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December 2007


Canadian Encyclopedia of Music
Cobourg history
Jack Nissen
John Barrett-Browne RHMS
Montreal time gun
World War I medals

Canadian Encyclopedia of Music
15 December 2007

Sir/Madam, I am researching the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea, and ever on the lookout for old boys of distinction. The article on your web site re John Bayley and his son John interests me, I would like to include details from the article on our RMA History web site. Is this possible? Full credit will be given to the Encyclopedia and your site. There is one problem, I have detail from the admission registers of all boys who passed through the RMA from 1803-1907. Several BAYLEYs are listed in the register, but no John. There are two BAILEYs one name John born 1812 and the other 1831, either could have been the father of the John BAYLEY covered in the encyclopedia. If you have details of his father, it will help to isolate and claim the correct parents and boy.

Bayley, John
John Bayley. Bandmaster, clarinetist, violinist, organist, b Windsor, England, ca 1847, d USA? 1910. His father, also John Bayley (d 1871), who was trained in Chelsea (London) at the Royal Military Asylum for boys, became a...
from the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

Peter Goble

20 December 2007

Our Reference No.: 2-63092
Mr. Goble: Thank you for your question on the entry for John Bayley in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada (EMC) and in particular about John Bayley Sr. Your question regarding use of the EMC entry has been transferred to an EMC employee who will respond to you directly. Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate further information about John Bayley Sr. such as a date of birth, that would help to confirm whether he is one of the two Royal Military Asylum old boys that you note in your email. I verified the reference sources used in the preparation of the EMC article as well as numerous musical and biographical/genealogical sources available to us to no avail.
In our online catalogue, Amicus, I found one intriguing reference to a book entitled "Reminiscences of school and army life, 1839 to 1859", by a John Arthur Bayley.  According to the record, John Arthur Bayley was born in 1831. Unfortunately Library and Archives Canada does not hold a copy of this book. The only Canadian location is the Toronto Reference Library which does not lend material via interlibrary loan. You may wish to look for British library locations for the title. The full bibliographic record is copied below for your information.
AMICUS No. 19202072 Monograph
          NAME(S):*Bayley, John Arthur, 1831-
          TITLE(S): Reminiscences of school and army life, 1839 to 1859
          PUBLISHER: [London? : s.n.], 1875.
          DESCRIPTION: vii, 206 p. ; 19 cm.
          NOTES: Privately printed.
          NUMBERS: LCCN:  15022626
          CLASSIFICATION: LC Call no.:  DS475.2.B3 A3
         SUBJECTS: Bayley, John Arthur, 1831-
                   Soldiers--Great Britain--Biography
                   India--History--19th century--Biography
Mary Bond
Client Services Division
Library and Archives Canada

20 December 2007

Miss Bond: Thank you for your response; it will be most helpful. My colleague, who lives in Canada, will no doubt be able to see the book at the Toronto Reference Library. A problem that often occurs in a soldier’s ‘attestation papers’ that includes a section headed; 'Educated at the RMA - The RHMS - or Industrial School'. The boxes have to be ticked & initialled, but the majority of researchers only see what they want to see and assume that the soldier was educated at one or all of these institutions. We often have to correct errors of false attribution when we discover the section is neither ‘ticked’ nor carries the initials of the attesting officer. We frequently correct researchers in this regard. I hope the answer in the case of John Arthur Bayley will be in the book you kindly discovered for me. The most important qualification for a student to gain entry to the RHMS or the RMA was that his (and at one time her) father must have been a soldier in the British Army for a minimum of four years. I will keep you informed.
Peter Goble

21 December 2007

Dear Peter Goble: I am in receipt of your email dated December 14, 2007 requesting permission to reproduce the article “John Bayley” by Helmut Kallmann from The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada on The Canadian Encyclopedia website.

We would be happy to give you permission to use this article on your website. As a not-for-profit foundation, Historica's interest is in seeing the encyclopedia's resources used as broadly as possible. That being said, we would appreciate your making it very clear where you got this content from and that the author of this content is Helmut Kallmann, so that users who arrive at your site understand that it is the Historica Foundation that owns, updates and hosts The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada as well as The Canadian Encyclopedia.

