Jan 15 2010
2nd Battalion: Gibraltar
Castle of San Marcos, Gibraltar. Photograph courtesy of emijrp
Quartermaster Kingsley has finally arrived from England, bringing with him 35 men, including 6 recruits, and the heavy baggage which was left at Kinsale when the battalion sailed from Ireland for Portugal in the spring of 1809.
There have been two deaths, and a further five men have been discharged in Ireland.
Sergeant John Masterson was reduced to the ranks on the 4th January, and Corporal Patrick Mulholland, on the 3rd January.
A court martial assembled on the 2nd January under the presidency of Lt Col Minet commanding the 2nd 30th ( and with two officers from the 30th among the sitting officers) to hear the case against John Simpson, William Woodhouse and Brian Farrell, privates in the 30th Regiment. Simpson and Woodhouse were accused of robbery, and Farrell of conniving in the robbery. All but two of the witnesses called by the prosecution and the defence were members of the 30th.
The first witness, Henry Lyon Levison, a merchant, testified that when he came to his warehouse on the morning of the 27th December his clerk told him a window had been broken. When Levison examined the scene he found signs of disturbance and realised that 8 dozen pairs of stockings and six shawls were missing. Having established that the 30th Regiment had been on guard and being unable to find the captain of the guard, he went to RSM GLass, who undertook to make enquiries.
John Peake, Levison’s clerk, described how he had found indications of a robbery when he arrived for work. He gave the value of the missing goods as 130 Cobs.
RSM Glass testified that after Levison’s visit he inspected the roll to find out which members of the battalion had been on guard. When he searched, he found some of the missing articles in Simpson’s bed. Farrell later confessed to him that Woodhouse had given him some rum, and he had then seen Woodhouse going backwards and forwards between the store and a cart. Simpson, when questioned, claimed to have found the articles in a cart, and implicated Woodhouse. In answer to a question from the court, Glass said that the prisoners had been confined as soon as the articles were discovered.
Acting SM Woods supported Glass’s testimony. He also said that the articles were concealed in Simpson’s bed between the bedclothes and the palliasse.
Private Thomas Brady claimed he was told by Woodhouse where he could fine 8 or 9 pairs of stockings, (hose) and that Drummer Turgoose was already wearing a pair. While he was in company with Farrell, to whom he was chatting about their time in Lisbon, Brady witnessed Woodhouse bringing goods away from the window of the store. At this point he was questioned by Woodhouse and told him that in his opinion the goods must have come out of the window. Brady then denied a suggestion from the court that he was a look-out for Woodhouse.
On the 3rd January, Private John Sturgess told the court that when he came off guard at 2 a.m. he was told by Woodhouse, who was on main guard, that he knew where there were some stockings for the taking. He insisted this was all he knew, although he had initially been placed under arrest. He also denied turning King’s evidence.
Private William Benson described how he was woken during the night by a rapping on the window. He got up and saw Simpson put three small bundles through the window. He asked Benson to carry them to his comrade, Drummer William Johnstone, with whom he shared a bed, which he did.
Johnstone then told the court how he put the bundles which Benson gave him under the head of the bed and then went back to sleep. He was woken again when Woodhouse was calling to Private Woodham, who slept near the window. Johnstone went to the window and took two more bundles. In answer to a question from Woodhouse, he said he had recognised him by his voice.
The only officer to testify was Ensign Garvey, who had been sent by Colonel Minet to establish the names of those who were prepared to turn King’s evidence. He addressed Woodhouse, Sturgess, Turgoose, Simpson and Farrell. Woodhouse, Turgoose and Farrell all said they would become King’s evidences.
The last witness for the prosecution was Drummer Robert Turgoose. All three prisoners objected because he had deserted from the battalion in Portugal. They called upon Col. Minet to rule him inadmissable as a witness but Minet himself told the court under oath that Turgoose had been charged with and found guilty of absence from quarters, not desertion. Consequently, the court overruled the prisoners’ objection.
