Sir, I am a member of a Dutch living history group. In real life a teacher and with much interest in the AEC during WW2. I just found out that there were "Queen's Army Schoolmistresses". My daughter is also a teacher and member of our living history group. We are wondering, did the Q.A.S wear uniforms like the men of the AEC? I do have an officer's service dress of the A.E.C. dated WW2 Did perhaps the women use A.T.S. uniforms with A.E.C buttons and cap badge on their service dress? I'll hope you can provide me with any information about the QAS. Thanks in advance,
Marco, The use of Army schoolmistresses in the British Army originated in the early 19th Century. Mrs Bold, the wife of a Sergeant Bold was the first schoolmistress of whom there is a record, although teaching was her occupation before to took over supervision the 'Infant Asylum' founded (c1798) by General George Hewett on the Isle of Wight. Later, under the supervision of a commandant, she took charge of the Southampton Branch of the Royal Military Asylum, which combined the female orphans and the infants Asylum from the IOW.
Army schoolmistresses were officially recognized and 'put on [military] strength' in 1848. The formation was renamed the Queen's Army Schoolmistresses in 1928 although, as I said, they were employed in some military units as far back as the early 19th Century. They were disbanded in 1970. I have one photograph of a regimental school (c1898) showing the schoolmistress and assistant of the 48th Foot if this is of interest to you.
To my knowledge, Army schoolmistresses wore civilian dress and did not at any time wear a uniform, that of the ATS or otherwise. At least, the schoolmistresses I knew during my military service all wore civilian dress.
I do have the memoir of a member of the QAS, dealing with her service and travels in the first half of the 20th Century. You are welcome to an electronic copy of this account if you wish. I also have a book The Charity of Mars, which is a history of the Royal Military Asylum (1801-1892). This deals generally with army education, but not particularly with the QAS. This, however, might be beyond your interest in the subject. Copies are available from my colleague, resident in the UK.
|royal Hibernian Military School
18 January 2009
I believe my father George Green and his twin brother William Green were pupils of the school about 1910. They were born in 1901. I remember visiting Phoenix Park in the 1950's with my father and him telling me that it was where he went to school. I would like to find out more about the history of the school and it's pupils and would appreciate any feedback available
Paula Service (Australia)
18 January 2009
Paula, Your brick wall is now three foot thicker. Attached PDF shows all detail that is available for the Green Brothers. The bulk of the archived material was lost in 1940, an air raid and subsequent fire at records in London. From the information available, I can state that the boys were not at the school for the 1911 Census. The 'withdrawn' column has also been used to indicate that they were discharged in Aug 1916.
My web site is at www.rhms-searcher.co.uk. Sorry I can't more helpful, but I have transcribed all the available Hibernian records. There are some Hiberninan Magazines at the Duke of York's School, and also at the National Archives, Kew, but this will involve paying someone to skip through with no guarantee of success. Articles in one I have seen cover leavers, short stories & poems written by the boys, sports and medal winners etc.
14 December 2008
[see December 2008 correspondence continuing]
Art, Thanks for the prompt reply. I managed to get to the PRO at Kew the year before last and traced my William Hitchcock (born circa 1763) as follows:
He joined the 19th Light Dragoons in Maidstone in 1796, (he was formerly a Master Tailor) with a date of Attestation of 5 Oct 1796 (WO12/10591) and appears in the Muster Rolls at the Cavalry Depot at Maidstone from 1796 to June 24th 1807.(WO12/10592/10593). It is interesting to note that during this period (he was a private) he was the only one from each quarter who did not "embark" anywhere and at one stage there was only him and one sergeant shown in the pay books for a particular quarter! In June 1807 he was stationed in Northampton and in September of the same year became Sergeant under Capt. St George Tuille (spelling may not be correct as it was hard to read). It was during 1808 while still in Northampton that he was 'confined for debt' and reduced to a private and was on reduced or no pay. He was paid again Sept to Oct of 1808 and in December moved to Norwich. The first quarter of 1809 he was in Romford, the second quarter in Norwich, then Ireland firstly Philipstown & Longford, then Tullamore. 1810 - end of March 1812 he was in Tullamore, then Clonmelle and from June 1812 in Dublin. The first quarter of 1813 he is shown in Dublin and from March 1813 he was in Cork, where he died in May of that year. From PRO records WO25/283 it states that he was born in St Michael, Warwick in 1763, was a tailor prior to joining the 19th Light Dragoons in 1796. He was enlisted by Lieut Banger and described as 5'4 with a fresh complexion, hazel eyes, brown hair, form of visage was "long" !!
