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LIVES OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
The E.J. Boys Archive

Amended 18.5.2011. Minor edits 17.2.2014.

1264, Private Alfred HOOK — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born in the parish of Holy Trinity, Clapham, London, on the 20th of July 1826, the second son of James Hook, a bricklayer, and his wife, Mary-Anne (nee Newson). His parents were married on the 25th of August 1822 at the church of St. George the Martyr, Southwark, London.

Editor's note: Other children shown in the 1841 Census were Robert aged 15, Esther 12, and Thomas aged 5. The family lived at Clapham.

Enlistment

Enlisted into the 41st Foot (Welsh Regiment) on the 16th of January 1845. Regtl. No. 1834.

Age: 17.

Height: 5' 7".

Trade: Groom.

Appearance: Sallow complexion. Grey eyes. Brown hair.

Service

Transferred to the 13th Light Dragoons on the 1st of June 1846.

Sent to Scutari (no date shown, but the muster taken on the 31st of December 1854 shows him as being at Scutari) and rejoined the regiment on the 11th of May 1855.

Was batman to Major Tremayne in the Crimea. He is shown on a Nominal Roll dated the 9th of November 1855, as being On Duty at Scutari from the 4th of November 1855. From this it would appear he did not serve in Eupatoria with the regiment.

Returned to England on the 5th of February 1856 with Major Tremayne's horses (the Major himself having gone to England on leave in December of 1855) and was on the Depot roll at Dorchester from the 5th of March.

He was again shown as being batman to Major Tremayne, attached to the 4th Dragoon-Guards, at Aldershot Camp from the 1st of April 1858 — 30th of June 1859.

Discharge & pension

Discharged from York on the 10th of August 1869, "Free, at own request, after 24 years' service."

Served 24 years 204 days. In Turkey and the Crimea, 1 year 7 months.

Conduct: "very good." In possession of five Good Conduct badges.

Ten times entered in the Regimental Defaulter's book. Never tried by Court-martial.

Granted a pension of 1/1d. per day.

Medals

Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman, and Sebastopol and the Turkish medal.

Documents confirm the award of the Crimean medal with four clasps, Turkish Medal and the Long Service & Good Conduct medal with a gratuity of £5.

Awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct medal on the 2nd of February 1866, with a gratuity of £5.

Further detailed medal information archived.

Commemorations

Life after service

To live at No. 5 Portpool Lane, Holborn, London, after discharge (this was next-door to a brother, Thomas, who was employed in the brewery trade), but he was living in the Canterbury Pension District from the 1st of November 1869.

RM: The 1871 census shows him as a "Pensioner and Servant" living at St Martin's Hill, Northgate Canterbury. He was living in the household of Edward Munns, the "retired Prinicpal Barrack Master of Ireland". Hook's wife Isabella, aged 36, born Scotland, is also shown.

Death & burial

Died at Canterbury on the 27th of April 1874 and was buried in St. Martin's churchyard on the 30th, at the age of 45 years, the service being conducted by the Revd. Alfred B. Strettell. Whether or not a this was a private grave or if a headstone was originally erected cannot now be proven, but the grave-site must have been taken over at some time as a present headstone bears a date in 1955.

Further Information

In 1994, a Mrs. Ward, living in Ontario, Canada, wrote that she was seeking information on the possible whereabouts of Alfred Hook's medals. In the course of several years of research on the Hook family she had found through a military researcher service that her great-grandfather, Newson Hook, had served in the 58th Foot and that his brothers, Robert and Alfred Hook, had both served in the 13th Light Dragoons, the former dying at Hounslow Barracks at the age of 27 in 1852.

