check out WO143-57 Boys Offences 1876-1877. I can't guarantee that he is entered there, but in transcribing 1854, ¾ of the boys there had an entry. The worst so far is a boy called Sanders, 43 misdemeanors in 23 months. Art & I have just completed an item on the punishment ledger, so check in say Monday next, the item is on the ledgers and even though I say it myself, humerous and interesting. Thanks for keeping me informed of your progress.


6 October 2006

Peter. Thanks for kind email. I'll email my mate this weekend (hopefully) and ask whether he's been looking also at all the 4 Widgerys. I'm also wondering whether among his many RE medals he has bought and researched, there are others who may have been at the RMA or RHMS, which may be of interest to Art and you.


6 October 2006

I have been searching for two people who attended the RHMS yet I can't find their names in the lists on the website. Their names are: John Edward Keith, born about 1869 William Keith, born about 1875. I found their discharge papers (both joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers) at Kew and those records state that the both attended the RHMS. Any thoughts? Any advice? Is it worth me going to Kew to check through the records there?
Best wishes and thank you in advance,

Shona McIsaac

6 October 2006

Shona, Thank you for the contact. Unfortunately the name does not appear at all, in the three ledgers that I have access to. WO143/27 An alphabetic index 1840 - 1919, that has been copied from the original Admissions ledger WO153/78 An Alphabetic index of admissions 1847 to 1877 WO143/79 An alphabetic index 1877-1907. If your John Edward & William KEITH had been admitted They should have appeared Edward in either  & William in the 79. This is assuming that the birthday is correct. Admissions are noted between the ages of 7 & 11. The detail in this ledger can be searched by Birthday, date of admission, there are several K names but not KEITH.
If your claim is based on information gleaned from his attestation papers where there is a  PRINTED line Educated at the RMA Educated at the RHMS. Then this 'Printed line should have an ink entry, possibly "Yes" or a tick. This is a catch-all statistical question, for each year the Army statistics branch reconciled the numbers. If I am wrong, then please supply the source of your info & I will do my utmost to correct the omissions

7 October 2006

Thanks for the reply - much appreciated. Yes, the info I have is from attestation papers when the John Edward and William joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The dates of birth I have given are based on these forms. When John Edward joins the next of kin are given as his mother, Margaret, younger brother, William and sister Victoria Louisa. The forms did have the school names typed in. I'll check them to see if they are ticked or marked in some way. Another reason why I thought they attended the schools is that both John Edward and William had tattoos listed as distinguishing marks on their attestation papers when they joined the RIF and the description of the tattoos are that of the crests of rhms and dyrms.

I'll get back to you once I have checked the forms again.

7 October 2006

Shona, I omitted to say that I had also checked the RMA, There are no KEITH entries.
If you have the boys' attestation papers, it is highly probable that they were not at the RHMS if; they are aged greater than 14 on enlistment. Most boys from the RHMS & The RMA volunteered to their Regiment at this age. Not to be completely stumped. It is also possible that the boy's father had died or been killed in action or on duty. This poses the question if so, did their mother remarry and the boys changed their name to their new Step father. The criteria for entry could then have been allowed on the Step father's Military records. It is a simple task to search the record by birth year, showing the possible William admits that had been born in 1869. It may jolt a memory if a name has been seen before. I can't be absolutely accurate without a date of birth. I await your review of the attestation papers.

Royal Miltary Asylum

3 October 2006

Hello, a son of my gr gr grandfather was at the RMA in the 1891 census, and his name appears in the Statistics file for this census on the rma-researcher web site. Unfortunately he isn't listed in the name index there. I'd be interested to know if you do have the details for him that would appear in this index. His name was Archibald McInnes, born Ireland 1877, hence aged 14 in the 1891 census; father was John McInnes, deceased 1886, ex-Royal Engineers (enlisted 1855 as a Sapper).
Ian Thirlwell

3 October 2006

Ian, You have spotted my deliberate error. I originally intended to transcribe to Aug 20th 1880. This data is that displayed on the net, I then added the Census to 1901.
Consequently, admissions after 1880 do not appear on my web site. I am still working on the follow on ledger, 1880 to 1919.  The good news is that I have passed Archibald McINNIS and am nearing completion, with just the recheck to complete. The details re your relative are attached as a PDF file.