I don't know if any of the above is of interest to you, but thought I'd let you know what I had 'so far'. I took photographs of some of the muster rolls so therefore have some information on others who served with him and if it is of any use to use I can type them up and send the information? Would you be able to give me the address of the Town Records office you mentioned in your e-mail? and also do you know the name of the barracks in Northampton?
12 December 2008
Suzanne, Thanks for the detail. I don't want to put you to excessive work, but if you do have time to send me a copy of the data you took from the muster rolls I'd be much obliged. For your continuing research regarding the time Wm Hitchcock spent in the Northampton debtor's slammer, I recommend that you first write to the Northampton Records Office and enquire if they hold court records for that period [I doubt if they'll do a search for you free of cost; that is something you can inquired about]. The address is:
Northamptonshire Record Office
Wootton Hall Park
Northampton, NN4 8BQ
Tel: 01604 762129
As far as I recall, the Northampton barracks of the 48th Foot (Northamptonshire Regiment) were known simply as 'The Depot'. They were located on - no surprise here - Barrack (or Barracks) Road, off Regent Square. They might no longer exist, but the road will still be there. A useful contact on the history of Northampton could be Alan J. Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to mention my name. He is a helpful contact.
20 January 2009
Hello, Can I firstly say what a wonderful website you have and its thanks to people like you who are willing to put this information together that people like myself can begin to put their history together. I am contacting you with regard to my great-great-grandmother Ann Maria Caroline Vanpine. She was admitted to the RMA as a 10 year old back in 1821. She was discharged 4 years later in 1825 to Samuel Oldknow to be a cotton spinner. It was here that she met my great-great-grandfather Henry Roe Wigley. Now on her marriage certificate it states her name as Ann Maria Caroline Vanpine and on her gravestone her middle name Caroline is spelt in capitals, so I presume that is the name she went by, Henry became a teacher and they ran a school together and I have a photograph of them, She was a small lady with very dark hair and dark skin. I wondered if you can help, I understand you are inundated with messages like mine, but I feel you are the only one to turn to, you have Ann registered as Ann C M Vanpain, admitted 12/05/1821, aged 10 and discharged 12/01/1825. Her father was called John as far as I know he was a soldier in the 60th regiment of foot and her mother was called Ann. Could you please help with more details of her admittance. Was her mother Jamaican or just posted there while her husband was elsewhere? Why was Ann admitted to the RMA? What happened to her mother did she come with her? There was talk of her having a brother known as "Jimmie" but I can't find him. All these questions are what I need help with to move forward. I noticed. It does state you have no further details of what happened to the cotton spinners once they left. Well I can tell you a lot about Ann's life after she left the RMA and would be very glad to let you have this information. You may be able to help with her life whilst she was there. I also often wondered if there may be record of her passage to England from Jamaica and why she was sponsored. Was it because her father had died, and how and why etc? Thanks very much for reading my message and I really am very grateful if you can help, Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you,
Helen Roberts (nee Wigley)
20 January 2009
Helen, Thank you for making my day. Your letter made exciting reading. My colleague (Peter Goble), others and I have been researching, writing and working on the story of the 'cotton apprentices'. If you have read all that is published on the www.achart.ca and www.rma-searcher.co.uk websites you will know that we have the Heyside Cotton weavers, Samuel Oldknow and others in our sights. The story of the plight of these children, girls and boys, deserves all the exposure we can give it, particularly regarding the work of Oldknow who, to quote Ibsen, was a 'pillar of society' in his day and highly regarded, even today, by historians of the communities of Mellor and Marple [for example, see www.marple-uk.com/Oldknow1.htm ]. We would be most interested in anything you can tell us about your g-g-grandmother Ann Maria Caroline Vanpine and a copy of any photographs you have of her and her husband. This might make a significant and interesting addition to our history of the RMA, Chelsea - certainly as evidence that not all these cotton apprentices finished living broken and miserable lives. We for our part might be have information on her and her parents that you do not have. For this reason I am sending a cc of this response to Peter Goble and Ms Jean Stone [Jean worked on an important history of Cressbrook, another cotton spinning community]. I look forward to hearing from you.
