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Further information added 27.3.12. Most recent additions 28.1.2013, 30.3.2014, 22.11.14.

1228, Trumpeter Harry POWELL - 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born in Bangalore, India, on the 8th of March 1830, the son of Corporal Thomas Powell of the 13th Light Dragoons and his European (lawfully married) wife, Elizabeth.

He was christened Henry William Powell at Bangalore on the 30th of April 1830 by the Revd. W. Malkins.

For more about his family background, see below: Further information.


Enlisted at Cahir, Ireland, on the 30th of June 1846.

Age: 15 years 10 months.

Height, 5' 4".

Trade: None.


Embarked for the Crimea aboard the H. T. "Mary Anne" on the 19th of April 1854.

Participated in the "Soreback Reconnaissance", which he later wrote in detail about in his Recollections [see below].

Rode as a Trumpeter and was slightly wounded in action at Balaclava, also having his horse shot from under him.

Promoted to Corporal on the 10th of December 1855.

Discharge & pension

Discharged, "by purchase", from Cahir on the 19th of September 1856.

Service to count: 8 years 174 days.

Conduct: "very good". In possession of one G.C. badge.

He sent money home from the Crimea to his mother Ellen [sic] Powell, then living at 1, Donn [probably Down] Place, King Street, Hammersmith, London.

Medals & commemorations

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

Member of the Balaclava Commemoration Society in 1879.

Photograph of Harry Powell provided by his grandson, Mr. Lawrence Powell. (Copy in the 13th Hussar file).

Life after service

Marriage registered

Henry Powell [sic] married Anne Budd [sic], December Quarter 1859, Oxford.

They had six surviving children between 1860 and 1881:

Harry William, 1860-1932: Schoolmaster, Organist and Botanist.

Frank Whitlock, 1865-1929: Butler. Emigrated to Canada.

Dora Jane, 1868-1943.

Arthur Thomas, 1870-1951: Schoolmaster.

Albert Edward, 1872-1925: Saddler. Emigrated to Canada.

Lawrence Fitzroy, 1881-1975: Lexicographer, Librarian and Literary Editor.

A daughter, Anne Jane, died in infancy.

1861 Census

Stafford Place, Westminster.

Harry Powell, 31, Servant, born Bangalore, East Indies.

Ann, 22, born Oxford.

Henry, 9 months, born Brompton.

1871 Census

1, Cowley Road, Cowley, Oxon.

Harry's occupation is shown as "Butler, Domestic Servant". His wife Anne is also shown, as well as sons Henry and Frank and daughter Dora. [RM]

1881 Census

5 Longford Terrace, Folkestone, Kent.

Harry Powell was living in the home of Harriet A. Graham, a Peer's Daughter, as a Butler (one of four Domestic Servants), married, aged 57, born in Bangalore, East Indies.

Also from the 1881 Census Return his wife (named as Annie) is shown as living at 235, Cowley Road, Oxford, Head of Household, no occupation, aged 42, born in the Parish of St. Aldate's, Oxford, with two of their known children, Arthur Thomas, aged 10, and Albert Edward, aged 8, both children having been born at Cowley.

Birth Registered.

Lawrence Fitzroy Powell, September Quarter 1881, Headington.

Signed photograph of Harry Powell taken in older age, provided by Mrs Jean Powell from Canada. She wrote in a contact made in January 2006: "My husband is descended from his son Frank Whitlock Powell. Frank and his wife emigrated to Canada in the early 1900s so most contact with the family in England was lost."

Death & burial

Harry Powell did not die in Oxford (as formerly believed by the family) but at the Middlesex Hospital, London, on 19th of April 1886, aged 56, from "Chronic Phthisis" [lung disease with progressive wasting of the body, probably pulmonary tuberculosis].

His occupation was given as "Butler", of No. 26 Eccleston Street, Pimlico. A William Budd (his brother-in-law), of No. 11 Sabine Road, Battersea, was present at his death.

Further information

Recollections of a Young Soldier

Harry Powell wrote a booklet entitled "Recollections of a Young Soldier during the Crimean Campaign" that was published at Oxford in 1876 and dedicated to "His Royal Highness, Prince Leopold, and the Officers and Survivors of the Six Hundred".

There is a copy in the "Memoirs" file. The US Library of Congress has also made it available online in various formats at http://archive.org/details/recollectionsofy00powe. There is a pdf version here (accessed 24.6.2013).]

Describing his early years:

"My father served six years in the 22nd Light Dragoons, twenty years in the 13th, and three years in the 15th Hussars, all that time - (nearly thirty years) in India. At that time a soldier counted his time in India as three years for two. He was discharged as a Private with a pension of 1/2d. per day. He had been made a Mason in 1824.

