Born c.1819, said to have in the parish of St. Peter's, Brighton, but Censuses 1861, 1871, 1881, and an obituary state that it was in Lambeth, Surrey (i.e. South London).
Enlisted at Maidstone on the 11th of June 1838.
No other enlistment details are shown.
Deserted from Edinburgh, 14th of October 1850. At this time he was described as 5' 10" in height, with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. He had a scar under the right ear.
[PB: Lawrence Crider reports Richard Frazier was at Coventry in all 3 Musters of the January-March (i.e 1st) quarter of 1854. During the 2nd quarter, he was at Hampton Court 1st Muster, aboard Negociator 2nd Muster, and On Outpost Duty 3rd Muster. In the 3rd quarter he was listed as Sick, absent to Scutari 22nd November 1854, 3 days in Regt or General Hospital. He was in Crimea all 3 Musters of the 2nd and 3rd quarters 1855. Promoted to Corporal 11-25-55. In the 4th quarter of 1855 he was at Eupatoria 1st Muster, aboard Jason 2nd Muster, To England 12-15-55 [55-4-4, 5] (In Search.., p.352.)]
Sent sick to Scutari on the 22nd of November 1854 and invalided to England on the 25th of February 1855.
From Private to Corporal, 23rd of November 1855.
The following gives an insight into Richard Frazier's life shortly after the return from the Crimea. [Summarise — a rare insight into adultery and attempted murder in the regiment.]
Extracts from Trewman's Exeter Flying Post for the 15th of May and the 19th of June 1856:
Castle Court. — "A young soldier named Moorson [sic] was charged with attempting to murder a corporal of his regiment, Richard Frazer, by shooting at him with a loaded carbine. When the prisoner committed the offence he was handed over to the civil authority by the Colonel of the regiment. Subsequently some correspondence took place between him and the General of the District, General Eden, as to whether the man should be tried under the Mutiny Act or by a Civil Court. The result was that the General commended the Colonel of the 13th Dragoons for handing over the prisoner to the civil power and recommended that he should be tried by a civil court.
Richard Frazer. — I am a Corporal in the 13th Light Dragoons, which is now stationed at Topsham Barracks. George Moorson is a private in the same regiment. On Thursday the 8th of May I was going round the stables turning out the men for riding when I heard a shot fired. I turned round and saw the prisoner about three or four yards from me. He had a carbine in his hand and the muzzle was pointed towards me and I saw some smoke which appeared to be coming from the muzzle. I turned round and said, "Halloa, What is the matter." He made out to me, "This is for you". He then took the muzzle of the carbine in his two hands, and ran towards me making as if he were going to strike me with the butt of it. I walked away and called some of the other soldiers towards me. I had not spoken to the prisoner that morning.
Prisoner — Frazer, how did you come to live with my wife. I did not mean to hurt him. It was only a blank cartridge in it.
Re-examined. I cannot say the carbine was loaded with ball.
Sergeant Major John Mulcahy — Between 8 and 9 o'clock on Thursday I heard the report of a carbine being discharged and turning round saw smoke coming from the muzzle of a carbine held by the prisoner. I saw Corporal Frazer running away from the prisoner, who was following him and holding the carbine by the muzzle. I took the carbine from him and placed him in confinement.
Sergeant Horatio Lambert — I was orderly sergeant of the troop at Dorchester last week and the day previous to the march on the 29th of April all the men were served out with ten rounds of ball ammunition. They had no occasion to use any of that since then. I searched the prisoner at about 9 o'clock on Thursday morning after he was in custody. I found his package of ammunition undone and one round deficient.
Private William Grove. — On Thursday morning I was in the barrack yard and saw the prisoner with a carbine which he had evidently just fired, in his hand. I heard the report previously. He was running towards the Corporal. The prisoner, who declined to say anything in his defence, was then fully committed to take his trial at the Assizes.
Exeter Assizes. — Shooting by a soldier under great provocation.
George Moorson, aged 22 and a private in the 13th Dragoons was charged with shooting at Corporal Frazer, a corporal in the same regiment with intent to murder him. The second count was based on an attempt to do him grevious bodily harm. Mr. Coleridge prosecuted and Mr. Carter defended the prisoner. It appears that the prosecutor was a corporal and the defendant a private in the 13th Dragoons, which regiment was formerly stationed in the Topsham Barracks near this city.
On the morning of the 8th of May the prosecutor was going the rounds of the stables to turn out the men for riding, when he heard a shot fired. On looking round he saw the prisoner with a carbine in his hands standing about four yards away from him and smoke was coming out of the weapon. The prosecutor asked the prisoner what the matter was, and he replied "That's for you", and ran towards him and attempted to strike him with the butt end of the carbine.