21 January 2009
Thank you for your quick reply, I am as excited as you because I am really pleased to share the story of my g-g-grandmother. My dad's cousin Joyce Winfield should really take the credit as she has been researching our family history for years and has done countless hours of research for our family history including letters back and forth to Jamaica for information about Ann, but with no success, I have looked at your website many times and found the admission register etc but have never thought about contacting you until now. Ann Maria Caroline Vanpine was my g-g-grandmother. She entered the RMA in 1821. Her father, John, is listed as dead and mother Ann alive. John was a soldier in 6th of the 60th regiment, The Royal Americans, sent to Jamaica. He was European, possibly German. We know that Ann was sent to Mellor, Derbyshire, as a cotton apprentice to Samuel Oldknow. I was raised about a mile from Mellor and know it well. Ann married my g-g-grandfather. Henry Roe Wigley. in 1834. Henry worked at the cotton mill, which is where he must have met Ann. Henry eventually became a foreman at the mill. He and Ann moved from Marple, Cheshire, to Mellor into a house built by Samuel Oldknow for his workers in Red Row, which still stand.
Thanks for your time and interest.
24 January 2009
Helen, Sorry for the delay in answering your letter. Other matters intervened. Thanks for the summary of what you know of your g-g-grandmother. It makes interesting reading. Perhaps we can supplement what you have written. First, however, it would be better to mail photographs and documents to Peter Goble who has scanning equipment and will return your documents to you. I get the impression that you think Ann Vanine's mother was Jamaican. That's possible. Peter has said that she could have been a 'daughter of the regiment', born to her father when his regiment was in Jamaica. Battalions sent overseas were limited to the number of families allowed to accompany them. Families were limited to six per company. However, it occasionally happened that children born 'on station', but not on the strength of the regiment, but were bona fide children of the regiment. In these cases their parents were legitimately married because, from the beginning of the RMA (1803) children born out of wedlock were not accepted for admission. As Mary Ann was admitted it not only follows that her parents were married, but her father had to have had a good service record, applications for admission had to come from the soldier's commanding officer. Competition for entry was fierce and, in the 1820s I should think. More applications were rejected than accepted, in a ratio of about six rejections to one admission. We can therefore say that Ann's case was one deserving of the army's charity. Peter has suggested - and I agree - that, failing to make a connection with Ann's mother's forebears in the U.K. either you or your cousin Joyce might check with the Genealogical Society of Jamaica. That might be a good line of enquiry. Ann's admission papers for the Royal Military Asylum would provide a good deal more information on her father's service - and possibly her mother's - provided these are forthcoming from the Bursar. I Hope this helps and I look forward to seeing and reading what you have to offer.
|Sir Percy Sillitoe and the Glasgow gangs
12 January 2009
Andrew, Thanks for your note and good wishes for 2009. Since we corresponded in 2003, Richard Sillitoe, sadly, has died. His father's scrapbook, papers and the family album went his niece, Ms Rosemary Rudland whose contact address is [contact information provided].
Much has happened since we last corresponded, not the least of which was the discovery that Sir P sired a now-thriving family of African Sillitoes. I have for some time been trying to help them piece together their family history. The significance of this revelation is that, in connection with Sir P's grandson, Harry Sillitoe, there has been some connection with a number of the 'white' Sillitoes including Ms Rudland, granddaughter of Percy Sillitoe through his daughter Audrey.
Unfortunately, contact with Ms Rudland and other members of her branch of the family - in her case, for information regarding the family papers and photographs - has been non-productive. In fact, at least one member of the clan has been, to say the least, plain racist. Whether Ms Rudland, who professes a background in journalism, is motivated by such feelings or is simply being a dog in a manger re the family papers is hard to say. I just don't know.
You might have more luck winkling information out of Ms Rudland than either I or the African Sillitoes have had. You can but put questions of the Glasgow gangs to her. For my part, as I am open with everyone and merely say what I think without malicious intent, I am addressing a copy of this response to Ms Rudland.
Ms Rudland is the best lead I can offer you, Andrew, so I wish you luck with your quest. I presume that you have researched the Glasgow, Sheffield (much gang-related data there) and the Home Office archives [see NA, Kew].
