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1315, Sergeant Benjamin Burton NAGLE — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born in Swansea, Glamorgan, c.1826.


Enlisted at Dublin on the 2nd of January 1847.

Age: 21.

Height: 5' 10".

Trade: None.

Appearance: Fresh complexion. Hazel eyes. Lt. brown hair.


From Private to Corporal: 2nd of June 1851.

Corporal to Sergeant: 16th of October 1854.

Appointed to Troop Sergeant Major on the 14th of August 1861.

Promoted to Quarter-master Sergeant on the 20th of November 1867.

Discharge & pension

Discharged from Leeds on the 20th of June 1871, at "Own request, after 24 years' service."

Served 24 years 23 days.

In Turkey and the Crimea: 2 years.

Canada, 2 years 10 months.

Conduct: "very good." Would be in possession of five Good Conduct badges if not promoted.

Six times entered in the Regimental Defaulters' book. Twice tried by Court-martial.

Tried by a Regimental Court-martial and imprisoned 25th of July — 6th of September 1850, and again 1st of October — 27th of December 1850.

Awarded a pension of 2/3d. per day.

To live in Halifax, Yorkshire, after discharge, and was still there in 1875.

He was in receipt of an allowance of 1d. per day for "good swordsmanship" during his service.

An un-dated Memorandum was sent to Lieut. General Sir J.Y. Scarlett KCB requesting him:

"To be so good enough as to send the name of one Non-Commissioned Officer of the Cavalry Division, of the highest character and intelligence to be appointed Qr Master in the Land Transport Corps — By Order, W.L. Pakenham, A.G."

The Commanding Officer of the 13th Light Dragoons replied:

"Camp near Balaclava,

Sept. 24th 1855.

Sir, — In accordance with Brigade Order of the 27th Ult. I have the honour to recommend Sergt. Benjamin Nagle of the Regiment under my Command for the Appointment of QuarterMaster in the Land Transport Corps.

I beg to state that he has performed the Duty of Asst. QuarterMaster in the Corps for about 3 months and possesses a good knowledge of the French Language.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your Most obdt. Svt.

(Signed) Jno Docherty Lt. Col,

Commanding 13th Light Dragoons."

Benjamin Nagle is mentioned by Trumpeter Harry Powell in his "Recollections": "Corporal Nagle could speak French like a native." According to him, Nagle rode in the Charge as a Corporal.

From Brigade Orders, Eupatoria, dated the 29th of November 1855:

"Sergeant Nagle, 13th Light Dragoons (who will act as interpreter), one Corporal and four men of the 12th Lancers, will parade at 8 a.m. in Field-order, and accompany the wagons carrying one day's provisions, cooked."

He sent money from the Crimea to a "Mdlle. Poisson" at No. 16 Bartholomew Place, Kentish Town, London, and the Married Roll of the Regiment shows him as having been on this since the 10th of May 1859, his wife's name being Mary Ann.

There were no recorded children in the family.


Documents confirm the award of the Crimean medal with four clasps and the Turkish Medal.

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

Awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct medal on the 19th of August 1871, with a gratuity of £5.


Death & burial

His death, aged 47 years, is shown in the GRO records during the April-June Quarter of 1876.

Extract from the Halifax Courier, 22nd of April 1876:

"Death. April 19th, in his 48th year, Mr. R. [sic] B. Nagle, of Union Street, South, late permanent Sergeant of the "A" Troop, 2nd West Yorkshire Yeomanry Cavalry and formerly of the 13th Hussars, second son of the late Mr. James R. Nagle of Garnaville, County Tipperary, and Aglish, County Waterford."

Extract from the Halifax Courier, 29th of April 1876:

"Military funeral at Stoney Royd Cemetery. — Our obituary column last week contained the name of Mr. R. B. Nagle of Union Street, South, late permanent sergeant of "A" Troop, 2nd West Yorks Yeomanry Cavalry, and formerly of the 13th Hussars. Sergeant Nagle died at the Infirmary on the 19th inst., where he had undergone an operation for cancer of the tongue.

The funeral took place on Monday afternoon with military honours and it is very rare indeed that so many people are seen in the Cemetery as on that occasion. As the body was at the Infirmary the funeral procession was first formed in Harrison-road and Carlton-street, the following being the order — First came the firing party under the command of Captain and Adjutant Johnson [This was 1300 ex-Sergeant Thomas G. Johnson of the 13th L.D.] consisting of one Sergeant, one corporal and 18 privates of the Halifax squadron. Then followed the band and the hearse, after which was led the deceased's horse with the boots and spurs reversed. Two mourning coaches contained the sergeant's relatives and following these were many of his personal friends, on foot. Then came about 120 members of the regiment, added to whom were representatives of the staff pensioners, the 6th West Yorks Rifle Volunteers, the officers present in uniform being Captains G.F. Edwards, A.H. Edwards, and Johnson, Adjutant, but there were several others in undress.

The route to the Cemetery was by way of Harrison-road and Prescot-street, the procession thus passing the very end of the street where the sergeant had lived. The band played the mournful sounds of the Dead March in "Saul," and the streets all along the route were thickly lined with spectators.

At the Cemetery thousands of persons had assembled and the spectacle was evidently regarded as one of uncommon interest. The deceased was to be buried according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, and the body was met near the chapel by the Revd. J. Geary, priest of St. Marie's. Over the coffin was flung a Union Jack, upon which were the helmet and sword of the deceased. The pall-bearers were three of the permanent staff sergeant's of the regiment, named Gibson (Bradford) Roxborough (Huddersfield) and Dashington ("A" Troop, Halifax) the fourth being Sergeant R. Garforth, who served during the Mutiny with the Carabiniers.

In addition to the relatives and friends of the deceased, only a small number of people were admitted to the chapel, where, at the conclusion of the service, a statement was made by the priest, which has occasioned some considerable surprise. He said — The worthy man before you had been a good soldier and obedient to the discipline of the Army but he had made a mistake in his life by joining a secret society condemned by the church. During his last illness however, he had signed a paper which had authorised him (the priest) to read. This he did. The paper certified that the deceased gave up Freemasonry as a society condemned by the Church...

The procession was then reformed, and the body was borne to the Roman Catholic ground in the upper part of the cemetery, where it was placed in a new grave. The coffin, draped in black, had a brass plate upon it bearing the simple report of Nagle's death in his 48th year.

The service being completed, three volleys were fired over the grave under the direction of Sergeant Patmore, and thus the ceremony ended. Some thousands of people had assembled around the grave, and many took the opportunity of looking upon the last resting-place of the gallant soldier. The weather had not been altogether fine so far, but now the rain began to fall heavily and the crowd soon dispersed. The procession returned to the Riding School, where the men were dismissed."

According to the records of Stoney Royd Cemetery he was interred in Grave No. 32 Section K. The grave contains only the one body and is in a vaulted brick grave purchased by Mr. Arthur Hancock Edwards, of Ash Grove, Elland, near Halifax. (Arthur Hancock Edwards was a Captain in the 2nd West Yorkshire Yeomanry Cavalry.) No headstone was erected over the grave. The funeral took place on the 24th of April 1876, where he was shown as the son of James Richard and Mary Ann Nagle.

There is a photograph of his grave-area in the 13th Hussar file. This is situated in the centre of the picture and by 1989 was completely covered in shrubbery.

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