James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

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James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby simmo » 25 Nov 2009 06:02

Hi everyone

Well here goes, I don't know much about this era but in my family tree I have come across a few people that mention something to do with the military in the records I have.
I have tried getting information from the National Archives, but each time I applied for a quote they wanted 60 pounds to do it!! So I thought I might be able to get some information from this site, as I have done at WW1 & 2 sites.

So the person I have the most information on is James Lawson
In chronological order I have

Birth abt 1821 in Lanark, Lanarkshire - from census, have not been able to find birth record
1841 (only a possible - cant prove it but fits in ) census lists him at Glasgow College at 5e Nile st with occupation Army along with 12 other males all listed same in a building with a family
1871 census has him in Lanark with family and has his occupation as Chelsea Pensioner
1872 marriage (his second-first has no note of army) has him signing as Staff Sergeant 2nd Royal Lanark Militia (widower)
1881 census at Lanark and lists him as Pensioner
1891 census same and Army Pensioner
1901 census in Lanark and noted as Pensioner-Sergeant 26th Cameronians
and his death form says Army Pensioner (1901)

I found that the 2nd Royal Lanark Militia was changed to the Cameronians in 1881 so that adds up
I would like to find out more information on him, any medals he would have been awarded and more on his regiment if possible.
I emailed the Lanark Council and they said he is buried in a grave with no headstone and the Museum has no records they could help me with.

any information appreciated

regards

Robert
Remembering all in our family who were in the service
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Re: James Lawson

Postby simmo » 25 Nov 2009 06:06

Oops forgot to mention

On 1871 census I note that some of his family were born in Ireland or West Indies, so it looks like they travelled a bit, with his regiment I presume?

thanks

Robert
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Re: James Lawson

Postby DavidB » 25 Nov 2009 12:59

Hi Robert,
In no particular order then.......

On 1871 census I note that some of his family were born in Ireland or West Indies, so it looks like they travelled a bit, with his regiment I presume?


Indeed. If you look at the GRO Army and Regimental Birth Indices (available to search on FindMyPast) then you should be able to find entries for some of the overseas births of his family and order birth certificates if you want to.

Also, have you found the death of his first wife? Possibility this happened abroad too, so check the Army Death indices at the same time.


The whereabouts of the 26th (Cameronian) Regt as follows:
1828-40 India
1840-42 China (1st Opium War)
1842-44 Scotland
1844-45 England
1845-50 Ireland
1850-53 Gibraltar
1853-59 Bermuda
1859-61 Ireland
1861-62 Scotland
1862-65 England
1865-67 India
1867-68 Abyssinia on campaign
1868-75 India (by 1871 of course you know he was a pensioner)

The 2nd Royal Lanark Militia was brought into the Cameronians regimental structure in the 1881 reforms as the 3rd Militia battalion. The militia were part-time, UK-only soldiers. Joining the permanent staff of the militia was a good way for an experienced ex-regular NCO to finish his career.
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby simmo » 26 Nov 2009 03:40

Hi amoaful73

thanks for your reply

I have not found his first wife's death so that is a possibility. I will look on Find My Past as I have a few more things to look up (my Parents and maternal Grandparents travel to here) so this will make it worthwhile.

So he spent the mid 50's in the West Indies and the late in Ireland according to your list and the births- even though he was in the Militia?
Would he have "retired?" in 1881 ? Just wondering why he would have said Cameronians on 1901 census?

Is there any way of finding any records on him?

I appreciate your help so far

regards

Robert
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby DavidB » 26 Nov 2009 09:44

So he spent the mid 50's in the West Indies and the late in Ireland according to your list and the births- even though he was in the Militia?


No, he was a regular soldier in the 26th Cameronians.
He would have joined the militia after his discharge from the regulars, whenever that was.

Would he have "retired?" in 1881 ? Just wondering why he would have said Cameronians on 1901 census?

You have him as an Army pensioner, so yes. He was about 60! :)
He put Cameronians because that was his ex-regiment, nothing more.
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby simmo » 26 Nov 2009 11:34

Hi

Thanks again for your reply

I am getting the picture now, so he was in the 26th Cameronians somewhere between 1841 and 1871 and was placed in the West Indies and Ireland at some stage then. Before or on 1871 he was noted as a Chelsea Pensioner so he was wounded? enough to get a pension out of the regular army, and he spent some time in Chelsea hospital?, but he was still capable of doing something so ended up in the 2nd Royal Lanark Militia as a Staff Sergeant, which he did until he retired and it was a part-time position.

anything else that anyone can find or add for him or his regiments would be appreciated

regards

Robert
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby DavidB » 26 Nov 2009 14:08

simmo wrote:I am getting the picture now, so he was in the 26th Cameronians somewhere between 1841 and 1871 and was placed in the West Indies and Ireland at some stage then. Before or on 1871 he was noted as a Chelsea Pensioner so he was wounded? enough to get a pension out of the regular army, and he spent some time in Chelsea hospital?, but he was still capable of doing something so ended up in the 2nd Royal Lanark Militia as a Staff Sergeant, which he did until he retired and it was a part-time position.