I was born in Bangalore in the East Indies and marched with the 13th to Madras, where my father had volunteered to the 15th. The 13th lost a hundred men on that march, besides many women and children. My father went back to Bangalore with the 15th, and where he was Camp-Colour man of the regiment.

After three years I returned to Madras and embarking aboard the "John Lyon" spent four months aboard before arriving in England. Here I went to see my brother and sister at Hounslow and tried to get enlisted, but failed, and cried all the way back to London. Tried again and succeeded in getting band-pay, enlisting at Cahir."

And later, while the Light Brigade were en route in Bulgaria:

"At Devna, Lord Lucan gave an order that all trumpeters were not to ride grey horses in future, remarking that a trumpeter was 'of just as much importance as an officer'. [PB: What did he mean?] I lost one of the best horses in the regiment by this and selected a mare, named "Butcher" A.35, a good strong little animal - but a runaway."

And after the Charge:

"My horse was shot in the left foreleg - in the upper part. However, she managed to carry me out. I did not know she was wounded until Sergeant Major Gardner told me to mount after he had called the roll and I found she could not move. Being on the move had kept her warm, but when standing she soon got cold...I never rode that horse again. I had another given to me the next morning. Later I heard that the same horse had been given to her Majesty by the Regiment."

Photo of

'"Butcher", The last survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade, with six men of the 13th Hussars [Light Dragoons]'

(Click on image to enlarge)

There is a photograph of "Butcher" in the 13th Hussar file. See also the records of 1450 Edmund Wright, 13th Hussars [Why?], and 1276 James Malanfy, 13th Hussars, who rode "Butcher" in the Charge.

After his return to England:

"I had a sister living in Brighton in service with Lady Caroline Turner of Stoke Rochford and that lady kindly gave me an invitation to stay at her house. On my arrival I was treated with the greatest kindness and having a son about to go to college [Exeter College, Oxford] I had the offer of becoming his servant.

When I returned to the Regiment from Brighton I found that the Commanding Officer had made a kind of lottery of the decorations given to the regiment by the French. One of the Trumpeters, R. Davis, by name, was lucky enough to draw and win one. One or two of the other men who also had a decoration were not actually under arms that day, so could not have been in the Charge.

I was 11 years 174 days in the 13th, and two years besides that on Band pay. I only got credit for eight years, as 'Boy's service' did not count in those days. I was later appointed Trumpet-Major of the Oxfordshire Yeomanry Cavalry at Thame, near Oxford."

Whether he did become one of the College Servants at Exeter College, Oxford, is not established. Enquiry of the College Bursar shows no trace of his ever having been there, although he does say in his "Recollections" that he was introduced to Prince Leopold by the Rector of Exeter College as "one of the six hundred".

Lummis and Wynn presumed 1525 William Powell, who died at Varna on the 19th of July 1854, was his brother, but there is no reference in the Memoirs to this. (See 1525 William Powell's record).

A Private Robert Powell had served in the 13th Light Dragoons in India in the 1830s (possibly a brother of Harry Powell's father and therefore his uncle), and a son, William, was born at Bangalore, in India, on the 12th of June 1822 to him and his wife, Anne. Another son, Thomas, was born at Bangalore on the 24th of January 1821 and baptised on the 21st of March by the Revd. W. Malkins, Chaplain. From this it would appear that the two were possibly cousins.

Powell does, however, record that:

"I had a brother who lost a leg and was afterwards taken prisoner and died at Simpheropol. His name was W. Baynton."

See the record of 850 William Bainton - in fact, Harry Powell's half-brother.


In 1996, among letters offered in an auction catalogue was one said to be from Harry Powell:

"POWELL (Harry, b. c.1809, late of the 13th Light Dragoons in the Crimea) to a Captain Thomas, who commanded "C" Troop of the Horse Artillery at the battle of Chobatar, in the Western Crimea, asking him kindly to 'corroborate the incident I write to you on. I was with you at the time, but in the flanks. I am writing a little book', and asking for Captain Thomas's consent to publication."

"About two days march on the road from Eupatoria on the road to Bagleh-Enserai, we saw General D'Allonville, who commanded the whole force, drawn up with his staff on the brow of a hill in front of us... Captain Thomas trotted his Troop to the foot of the hill alluded to... he found the General wished him to come into action against a Battery of Russian guns... about half a mile or more off.

Captain Thomas... saw they were three heavy Russian 18-pounders while his own were only 9's, on looking over the ground he saw a 'little square peg... and others at intervals.' He said nothing, 'but instead of bringing his troops in action as he had been told he galloped down... till... within 400 yards of the enemy, he fired two rounds from all his guns, limbered up and galloped back over the crest of the hill' without loss, having 'dismounted one Russian gun, damaged another, and killed several men and horses'."