The copyright notice should read: Source: adapted from Helmut Kallmann, The Canadian Encyclopedia Copyright © 2007 Historica Foundation of Canada We would also appreciate it if you would add a link to our website The version of the The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada that you found on the Library and Archives Canada website is an archived copy, the articles on our website are being regularly updated.

Trish Lyon
Manager, Electronic Resources

Cobourg History

Art: Your web-site on Cobourg states:

‘Cobourg, once known as New Amherst, was renamed in honour of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha which came to the British Royal Family in 1840 with the marriage of Queen Victoria of the House of Hanover to Prince Albert, son of Ernst of said Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The only British monarch of Saxe-Coburg was King Edward VII who visited the town in 1860 when he was the Prince of Wales. Unfortunately, the town fathers, who probably blamed the chief clerk, got the name wrong and mistakenly added an 'o' to Coburg; hence the name Cobourg.’

Actually the name Cobourg for the town dates from 1819. The naming of the town is documented, but the reasoning is not. However in 1816 Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales the only child of George IV (at the time Prince of Wales) married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. In November 1817 Charlotte died in childbirth. Prince Leopold subsequently became the first King of the Belgians. The death of Princess Charlotte and her baby caused a rush to create a new successor to the British throne. As part of this effort Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, who was happily but morganatically married to Madame Saint Laurent and living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in 1818. In May 1819 their daughter Alexandrina Victoria was born. Alexandrina Victoria became Queen Victoria in 1837. Thus in 1819 it would have been possible that Cobourg was named to honour Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld except that by 1819 his wife Princess Charlotte had been dead for over a year. The town could also have been named in honour of Princess Victoria as she was also a Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.

The use of both the spellings Cobourg and Coburg for this Canadian town were common in the 19th century. The suffix ‘bourg’ was a common French spelling, as in Strasbourg or Kronenbourg, so it is possible that Cobourg was a Canadian or French spelling since at that time Cobourg was in Upper Canada which had close ties with French speaking lower Canada. All of which is long way of saying that Cobourg was not named after the Prince Consort as he didn't appear on the British scene until over 20 years later! I did enjoy your blog, so perhaps you could make a minor revision about the origins of the town's name.


Greg: You are undoubtedly right about the 1819 renaming of New Amherst to Cobourg, which a number of local historians attributed to honoring the marriage of Princess Charlotte to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield, which I accept of adequate reasoning. In short, I admit to faulty attribution here and will make a suitable correction next time I revise the entry, which might take a little time as some major changes are underway. Nevertheless, accept my thanks for the correction.


Jack Nissen
24 December 2007

Sir, I was searching the web for reference to Jack Nissen when I came across your correspondence regarding him. As a school boy I read a book of an account of the commando raid at Brunewal on the coast of Belgium where Jack Nissen was sent to investigate the German radar installation. I was reminded of this when reading the account of the photo reconnaissance flight (Evidence in Camera – Constance Babington – Smith.) to investigate what was probably the first use of a full parabolic reflector. However, what makes my experience interesting is that in 1966, in Pretoria, South Africa there was a little upper floor shop in the Burlington Arcade called Nissen’s Radio. With the brashness of youth, I walked into the shop and asked Jack Nissen if he was “The Jack Nissen.”  We spent almost an entire morning discussing his experiences around the raid and also a very prominent libel case that he had been involved in. An issue that has bothered me ever since is why a renowned radar scientist would open a small radio shop in a small city instead of plying his trade as a scientist. Somewhere in there lurks a story.

Marcus Kneen.

24 December 2007

Marcus: Thank you for your interesting letter. I got to know Jack well when writing Winning the Radar War. He was living in Thornhill, Ontario, at the time. Wishing neither to detract from your story of Jack’s involvement in the commando raid on the Brunewal radar installation nor to disillusion you about his exploits, which were many, Jack did not take part in the Brunewal raid. That was the work of Flight Sergeant C.W.H. Cox, a radar mechanic who volunteered to join a commando unit sent to raid the station. For his work and successful return with a considerable amount of German radar equipment, Cox was awarded the Military Medal.

