Families, Friends, and British Army Officers - Research to be presented at The National Army Museum
Dr Linch and Dr Quinn will present some of their findings about the family and social connections of British Army officers between 1793 and 1815.
In 1815, on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, Major Gregorson of the 92nd Regiment of the Foot was granted permission to drop to half-pay and take semi-retirement. The tragic reason for this was that he needed to leave the army to take care of his mother and sisters.
He was the only remaining male member of the family, after losing his three brothers in the Peninsular War (1808-1814). His family responsibilities took precedence over his army career. On the other hand, family connections could be an important part of a young officer’s career trajectory, shown by the letter of recommendation written by Lieutenant Charles Watt for his nephew William Henry Watts in 1793.
Dr Kevin Linch and Dr Simon Quinn are uncovering personal stories like these through their work on the AHRC- funded research project, ‘Re-archiving the individual’, working in partnership with The National Archives. British Army officers in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars were husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, and friends as well as officers. Fragments of their lives are recorded in the rich but underused material of the Commander-in-Chief’s papers about Army commissions, promotions, and retirements, a collection of over 1,500 boxes.
On 25th March 2023, Dr Linch and Dr Quinn will present some of their findings about the family and social connections of British Army officers between 1793 and 1815 at The National Army Museum, London as part of a conference entitled ‘Alliances in the history of armed conflict, 1642-present’.
Their talk will explore some of the fascinating and as-yet-unexplored records held at The National Archives that contain insights into those relationships, and what officers were prepared to reveal utilise to the military bureaucracy. It will highlight that family circumstances could alternately support career progression in the army, but how that career could also be incompatible with family responsibilities.
Book your place
Book your free place for the conference via the National Army Musuem website.
Image: A page from the WO 31 series at The National Archives – Copyright Dr Kevin Linch