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1425, Private David MCINNES — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born in the parish of Barony, Glasgow, Scotland, c.1833.

The 1841 Census Return for Bridgetown (Baroney) Glasgow, shows only a David McInnes, aged 8 years, born in Glasgow, the fifth of six children of John McInnes, a Tailor, and his wife Mary (both parents born in Ireland). But the IGI records show another David McInnes baptised at Glasgow, Lanarkshire, on the 21st of December 1829, the son of John McInnes and Janet (nee Robb).


Enlisted at Edinburgh on the 28th of January 1851.

Age: 18.

Height: 5' 6".

Trade: Printer.

Appearance: Fresh complexion. Grey eyes. Brown hair.


From Private to Corporal, 26th of October 1854.

Sent money from the Crimea to his mother, name not shown, living at No. 6 McKechnie, Calton, Glasgow.

Corporal to Sergeant, 1st of October 1855.

He is shown on a Nominal Roll dated the 9th of November 1855, as being On Duty at Scutari from the 24th of October 1855. From this he did not serve in Eupatoria with the regiment.

In a letter, Colonel Tremayne of the Regiment, referring to a reconnaissance duty carried out on the 19th of February 1855 when the effective strength of the regiment was five men, one Sergeant, one Trumpeter, and three men, wrote:

"At 2 a.m. I sent in the Sergeant [McInnes] with both ears frost-bitten."

According to his promotion dates he was not a Sergeant at this time.

Disc harge & pension

Discharged from Dublin on the 28th of June 1858, as:

"Unfit from Consumption. The result of a severe cold caught whilst on duty at Limerick in February of 1858. His discharge has not been aggravated by either this or misconduct It will not materially affect his ability to earn his livelihood."

There was anquiry [no date shown]: "as to what capacity he is employed in and how far his disability affects it."

The reply stated that "he is in sufficiently good health to discharge the duties required. (Employed at Warley Depot.)"

Served 7 years 139 days. In Turkey, Greece and the Crimea, 2 years.

Conduct: "very good". Never tried by Court-martial,

Aged 25 years on discharge.

Awarded a pension of 1/- per day for two years. He was then granted 10d. per day "Conditional" for one year from the 23rd of April 1861 to the 25th of July 1865.


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

"Fresh medal" granted on the 13th of August 1856.

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


Life after service

To live in Warley, Essex.

His marriage certificate shows him as having married Elizabeth Susan Parker, aged 21, a Spinster, living in South Weald, on the 11th of July 1859 in the Parish Church of St. Peter at South Weald, Essex. Her father was Samuel Parker, an Innkeeper. David McInness [sic?] was aged 25, a Bachelor, a Staff Sergeant, living in Little Warley, his father is named as John McInness, a Tailor. (There is a copy in the 13th Light Brigade "Certificates" file.)

1861 Census

"Horse and Groom" Inn, South Weald, Essex.

The 1861 Census (taken in April) shows him living in the home of Samuel Parker, Inn Keeper.

The occupants of the house are shown as Samuel Parker, aged 62, his wife, Mary, aged 60, an unmarried daughter, Susan, aged 27 (all born at Brentwood, Essex) and a granddaughter, Emma, aged 3 years, born at South Weald.

David McInnes is shown as a "Son-in-Law, Staff Sgt, in HM's Service", aged 28, born in Scotland, with his wife, Ann, 25, born in Brentwood, Essex, and a son, John, aged 2 months, born at Little Warley, Essex.

Death & burial

He died in the East London Pension District (Billericay) on the 22nd of April 1865.

His death certificate shows him as dying at South Weald, Essex (Parish of St. Peter), on the 22nd of April 1865 from "Pulmonary Consumption (2 years)". He was 31 years old and Late a Sergeant in the 13th Light Dragoons. A Jane Richards was shown as being present at his death. (See copy of this in the "Certificates" file.)

The Parish records of St. Peter's Church at South Weald confirm he was buried in the churchyard there, on the 30th of March 1865, aged 31 years. (A record of monumental inscriptions on stones in this churchyard makes no mention of one for him.)

Further information

The "Military Records" (akin to the Army Orders, Part One, of a later period, which contained details of promotions, demotions, court-martial offences and punishments, transfers, deaths and discharges and all the daily happenings) of the Warley Depot of the East India Company, dated the 1st July 1858, show:

"David McInnes, who enlisted on the 5th inst. (June) for the purpose of being employed at the Depot is appointed Staff Sergeant from the date of his enlistment."

EJB: Other pensioned senior NCOs from various corps were also shown as being appointed as such on differing dates as additional to the strength of the Depot, but no details of this enlistment are shown for them as there is for ordinary rank and file. (It could be that he had enlisted at one of the other four Recruiting Districts of the Company, other than that of London, the only one checked, but in any case would only have contained details similar to those already known.)

The Depot had enlisted men for the cavalry (in addition to recruiting for infantry, artillery and engineers) only from the 11th of December 1856, when it was recorded that:

"The Council of India having sanctioned the purchase of a few horses for the preliminary instruction of the Cavalry recruits the following rules are laid down with the view of ensuring the whole of the recruits are receiving as much instruction as possible during the time they are at the Depot."

This was because of the Mutiny crisis and for its newly raised European cavalry Regiments, so he was probably connected with this, although the only other reference to any particular duties is the fact of his being shown as "Orderly Sergeant for the ensuing week" on several occasions.

However, on the 26th of February 1861 the "Records" showed:

"The Commandant has received the Command of the Secretary of State for India to discharge certain of the Depot preparatory to the breaking up of the Establishment.

Those Staff Sergeants who were specially enlisted under arrangements that they might be discharged on receiving a months notice that their services were no longer required can of course occupy their quarters and will continue to do duty and draw pay up to the 28th of March, but may, on application to the Orderly Room, be discharged earlier should they wish it. The remainder will be permitted to occupy their quarters up to the 26th, provided they continue to do duty."

Some sixteen named Senior NCOs and Staff Sergeants were shown, and the entry continued:

"The Sergeant Major having served more than 30 years at the Depot [he was granted a pension of 2/6d. per day and a Long Service and Good Conduct medal], two Staff Sgts of 23 years' and 21 years' standing [both receiving pensions] and the remainder from 11 years to 1 year, the Staff Sgts. of lesser service, [including David McInnes] being awarded a gratuity of two months' pay for each year of service severally rendered."

It concluded with:

"Those of the longest standing having earned the greatest praise, while their comrades of a shorter period of service — all having given the utmost satisfaction to their Commanding Officer — all have established characters for zeal and integrity and the Commandant feels assured that all will carry the hearty good wishes of their fellow N.C. officers with them into retirement."

Was the brother of 2857 Gunner Hugh McInnes, V.C., of the Bengal Artillery?

EJB: He is reputed to have been the brother of 2857 Gunner Hugh McInnes, V.C. of the Bengal Artillery, who was elected for the decoration as one of 5 men of the Bengal Artillery for distinguished gallantry at the Second Relief of Lucknow between the 14th and 27th of November 1857, the V.C. being sent out to India for presentation in 1859.

Said to have been born at Anderston, Glasgow, in October 1835, he died at No 61 Cathcart Street, Glasgow on the 7th of December 1879, aged 44 years, of paralysis and debility. He was buried in the St. Peter's RC Cemetery (renamed Dalbeith Cemetery in 1900), London Road, Glasgow.

His grave is in common ground and unmarked.

This story is rather hypothetical though, as they were seemingly of different religions.

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