Jack’s glory came during the Dieppe Raid in which, with an escort of Canadian troops, he was assigned to obtain equipment from the Freya 28 German radar station located on a high cliff overlooking the village of Pourville, two miles west of Dieppe. Although, for reasons not necessary to enter into here, Jack was not successful in obtaining radar equipment. he cut the telephone land lines and forced the German radar operators to broadcast data by radio communication, which told the British all they needed to know. Even so, and despite failure to penetrate the radar station, Jack had adventures and narrow escapes equal to anything from the pages of Rider Haggard’s hero Alan Quartermain and King Soloman’s Mines. 

For a long time following the end of the Second World War, the work of the scientists and technicians led by Watson-Watt, inventor of British radar, went unrecognized. This the radar group considered to be shoddy treatment and most of its members left the country for good. Jack Nissen, with others, settled in Johannesburg. Later, on account of the apartheid movement in South Africa, he moved his family to Canada. There he built a successful enterprise specialising in building scientific devices for science museums around the world to use for demonstration purposes.

Jack Nissen, who began his career in radar science as an agile ‘tower monkey’ at Bawdsey Manor in Suffolk, was indeed a remarkable man.


John Barrett-Browne RHMS
28 December 2007

Hi there: this entry on your web site caught my eye as my great grandfathers sister( Hannah Powell ) married a John Barrett Browne in 1864 - his father was John Browne and his mother ( or sister was Agnes Browne )his address at the time of marriage was RHMS , can you check with this person or send him my email address as I’m sure there is some connection

12 March 2006

Art, I hope what you read (in mailed package) is what you're looking for. A note about g-g-g-granddad John Browne (of the 'Light Brigade') who married a Barrett from Dublin. They named their son John Barrett Browne. JBB 1st is my g-g-gdd, JBB 2nd my g-gdd, JBB 3rd my dad, I'm JBB 4th, JBB 5th my son, and JBB 6th my grandson, so we've kept the name going.

29 December 2007

John: Please see this message [as quoted above] from John Powell who obviously lives in Ireland. I can’t make it out, especially with the message repeated below which doesn’t seem to have any connection with the first para. written in bold letters. As this first passage (in bold letters) is presumably from John Powell but carries no by-line I simply do not know what to make of it. For that matter, nor is the second paragraph over anyone’s by-line except that I know from its content that it had to be from you. What’s the explanation?

To what entry in my website is John Powell referring? Would he be referring to the 1837 A Military misfit, which I posted on the RHMS. In fact, as I told you long ago, the piece was accepted for publication in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. Unfortunately, these people have such a backlog of articles that it takes two to three years before they get published. I have an article coming out in the spring issue of the JSAHR that I wrote three years ago. That’s all by the way.

The question is what to do about this message from John Powell. Do you know him? I need more information from him if we’re to do any looking. Besides, as my colleague Peter Goble will confirm, that data available on the RHMS is sparse because most of its records were destroyed in the London Blitz. In any case, let me hear from you. I cannot answer John Powell unless we have more information. I know without asking that Peter will agree with me.  What does he mean by ‘can you check with this person’ WHAT PERSON? ‘or send him my email address’ WHO is MY? I certainly don’t get the connection.

Art Cockerill  

29 December 2007

[John Barrett-Browne to John Powell] Hello John, my name is John Barrett Browne 1V, I got a message (email) from my friend Art. You ask if we have a connection. I think Yes! If your Hannah died in 1868 INDIA. She had 2 children: Esther Margaret Born 28-10-1865 died 18-10-1922, Married R.G. French; and Alice Marian born 08-09-1867, died 1952 Married J. Burke. I think I have more on French & Burke it is on a 10ft Family Tree I have rolled-up at the moment. John Barrett Browne 1st, son of John Browne (I have a lot on him) & mother Margaret Barrett from Dublin. They  named the 1st boy JOHN BARRETT No 1. The name John Barrett Browne runs in every generation, we got –JBB 6th My Grandson – JBB 5th my son -- me JBB 4th -- my late Uncle JBB 3rd -- my late Granddad JBB 2nd -- (your JBB 1st Married H. Powell had 2girls. 2nd Marriage to Isabella H. White 7th Jan 1869 in India and had 11 children. I have more; too much to email. Hope to hear from you soon John (JBB3rd). PS I think I have tree on my PC somewhere. (I do have one on Genes Reunited) 