On cross examination the prisoner stated that he had an idea that the corporal was being intimate with a "party" but was not an eye-witness of it. He had never given any offence to him that he was aware of. Mr Carter having addressed the jury for the defence, and his Lordship having summed up, the jury retired for consultation, and after some time found the prisoner guilty on the second count. His Lordship then adjourned the case until the following morning in order to make enquiries into the circumstances of the case before sentencing him.
On Friday morning an old woman named Potter who keeps a lodging-house in the city stated that on the 3rd of May the corporal and a woman came to her house and took lodgings. On the 7th of May the prisoner came there in the evening and claimed the woman was his wife, informing the witness that he had been married to her three or four years. The prisoner then invited her to come and live with him, telling her that if she would forsake the corporal he would still live with her. She refused, upon which the prisoner gave her a blow in the mouth. She said "Why did you serve me so when you know the way I am in." Witness said that she would thank them to leave her house, upon which the prisoner left and the woman left also.
After that the corporal came and witness asked him how he could think of bringing another man's wife to her house. He said that "If he met the prisoner he would kill him", and if not, "He would drill him well in the morning."
His Lordship then asked Corporal Frazer if he had anything to say for this and he did not deny it. His Lordship then said he thought yesterday that the conduct of the prisoner was inexplicable excepting upon the supposition that there had been some dispute in the regiment, an event perhaps, of a trifling nature. From the appearance of the prisoner he had no idea that he was a married man, and now he perceived that the prisoner had received the greatest provocation one man could receive from another, and he believed that if a man killed another in the act of adultery with his wife, in the eyes of the law it would not be murder.
In sentencing the prisoner, he (the learned Judge) must consider the feelings under which he was actuated. Such a thing was not to be tolerated in that a superior in a regiment should declare in reference to his inferior with whose wife he has been intimate, that he would "drill him well for this in the morning." If officers were allowed to tyrannise over men because they would not submit to adultery with their wives, it would indeed be a shocking state of things. He was sure the laws of this country would not allow it to exist. It would not be permitted if the wives of privates were to be prostitutes for their superiors. Still, the offence of shooting in this case could not be allowed as there were other remedies for such cases besides violent acts.
He did not mean however, to inflict punishment upon the prisoner but he must enter into his own recognisances and not to be guilty of any further violence, or if he did commit any further acts of violence he would be brought up and punished for this offence. In conclusion, his Lordship thought the circumstances of this case out to be ought to be communicated to the officers with a view to taking of taking some steps in the regiment so that such an incident would not occur again. The prisoner then entered into such recognisances and was discharged.
Extract from an unknown, undated copy of the Naval and Military Gazette:
On Thursday week, Private George Mawson, 13th Hussars, who arrived at Exeter from the Crimea with his regiment on the Saturday previous, discharged a loaded carbine at Corporal Richard Frazer at the Topsham Barracks. It is supposed he was excited by a fit of jealousy. He was taken to the Court prison under an armed escort, brought before R.S. Goad, Esq., at the Castle and remanded for a decision by General Eden, Commanding the District as to whether he should be tried by Court-martial under the Mutiny Act or tried by the Civil Authorities.
There was no further comment in the Gazette, but the muster rolls for the period shows that George Mawson had enlisted in October 1855 as No. 2018. He was in the custody of the Civil Power at Exeter from the 10th of May to the 16th of July 1856, transferred to the Military Train on the 31st of October but was returned to his former regiment on the 22nd of November 1856, in the Guard room as a prisoner from the 23rd of November to the 15th of December 1855 and in the District Military Prison from the 16th of December until his discharge "as a consequence of the Reduction of the Army", on the 31st of March 1857.
Corporal to Sergeant, 31st of December 1857.
Reduced to Private by a Regimental Court-martial on the 10th of December 1859.
Discharged from Edinburgh on the 21st of February 1860, "Free, at own request after 21 years service."
Served 21 years 8 months. (Six months of this service were, for some unrecorded reason, disallowed.)
In Turkey and the Crimea, 1 year 7 months.
Aged 41 years on discharge. Conduct and character: "good."
Awarded a pension of 8d. per day.
Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol.
Hamlet of Easton, Portland.
Richard Frazer, 41, Prison Officer, born Lambeth.
Ann Frazer, 32, born Lillington, Sussex
[PB: There is no Lillington in Sussex. But could be Litlington or Lullington, both in the Cuckmere Valley].
Parkhurst Prison, Isle of Wight.
Richard Frazer, 50, Warder, born Lambeth.
Ann Frazer, 42, born Upperton.