Alfred Hook is said to have married a Scottish girl named Isabella, but she did not know just when, or her maiden name. The Piershill (Scotland) Census Returns for 1851 lists both him and his brother Robert as being "Private soldiers", "Un-married", and born at Clapham, England. That for Jock's Lodge, South Leith, Midlothian, (1861) shows Alfred, again as a "Private soldier", aged 31 and his wife, Isabella, aged 26 and born in Edinburgh. and that for Canterbury (1871) shows him as aged 42, a domestic servant, and his wife, Isabella, born in Edinburgh, she also as a domestic servant and aged 36. None of the Census returns list any children for the couple. When in Canterbury the couple had lived in the St. Martin's Hill area of the City and Alfred had died, aged 45, a Domestic servant, in the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, "Hepatic Dropsy and Exhaustion", being given as the cause of his death. His wife was said to have died in 1917, whilst in the Infirmary of Canterbury Workhouse. (She is now known to have died on the 15th of August 1917, aged 82 years, from "Senile decay.") She was recorded as "Widow of Alfred Hook, a Private, 13th Hussars". She was not buried with her husband, this being most probably in the City Cemetery. (See copies of death certificates for both in the 13th Hussar file.)

(With reference to his marriage to a Scottish girl, the regiment was stationed in Scotland from the 4th of October 1859 and occupying barracks at Piershill, near Edinburgh, and Hamilton. The regiment stayed in Scotland, the Troops alternating between the various stations, until, between the 15th of April and the 6th of May 1861, all were in Preston and Bury. He had been at the Canterbury Cavalry Depot from the 11th of September 1866, whilst the regiment was in Canada, and rejoined it at York in July of 1869. He is not shown on the Regtl. "Married roll" either when at Canterbury or on his discharge. Professional research was made by the family to find a marriage certificate in Scotland, the General Index showing no trace of any Hook marriage from 1861 back to 1855, but without success. This, supported by the fact that nothing can be found in any military records of one in England) does rather raise the question if there ever was one, at least officially and with the benefit of clergy. Was it perhaps a "Gretna Green" marriage?)

His brother Robert (also born in Holy Trinity Parish at Clapham, London) on the 14th of December 1823) and the first son of James Hook, a bricklayer, and his wife, Mary-Anne, (nee Newson) had enlisted into the 13th L.D. on the 30th of October 1843 at the age of 18 and with the regimental number of 1187. His trade was also that of a groom. Promoted to Cpl. on the 31st of January 1852, he died (the cause of death being "Hoemoplysis. Certified.") at Hounslow on the 17th of August 1852. His "credits" of £1/3/4èd. were handed over to his brother, Alfred Hook, 13th Light Dragoons. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Leonard's at Heston on the 20th of August 1852 at the age of 27 years. (See copy of his death certificate in the 13th Hussar file.)

Newson Hook was born at Clapham on the 4th of August 1841 and enlisted as No. 562 into the 58th Foot at Westminster on the 4th of August 1859 at the age of 18 years. He was a labourer by trade. On the 11th of March 1864 he purchased his discharge at Newry, Ireland, for the sum of £20 under the authority of the Adjutant General's Office at Dublin, dated the 7th of March 1864, his conduct being classed as "Very good" and being in possession of one G.C badge. (See copy of his discharge document in the 13th Hussar file.) He intended to live at Clapham, Surrey, but after marrying Mary Pentney Knight at Battersea in June of 1866 emigrated to Canada in May of 1870. Here he died on the 20th of March 1926. It was his fourth child, Alfred George. who became the grandfather of Mrs. Jo-Anne Ward. A portrait exists in the family of him dressed in the uniform of a colour-sergeant of the 58th Foot, something which he never was and probably an example of "studio-props" and a desire to impress. (See copy of this in the 13th Hussar file). Two other pictures (one said to have been taken at Frazer and Anderson's Studio, High Street, Perth (which opened for business in 1851) and another with no indication on the reverse, exist, and either one of those pictured could be Alfred or Robert Hook.

Their parents, James Hook, a bricklayer, died in 1849 of "T.B." and his wife, Mary Ann (nee Newson) re-marrying a the following year.


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