30 December 2007

John; Well what a turn up the books this is. I suppose if Hannah Powell had not died in India I would be saying hello cousin but that was not to be. John Barrett Browne married Hannah Powell on 15th July 1862 in Church Of Howth, the marriage was solemnized by W.A. Neville, Chaplin, RHMS. At the time of the marriage they both gave their addresses as Royal Hibernian Military School. John Barrett Browne gives his profession as Bandmaster 45th Reg and his father’s name as John Browne ‘Soldier’. The wedding witnesses were John Neil (Hannah Powell’s stepfather) and Agnes Brown whom I believe was a Schoolmistress in the RHMS. At the time of the Wedding Hannah’s mother Esther Powell was employed at the RHMS as a Schoolmaster’s Servant (Hopefully Peter can confirm this as the record on his web site just says schoolmasters **). I will get a better copy of the wedding certificate and post you a scan. Hannah Powell’s father was Thomas Powell who had joined the 17th Lancers at the age of 18 in 1823 and served with them for 23 years before he died in 1849. His wife Esther Powell had traveled with him and the regiment throughout the British Isles. Hannah was born in Nottingham in 1845 (her two brothers Thomas & John George were both in RHMS). I would think it most likely that John Browne and Thomas Powell (both in the 17th Lancers) knew each other and in fact I would imagine that Hannah Powell and John Barrett Browne knew each other as children. Hannah Powell’s mother Esther was still alive in 1885 when William Browne started in the RHMS; this may have had some bearing on his joining the school and I would imagine that at some stage John Barrett Browne brought his two daughters (from his marriage to Hannah Powell) to their Grandmother (maybe this is when the idea to send William to RHMS took root) in Dublin. Also interesting from my family history point of view is the fact that John George Powell (he called his second daughter Hannah, this was the only other time the name Hannah appears in our family tree) and had his son baptised in the RHMS by M.A. Neville. I have a hand written Baptismal certificate by M.A. Neville, which I think might be the only certificate from The RHMS that still exists. I also have a photograph of Esther Powell (Hannah Powell’s mother) taken in 1890s when she would have been over 70 years old. I will send a copy of this to Art so he will know that his web page has been very helpful in putting us in touch


30 December 2007

John: Thanks for sharing your e-mail to your namesake John. This proof and confirmation of relationships among the staff at the RHMS in the mid-1800s gives us a fascinating insight into the school at this time. It also helps us understand the background of William A. Browne (1875-1962) on the way to becoming the military misfit of his memoir. We would appreciate copies of any photographs of these people you might possess. Any images of the RHMS are hard to come by. Unfortunately, the images we have of William Brown are in such poor condition that it is not possible to reproduce them.


31 December 2007

I think you will find that he (John George Powell) joined RHA in 1857 and was 4th class schoolmaster ( when he was 16 ), at least that’s what he put on his enlistment papers when he joined the Grenadier Guards a couple of years later ( 18 ),Many thanks indeed for finding and confirming that Esther Powell did in fact work in RHMS and now I know that she was a resident ( Agnes Brown who could be mixed up with John Barrett Browne would now appear to be either a friend of Hannah or Esther Powell ) John Neil had no connection to the RHMS, he worked in the Viceroy’s lodge in the Phoenix Park a short walk from RHMS, Thomas Powell 17th Lancers had no connection to RHMS , he died in 1849 before his sons entered the RHMS. After John George Powell left the Grenadier Guards (he served for 3 years and 320 days, I think he was able to leave after so short a time because a new regulation, Height(?) came into effect and he had the option to transfer or leave) He became a businessman here in Dublin, Poultry & Fish, and obtained a Royal Warrant - By Appointment to the Prince Of Wales - he died in 1901 aged 60.