Lastly, I should reiterate what I wrote earlier, but now of significance. This relates to the question of copyright. To repeat, you are free to use anything in my biography or on the web with the usual attribution. This because it is my copyright to offer info to you. When your book is published, please tell me. I'll get a copy; nor do I expect a freebie. Authors have enough problems without scattering free copies hither and thither.
12 January 2008
Art, Thanks very much for your kind e-mail below, from our correspondence back in the summer of 2003. I am now (belatedly) writing up my academic book on the Glasgow gangs of the 1920s and 1930s. You mentioned in your e-mail that it is possible that copies of the McGlinchey papers (compiled as part of your research for the biography of Sir Percy Sillitoe) might be in the possession of the Sillitoe family. If you are in contact with them, might it be possible to find out if they do indeed hold copies of the papers, and/or any related newspaper cuttings? I'd love to read them if it is possible to track the papers down after all these years. I have been working on the Glasgow gangs on and off since the mid-1990s and have amassed a vast collection of press cuttings, plus associated court records from the National Archives of Scotland. I've also been trawling through the registers of Barlinnie Prison to gather information on gang members' occupations, religious affiliations, and so on. Billy Fullerton - leader of the "Billy Boys" and subject of a very interesting account by Sir Percy - emerges as a key figure in the story. Fullerton published an account of his days as leader of the gang in a newspaper some time before 7 May 1932 - I have a reference to the article from that date, but have so far been unable to find it, despite a long time searching ... If the Sillitoe family does hold any papers or cuttings from the 1930s, it would be great to check if the article is in their collection. If you are able to help in this search, I'd be deeply grateful. I would of course be happy to e-mail one of the family members, or send a letter to them, myself to explain my project more fully if that would seem appropriate.
Andrew (Davies, University of Liverpool, UK)
[10 July 2003 Letter referenced above]
12 January 2009
Andrew, You are welcome to make what use you wish of material from my biography of Sir Percy Sillitoe. It's a good 25 years or more ago since I wrote the book, so I'm now writing from memory. First, I vaguely recall the McGlinchey papers and I did make a copy of them for my files. These I had until we moved to new accommodation last year when, unfortunately I jettisoned them as being of little interest to Canadian universities. To my knowledge, Richard Sillitoe is alive and well and lives in East York in the Toronto area, so you at least had his location right. He would be your 'person of interest' to contact. I haven't spoken to him in 25 years. Recently, however - within the past eight months that is - an Ottawa journalist writing a book on the diamond business and the socio-political influence of corporate business visited me seeking information on her subject. She mentioned en passant that she had contacted Richard and was on her way to interview him. He was in good health. If I can be of further help to you I expect you'll contact me. Meanwhile, accept this as make use of the Sillitoe material as you wish. You might note this preferred e-mail address. I maintain the email@example.com address only for the web page material and correspondence that comes from visitors to that site. Please keep me posted on the publication of your book.
14 January 2008
Andrew, I read your Glasgow's 'Reign of Terror' analysis of the streets gangs of the 1920s and 30s with considerable satisfaction and, I must admit, a degree of astonishment. That said because it is perfectly obvious from your account that Sillitoe's claim to have tamed the street gangs has been much inflated - as much by me as by his own account. In short, an enjoyable paper, which harbours well for your coming book. [Oh yes! I understand the 'police courts' now; should have Googled that before I wrote.]
21 January 2008
Art, Thanks for your e-mail - that's really kind of you. I must admit that I was keen to dissect some of Sillitoe's claims in Cloak without Dagger. His account is endlessly recycled by journalists and true crime writers in Glasgow, and in effect serves as the "offical" version of events, so it is worth challenging.
With regard to your biography - which I found extremely useful in the formative stage of my research and still cite - I have always been intrigued by the notion that Sillitoe threatened to have gangsters sent to asylums rather than prisons. I find that believable, but perhaps not surprisingly have not been able to find any documentary evidence for it. Am I right in thinking that the claim was uncovered by James McGlinchey in his conversations with former police officers? The obvious target for such tactics would have been Billy Fullerton, leader of the Billy Boys, and he did go to sea for a time in the mid-1930s (effectively abdicating his East End fiefdom for several months). So I might refer to this, albeit speculatively, in my manuscript.