9 October 2006

Hi There, I wonder if you can help me I am looking for details of my great uncles, William Edward Chapman born 7 Nov 1894, Charles Chapman born 29 Sept 1898, and Harry born 1900, there parents were Charles Chapman and Mary Ann Eliza Chapman. I think they may have gone to the Duke of York Military School in Dover, I do know that their father was deceased at the time they entered the School, their mother may have remarried a Joseph Berry by then. I would love to know about their military details if you could find out for me that would be lovely

9 October 2006

Elizabeth, Attached as pdf are the details of two CHAPMAN'S that fit the bill. I have transcribed Harry as Henry, the writing is difficult to read; please confirm that Harry is correct. The Regiment is shown as the Buffs. Their correct name is the Royal East Kent Regt. Immortalised with the phrase, 'Steady the Buffs". Throughout the ledger, the father's & mother's entries indicate whether they were alive or dead at the date of admission. That is with the exception of the pages covering admissions for 1900-1903
Write to Lt, Col R Say. Bursar, The Duke of York's School, Dover, Kent. CT15 5EQ with as much detail as you have re. the two boys: their father, Mother, Date of birth, date of admission, and, most importantly, your relationship to them. i.e. Great uncles. The school holds some records. I am sure that those of the 1900 era have survived. These will confirm if the father was alive at the date of admission, plus other interesting information perhaps.
If you have an image of the boys in the DYRMS Uniform, a copy would be appreciated.
Peter Goble

12 October 2006

(See September correspondence) Just to let you know the following. I emailed the Headmaster at the RMA in Dover, Kent as you suggested and received a reply. They have documents for my Catherine's brother, William James Prigg. They are posting all they have on him for a small donation. As for Catherine and her father, there is nothing held at their archives and the lady can only guess that they have been lost over time. Catherine's father John was indeed one of the first to be admitted into the RMA. Thank you again for all your help.
Richard Lang

26 October 2006

Art, Thanks for all this interesting info on Dan Kirwan. I did have a look at all the articles and will read and digest for the future. Hm, interesting that Dan has his roots in Wexford! Wexford is in the South East of Ireland. Dublin is North about 60 miles, with Wicklow in between. Mark's family are from the Ballybeg area of Wexford and he has all his roots back to mid 1700's and that is because they were tenant farmers on the same farm and eventually bought the farm in the mid 1920's. He always went to the farm for his holidays and we still visit every other year as the farm is still Kirwan property. However, there is a village close to Ballybeg whose name I have forgotten for now where a Daniel Kirwan is buried with all his family, but the Ballybeg Kirwans are not sure whether they are related or not! As a name, Kirwan comes from Galway back to about 1200 and prior to that is a French connection. Obviously at some time some of these Kirwans came to the South East of Ireland, which has always traditionally been a more prosperous part of Ireland. Mark cannot find that missing link, but we seem to have got back to a Kirwan in Carnew not far from Ballybeg about 1790ish. Why we wondered about the Daniel in this other village is because Ireland is well known for its naming pattern of children and one of Mark's great uncles was a Daniel Kirwan that found his way to Liverpool and then to Australia during the gold rush and married into a family in Mossman ending up in Townsville/Mackay. One of his sons did well for himself and has a part of Townsville named after him! so there is Kirwan's Hospital, Kirwans High School and so on. I was very amused when we went there and took all these Kirwan pictures! We have met up with most of the Australian side. He has no knowledge of American Kirwans and can't yet hook into the Rugby Kirwans of New Zealand, though I have no doubt he would be overjoyed if he could!! Believe me there are thousands of Kirwans everywhere.
As for me I am looking for O'Neills in the States!! Have recently found a good nest of cousins in Albany NY, courtesy of the internet and have visited. We are trying to help each other now but O'Neill is a big headache though I am back to 1798 in Tipperary! Not bad for Ireland.
Thanks once again for your time and help. Oh nearly forgot to tell you. Peter not only came up trumps with Frank Noble and the RMA but I also remembered that a William Noble who was 4 years older than Frank was also a soldier and guess where he started his army career, yes at RMA, so aren't I the lucky one. Sadly, he could find no mention of the other 2 brothers but 2 in one family is not bad going. Also, I think both Frank and William died during First W War so maybe it was just as well that father Daniel did not put all his sons to soldiering. I have all this to research. Mark does his own family history. I cannot cope with both sides. There is just too much.
Regards Janet

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