John (Powell)

31 December 2007

John: The trail is now becomes easier to follow. Training as a monitor took two years. It may have been undertaken at the RHMS, but it is possible that it was at the RMA. On completion of Monitor training, the boy will have been promoted to Assistant Schoolmaster and posted to a Regiment for a further two year training under a Schoolmaster. Before this move, however, he would have had to enlist for a specific length of time – 12 years. There was also a bond to be entered into. Should he have left before his the specified length of service, he had to pay this bond, a sort of compensation for the training that he had received. I would appreciate your checking his attestation papers, which will indicate just where he enlisted; a Dublin entry, then trained at the RHMS with an RMA entry, for  Chelsea capers. I have checked the available Schoolmaster Offences Registers but the name does not appear, mind you he may well have been the example that all looked up to. Neither does he appear in the WO143/47 & WO143/48 Schoolmaster letter books that cover the period of instruction to 1858  including the movement of students in training into the Normal school and posting out, dates of their enlistment, Regiment and details of their return as Assistant schoolmaster for training as Schoolmasters Class 3. Congratulations, you are the first to have so many hits within my records, and also the first Monitor I have been able to follow other than via data in the ledgers. Art will sort it all out into a readable bio. I am looking forward to the results


Montreal time gun
21 December 2007

Mr Cockerill, The One o'clock Gun Association's new website is now online: Can you tell us which year the Montreal time gun was set up? We would appreciate your help.

George Robinson
The One o'clock Gun Association
Edinburgh, Scotland 

21 December 2007


Thanks for your enquiry. Although I lived in Montreal at one time and often visited Mount Royal, I had no idea the City boasted a time gun. I must find at its location. However, I have contacts here who might be able to help - including John Moss of Halifax whose article on the Halifax gun appears on the website. I'll ask him. If John doesn't know, I'm confident that his contacts will produce an answer to your question. [John, can you provide any information on the Montreal gun and when it was set up? If you can help, you might contact George directly and copy me. Thanks!]

George, I've visited your site; very impressive, but there are a lot of time gun sites missing. Two I can think of offhand is the 100-ton Malta gun at Malta and its twin at Gibraltar. You can find the Malta gun site on the net. The URL for the Gibraltar gun is I also believe there's a time gun installed in St. Petersburg. I'm not certain of this, but I have an idea one does exist. Perhaps John (Moss) knows. He's pretty knowledgeable about these things. If you want to make a link to John's article I'm sure we can provide a link to your site. Let me know. That said, best of luck and expect further info from one or more of us.


World War I medals
24 December 2007

Peter Goble, I have recently come across some world war one medals. On the side they read R.M.A. 444,-S- Dr C.E. Holding. I am having difficulty in identifying the letters RMA .  Could they stand for Royal Military Asylum at Chelsea. Could DR Holding have worked there? Any help would be appreciated.

John Bagnall

24 December 2007

John, Thanks for the contact and an unusual request. RMA does indeed refer to the Royal Military Asylum, but the name was replaced by the Duke of York's Royal Military School in 1892. RAMC is the Royal Army Medical Corps. Many doctors were attached to Regiments. The medal rolls at the National Archives are by Regiment/Corps R.M.A The Royal Marine Artillery, again the medal rolls for this Regiment are at the Nat Archives.
R.M.A  The Royal Military Academy. This is the Officer training academy at Sandhurst.

I consider the best source will be the Royal Marine Artillery, followed closely by the RAMC Medal Rolls. The section below is from the Royal Marine Museum Web Pages Confirming the Royal Marine Artillery survived until 1923. The Royal Marine Artillery and Royal Marine Light Infantry were amalgamated on 22 June 1923 and the prefix RMA was dropped. The prefixes CH, PLY, and PO were retained though to indicate the locations of the three remaining divisions, now styled Royal Marines. The suffixes RMA and RMLI were, of course, dropped at the same time, and RM, indicating Royal Marines was substituted. The register number allocated to a rank entered at one of the divisions after the amalgamation simply followed on the last number allocated before 22 June 1923, e.g. CH12346 George Smith RMLI, CH12347 William Brown RM. All numbers of up to five figures which follow the prefixes CH, PLY or PO indicate ranks entered in the Royal Marine Light Infantry (and subsequently Royal Marines) divisions before. Season’s greetings. I wish you well with your research


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