Maryann Frazer, 9, born Portland.
Convict Prison Quarters, Parkhurst, Carisbrooke, I.O.W.
Richard Frazer, 60, PI Warder in the Convict Service, born in Lambeth, Surrey.
Ann Frazer, 52, wife of a PI Warder, born Upperton, Sussex.
Mary Frazer, 19, Dressmaker, born Portland.
The stating of his place of birth as Lambeth, Surrey, confirms that he was indeed born in London.
Extract from The Regiment, 24th October 1896:
A Balaclava Hero
On the other side of the Tweed, in the village of Forres resides one of the few remaining survivors of the gallant Six Hundred and the pride and glory of the British Empire and the wonder of nations.
The hero is Mr. R. Frazer, formerly a sergeant of the 13th Light Dragoons, (now Hussars) who has reached the ripe old age of 77 years. He has the reputation of being an intelligent, unassuming man, but although his certificates of character and conduct from his regiment have been laid before the authorities at the War Office, he has received, up to the present, no recognition from the Government of the land he fought so nobly for in the Crimean campaign. It appears that he only served in the army for fourteen years, which according to the regulations of the period, would debar him from any claim to a regular pension.
(See copy of a newspaper report taken from the Aberdeen Journal of an unknown date, and also a picture of him, in the 13th Hussar file.)
Richard Frazier died on the 3rd of March 1897
Extract from the Army and Navy Gazette, March 1897:
"Sergeant Richard Frazer [sic] a survivor of the "600" has recently died at the Victoria Hotel, Forres. The owner of the hotel took a kindly interest in the old man and housed and fed him. Frazer, at the age of 22, joined the Depot at Maidstone when the Regiment was in India, later joining his regiment at Canterbury and serving in it for 14 years [sic]. On leaving the service he got an appointment as a warder in a convict settlement, a post he held for twenty years and for which he received a Government pension on his retirement, He was close on 78 years of age when he died, and had resided at Forres for about 9 months. He was buried with military honours by the 3rd Volunteer Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders."
Extract from the St. Ninian Express for the 13th of March 1897:
Forres — Death of a Crimean Hero — On Saturday afternoon (the 6th) the remains of Sergeant Richard Frazer, 13th Light Dragoons, and who took part in the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, were interred in the Cluny Hill Cemetery with full military honours, in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators.
See also report of his funeral taken from the Forres and Elgin Gazette, 10th of March 1897, in the 13th Hussar file.
Aberdeen Journal, 4th of March 1897:
Aberdeen Journal, 8th of March 1897:
Military Funeral at Forres
Sergeant R. Frazer. The remains of Sergeant Richard Frazer, 13th Light Dragoons, who served throughout the Crimean campaign, were interred with military honours at Cluny Hill Cemetery. The deceased had gathered around him a great deal of respect since taking up his residence here some nine months ago. The Balaclava veteran had received every attention during his last days, Mr and Mrs. Carter doing all that was possible to make for his comfort and keep him happy during the last three months of his life. He had numerous visitors who came to see him at the Victoria Hotel in Forres and was always deeply grateful for the interest taken in him and the kindness shown to him by the people who came his way, and the authorities willingly fell in with the proposal that the old hero, who 42 years ago had ridden back from the jaws of death, should be buried with military honours.
A firing party was present, and the coffin, which was wrapped in a Union Jack, on which lay the deceased's medals and clasps, was carried shoulder-high by relays of men of the 3rd. V.B. Seaforth Highlanders (Morayshire) of whom, including the firing party, close on 70 were present. The officers present were Lieut. Col. Uquahart, Major Gramead and Lieuts. Taylor, Sutherland and Mackintosh.
Behind the coffin was a charger carrying boots reversed, and the mournful procession wound its way along Bridge Street from the Victoria Hotel, along the High Street and St. Leonard's Road to the Cluny Hill Cemetery. It was witnessed by hundreds on route, both sides of the streets being lined with people and many of the shops drew their blinds. There was a large attendance of the general public and the service was a most impressive one. The band played the Dead March from "Saul" and the pipes "The Land of the Leal" and "Flowers of the Forest."
The burial service was read by the Revd. Stair Douglas, incumbent of St. John's, Forres, and after the coffin had been lowered the firing party fired three volleys over the coffin. The chief mourner was a son-in-law of the deceased and the pall bearers were six non-commissioned officers of the Morayshire Volunteers.
No headstone was erected over his grave (Layer 28/22) in Cluny Hill Cemetery.
(There is a photograph of his grave area in the 13th Hussar file.)
Census information for 1861 & 1871 kindly provided by Chris Poole.