Robert,
1871 - listed as a Chelsea pensioner according to you. Pensioned simply as he had served his time and was discharged. No reason at all to suppose he was wounded.
In fact it's highly unlikely he was ever wounded, as the regiment served in the 1st China War 1840-42 (but James Lawson had probably only just joined the regiment in 1841 as you have him in Scotland), and then they served in the Abyssinia campaign in 1868 (by which time James was probably already out as he was aged 47-ish, and the campaign was basically bloodless anyway). Other than that, no campaign service in the period of interest, so no chance to be wounded. Just possible he was invalided out sick, but as I said above most likely just time-served.

No reason to suggest he was an in-pensioner at Chelsea hospital either. An out-pensioner living at home fits better with what you have.
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby simmo » 27 Nov 2009 01:47

Hi

Thanks for sorting that all out
Now I have a clearer picture of him
Appreciate your time

regards

Robert
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby redclover » 30 Dec 2009 22:05

With regard to the list by amoaful73 indicating the postings of the 26th (Cameronians) regiment, I gather that it would depend on whether James Lawton was attached to headquarters unit or a field unit. My wife's great grandfather was an Army pensioner in 1881, but in 1868 he was stationed as a Sergeant with the 26th Regiment in Scotland rather than being in Abyssinia. In fact his daughter was born in February 1868 with place of birth listed as Edinburgh Castle which, I believe, was the headquarters of the 26th Regiment at that time.
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby Liz » 02 Jan 2010 00:29

Robert

Redclover does have a point in that most if not all regiments maintained a handful of men at their headquarters/depot, largely for recruitment purposes. Parties of men also travelled between their depot and wherever the regiment was stationed eg. as an intake of new recruits joined the reigment, as men who had served their time retired etc... However, these activities involved only a small proportion of all the men in a regiment at any given point in time.

So while it's plausible that your man may have served at the regiment's HQ/depot (and this was often a role reserved for valued men approaching retirement age), it is likely that he spent most if not all of his career with the rest of the regiment wherever it was stationed. The places of birth you've located are certainly consistent with your man and his family having travelled overseas with the regiment on least two different postings.

Best wishes

Liz
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby simmo » 03 Jan 2010 01:57

Hi redclover and Liz

Thanks for your thoughts.
It is hard when I am over here and there is not much information to find out about what he did and I have no idea on how to find out what is available.
I appreicate your insights
Would be great to know more, but at least I have found some things out about him

regards

Robert

PS Is there any way to find out if he was awarded any medals?
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby redclover » 03 Jan 2010 14:12

Hi Simmo,

Re-reading the first post of your thread, I wonder if you are searching for James Lawson's army records in the wrong place. You mention he was with the 2nd Royal Lanark Militia which then became the Cameronians in 1881. My, limited, understanding of the situation is, that the 2nd R L Militia existed as a separate unit prior to 1881 when it was incorporated with the 26th Cameroninas and the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry, to form the Cameronians. Therefore the list of postings of the 26th Cameronians before 1881 would have no bearing on the postings of the 2nd R L Militia.

A site listing buttons and badges etc.

http://www.scottishmilitaryarticles.org ... tick20.htm

shows the 2nd R L Militia in 1854, then it was divided into 1st and 2nd battalions in 1877 and then becoming the 3rd and 4th battalions of the cameronians in 1881.
The other aspect to consider is the role played by Militias.
The following website;

http://www.scottishmilitaryarticles.org ... 1881_9.htm

describes the role of the 1st Royal Lanark Militia as that of a military reserve force mainly used for home defence, so I am not sure how much travelling such a unit would do.

I am sure that there are more knowledgeable contributors to this forum who would be able to comment on these suggestions.

Richard.
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby simmo » 04 Jan 2010 04:38

Hi Richard

Thanks for your thoughts and the links- I will look through that site

I take your points but not sure- 1871 census does list family members as being born in West Indies and Ireland and have confirmed them on Find My Past and dates match Cameronians being there.
As you said, maybe someone more knowledgable can advise.

regards

Robert
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby redclover » 04 Jan 2010 07:16

Hi Robert,

My only thought, based on the information in the web site, is that the militia unit was moved to the West Indies and later Ireland for defence duties, replacing regular army units which were moved to the Crimea or other theatres of war. This would have James Lawson still attached to the 2nd Royal Lanark Militia rather than the 26th Cameronians.

Richard.
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Re: James LAWSON b1821 26th Cameronians/2nd Royal Lanark Militia

Postby Liz » 05 Jan 2010 02:30

Redclover's suggestion is interesting but I can't think of any militia unit raised in Great Britain that actually served overseas during this period, even on garrison duty. If anybody has evidence to the contrary, please post the details or provide the link to where you have done so. There are some parts of the forum I follow more closely than others :D.

In the meantime, Amaoful's suggestion that James was an army full timer who became a militia part timer is very plausible, not to mention consistent with the 'career path' of many other individuals discussed elsewhere on this forum.

Robert, once again, all the best. Do let us know what you dig up even if it takes you a few months or years... Liz
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