Together with Captain Thomas's observations and corrections on a separate sheet were two others, one from the Chaplain of C" Troop in the Crimea, and another, simply signed "F. M." One of the letters, but not stated which, was from Exeter College, Oxford, not dated, but circa 1876.

Nothing of this incident or of Captain Thomas is mentioned in his "Recollections." The person making out the catalogue had confused Harry Powell with "Henry Powell" of Exeter College, who matriculated on 2nd June 1827, aged 18, and after his B.A. read medicine (D. Med. 1839).


Thomas Powell

Harry Powell's father, Thomas Powell, was born in Ealing, near Brentford, London, and had enlisted into the 22nd Light Dragoons at Chelsea on the 8th of May 1812 at the age of 17 years and 9 months. He was 5' 10" in height, a labourer by trade, with a fresh complexion, hazel eyes, brown hair. He was promoted to Corporal in May 1815 and to Sergeant in November 1818.

He volunteered to the 13th LD in India on the 15th of September 1819 but was reduced to Private by a Regimental Court-martial on the 19th of October 1819.

Promoted to Corporal again in the month of October 1820 and to Sergeant in 1821, he was again reduced to Corporal in September of 1828.

Promoted to Sergeant on the 18th of February 1833 he was again reduced to Private by a Regimental Court-martial on the 29th of May 1834.

Volunteering to the 15th Hussars in March of 1840 he was finally discharged from the service at Bangalore, India, on the 13th of December 1842 with 30 years 7 months actual service but entitled to 48 years 5 months for pension purposes.

Thomas Powell arrived in England from India on the 14th of July 1843 and was "to live in London".

He had served a total of 29 years 5 months in India.

"Worn out by length of service and weakness of right arm from fracture of radius - is unable to perform the ordinary duties of an hussar."

Conduct and character: "that of a good and efficient soldier, trustworthy and sober."

Served at Badenney, Belannin, Sholapore, and during the Maheidpoor campaign of 1817-18 and 1819. (The men of the 22nd Light Dragoons who survived until 1850 were awarded the Maheidpoor clasp to the Army of India medal, but no trace of Powell's name can be found on the medal rolls.) Unable to write - had to make his mark. He is shown as having married on the 31st of July 1822. (See record of 850 William Bainton for details of Thomas Powell's marriage.)

Other children born into the family were:

George Thomas, born on the 28th of October 1825, and baptised 23rd of November 1825 by the Revd. W. Malkins. Died at Bangalore, aged 5 years, on the 29th of March 1831 and buried by the Revd. G. Graeme, Chaplain.

Charlotte, born on the 13th of June 1832 and baptised on the 11th of July 1832 by the Revd. Joseph Wright.

Elizabeth Mary, born on the 17th of April 1835 and baptised on the 4th of May by the Revd. Joseph Wright, Senior Chaplain.

George, born on the 14th of July 1837 and baptised on the 9th of August 1837 by the Revd. W.H. Mahon, Chaplain.

Thomas Powell died at No. 22 Waterloo Street [now King Street], in the Sub-District of St. Paul's, Hammersmith, on the 20th of March 1853, aged 59 years, from "Chronic Hepatitis (2 years)". He was shown as "formerly a soldier". A Sarah Bailey was shown as being present at, and the informant of, his death.


Harry Powell's wife and children

1891 Census

56, Marston Street (Marston Terrace), Cowley, Oxford.

Anne Powell, 52, widow, born Oxford.

Arthur T. Powell, 20, Elementary School Teacher, born Oxford.

Albert E. Powell, 18 Sadlers Apprentice, born Oxford.

Lawrence Powell, 9, Scholar, born Oxford.

A Boarder ("Living on her own means") and a female Domestic Servant, aged 16, are also shown.

1901 Census

8, Crown Street, Cowley, Oxford.

Annie Powell, 62, widow, Lodger, [Illegible] University Lodging House Keeper, born Oxford.

Lawrence F. Powell, 20, Lodger, Sub Librarian Books, born Oxford.

Marriage registered

Lawrence Fitzroy Powell married Ethelwyn Rebecca Steane, September Quarter 1909, Headington.

Death Registered.

Anne Powell, 71, Headington, December Quarter 1909.

Birth registered

Lawrence S. Powell [grandson], December Quarter 1910, Headington.

Death registered

Lawrence Fitzroy Powell [son], 8th August 1975, Banbury.

1911 Census

196, Divinity Road, Oxford.

Lawrence Fitzroy Powell, 29, Man of Letters, Lexicographer, born Oxford.

Ethelwyn Rebecca Powell, 37, Assistant Lexicographer, born Oxford.

Lawrence Powell, 6 months, born Oxford.

A Servant is also shown.

References & acknowledgements

Birth and death registrations, and Census information for 1861, 1891, 1901 and 1911 kindly provided by Chris Poole.

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