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Added 3.5.11. Further info. added 13.2.12. Minor edits 2.3.2014.

1454, Private Frederick VINER - 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born Witney, Oxfordshire.


Enlisted at London on the 19th of July 1852.

Age: 21.

Height: 5' 7".

Trade: Servant.


Tried by a District Court-martial at Hounslow on the 2nd of November 1852 for "desertion and losing his necessaries." Sentenced to 84 days' imprisonment, with hard labour.

Sent sick to Scutari on the 11th of December 1854 and rejoined the regiment on the 25th of February 1855:

"Absent" from Piershill Barracks, Edinburgh, and later shown as a "Deserter" from the 2nd of August 1859 until he rejoined the regiment on the 16th of September. Tried by a District Court-martial and in a Military prison (Dell) until the 15th of November:

"Absent" again from the 13th of January 1860 until brought back under escort on the 28th of February. (The "Routes of Deserters" columns showing a payment of £1/8/8d being made, but there is no indication where he was brought from.)

Tried by a District Court-martial at Edinburgh on the 9th of March and sentenced to 112 days' imprisonment, with hard labour and stoppages of pay, etc. He was again in Dell Military Prison until the 27th of June 1860.

Letter from the Advocate General's Office, dated the 1st of March 1860:

"My Lord - I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 29th inst. transmitting the charges preferred against Private Frederick Viner, 13th Light Dragoons, and requesting my opinion as to whether they are in a fit state for investigation before a General Court-martial. I have the honour to acquaint you that the charges appear to be in a fit state to appear for investigation. If any of the facts are incorrectly stated then the necessary alterations may be made by the Officer preferring the same.

I am, etc. etc.,

S. C. Denison. AAG."

Discharge & pension

Discharged, "time expired", from Hounslow on the 23rd of May 1866.

Served 13 years 297 days, of which only 6 years 23 days were "to count".

Conduct and character: "Indifferent".

Not in possession of any Good Conduct badges.

Intending to live at Norwich after discharge.


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

A supplementary roll (undated) signed by Major Henry Holden shows him as having been issued with the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava and Inkerman on the 7th of October 1855.


Member of the Balaclava Commemoration Society in 1879.

Life after service

1871 Census

Waterloo, St Clement, Norwich.

Frederick, 36, Labourer, born Camden, Middlesex.

Amelia, 26, born Camden, Middlesex.

Frederick, 4, born Norwich.

George, 1, born Norwich.

Five children are shown: Frederick 15, George 12, Selina 6, Herbert 3, and Alice 1. [CP]

Marriage registered

Frederick William Viner and Amelia Mason, December Quarter 1873, Norwich.

Births registered

Selina Alice B Viner, June Quarter 1874, Norwich.

Herbert Ernest Viner, December Quarter 1877, Norwich.

Alice Amelia Viner, June Quarter 1880, Norwich.

1881 Census

Street by church, Costessey [6m NW of Norwich].

Frederick Viner is shown as aged 41 [sic], born Middlesex, a "Gas Burner Paper Mills", married to Amelia Viner, aged 36, born Norwich, with five children: Frederick, 15, George, 12, Selina, 6, Herbert, 3, and Alice, 1.

In a "Scrapbook" formerly belonging to James W. Wightman of the 17th Lancers was found a copy of a letter to a newspaper (unknown source):

"A Balaclava Hero in Deep Distress - To the Editor,

Dear Sir, - Will you kindly assist me in making public through your columns that there is now living in Costessey, dangerously ill and in deep poverty, a survivor of the Balaclava Charge, Frederick Vince [sic] now in his 60th year, and formerly of the 13th Light Dragoons, is now entirely dependent upon parish relief, and needs many comforts that are not obtainable from that source. The poor fellow is in great suffering. I shall be glad to receive and acknowledge for him any contributions that sympathisers may feel inclined to bestow.

Faithfully yours,

J. W. Evens, Vicar.

Costessey, Norwich, 6th August 1890."

Under this, James Wightman wrote: "Died shortly after the above appeared in print. J. W. W., Secretary."

Death & burial

Died at Costessey, near Norwich, on the 10th of September 1890.

Extract from "Norfolk Annals", 10th of September 1890:

"Died at Costessey, Frederick Viner, formerly of the 13th Light Dragoons. He took part in the light cavalry charge at Balaclava and his name was officially recorded in the list of survivors."

From a local newspaper [unknown source], 15th and 16th of September 1890:

"Death - Viner. September 7th, at Costessey. Frederick Viner, formerly in the 13th Light Dragoons, a Crimean survivor of the Balaclava Charge, aged 59 years:

Military Funeral - We learn that the funeral of Frederick Viner, late of the 13th Light Dragoons, who was in the Balaclava Charge and who died at Costessey a few days ago, will take place today with military honours in the cemetery. The procession will start from Tinkler's Lane, Dereham Road, at three o'clock and the interment will be made in the Soldiers' Plot."

The Cemetery records show that he was buried in the "Old Soldier's Plot" in Earlham Road Cemetery, Grave No. 267, Section 24, on the 16th of September 1890. The grave is a common one, but no other interment has taken place in it, and no memorial stone was erected. He was then described as a "Gas Works Manager".

There is a report of his funeral in the "Eastern Daily Press" for the 17th of September 1890.

A military memorial stands in the Soldiers' Plot of Earlham Road Cemetery on which he is commemorated as "Frederick Wm. Vine."

Further information

1891 Census

[i.e. shortly after Frederick Viner's death.]

His son Frederick, 24, a Bricklayer's Labourer, is a lodger living in Street, Costessey.

His wife, Amelia 46, a sick nurse, and the four children, are now living at 35, Tinkler's Lane, Norwich [subsequently renamed Midland Street].

1901 Census

17, Robinsons Yard, Norwich.

Amelia Viner, 52, widow, Monthly Sick Nurse, born Magdalen, Norwich.

George E. Viner, 30, son, single, Bricklayer's Labourer.

Selina Viner, 27, daughter, Charwoman.

Two grandchildren are also shown: Cyril T. Viner 2, and Charles H. Viner, 6 months.

1911 Census

Gays Yard, 1a Oak Street, Norwich.

George Viner, 37, single, Bricklayer's Labourer, born Norwich.

Amelia Viner, 64, mother/widow, Charing, born Norwich.

Death registered

Amelia Viner, 79, June Quarter 1924, Norwich.

References & acknowledgements

Census information for 1871, 1891, 1901, and 1911, and Birth and Death registrations, kindly provided by Chris Poole.

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