Turgoose admitted being a witness to the robbery, giving some details of how the bundles were removed from the warehouse, using a pair of ramrods tied together. He also claimed that both Farrell and Brady had seen what was happening.
Simpson asked Turgoose to confirm that he, Simpson, had been on sentry duty throughout, but Turgoose would not. Simpson also claimed that Turgoose had received a pair of stockings.
In response to a question from the court, Turgoose said that Woodhouse and Simpson had promised to divide the plunder with himself, Brady and Farrell, but he denied that he and Brady were acting as look-outs.
This was the end of the prosecution case and the following day the prisoners offered their defence.
Simpson described how he had been on sentry duty from midnight. Soon afterwards a young woman offered him some rum, which he refused. Later Woodhouse came and told him about some bundles in a cart. When Simpson was relieved at 2 a.m. he went to have a look. Turgoose offered to show him where the cart was, and Simpson noticed that he was wearing a pair of black stockings, which he later disposed of. Simpson then returned to his post at the Auctioneer’s House, and remained there until relieved at 8 a.m.
Woodhouse also claimed to have been offered rum by a young woman, and took a sup. The woman told him she had nowhere to go that night. She saw a cart, got into it, and found some bundles. Woodhouse then told Brady and Turgoose about the bundles of stockings but Turgoose said he already knew because he was wearing a pair. Later Woodhouse told Simpson about the bundles.
Farrell, for his part, claimed to know nothing about the robbery, although he admitted that Woodhouse had given him some rum.
Simpson called Sergeant Joseph Jackson, in order to establish that he had been at the playhouse from between 7 and 8 until 11, and had then been posted sentry at midnight. Corporal Gadborough testified that he had posted Simpson at the Auctioneer’s Rooms but neither Jackson nor Gadborough had seen him later that night.
Woodhouse called Corporal Benjamin Sergeant to prove that he had been posted at the main guard at 2 a.m.
Farrell merely restated his innocence.
After due deliberation,the court found all three men guilty as charged,
………………………and sentenced them to 7 years transportation.
No doubt the members of the court have now had time to reflect on the truism, that there is no honour among thieves.
1st Battalion: Trichinopoly
17th Century Mughal painting
Lieutenant Skirrow has been given 12 months’ leave to Europe. Captain Chambers is on his way to Madras, also to return to Europe, to arrange his transfer into another regiment.
Meanwhile, the court martial which heard the case against Lieutenant Nicholson has been reconvened. Today they have received a letter from the Judge Advocate General Leith, dated the 10th January 1810 and written on behalf of Major General Goudie, C-in-C of the Forces.
The Deputy Judge Advocate read the letter to the court, from which it is clear that General Goudie has taken issue with the conduct of the case. He is particularly concerned about remarks made about Lieutenant Barlow, implying that he had been guilty of perjury, although he was never charged. He also felt that quarrels between Maxwell and Nicholson were irrelevant to the case. Consequently, General Goudie wanted all references to former conduct expunged from the case and required them to be crossed out of the written record. The proceedings are now to be forwarded to Colonel Wilkinson for confirmation.
The court has also received a letter from Colonel Wilkinson, written on the previous day. Wilkinson was unhappy about the court’s intention to acquit Nicholson of the additional charge, that he had reneged on his agreement to resign from the regiment. He thinks Nicholson should have been found guilty because he believes it was not the absence of a recommendation that made Nicholson refuse to sign the resignation.
The court can now publish its verdict. Nicholson is found not guilty on the first part of the first charge, that he urged the repetition of a duel, but guilty of the second part, that he said blood must be spilt. Despite Wilkinson’s objection, they maintain that Nicholson was not guilty of the additional charge.
They have sentenced Nicholson to be reprimanded by the C-in-C of the Forces.
Because his objection to the verdict has been overruled by the court, Wilkinson will now have to confirm the sentence,
Recruits are being enlisted by the various recruiting parties, although exact figures are not yet available.
One recruit has deserted from headquarters at Wakefield.