Feb 25 2012
2nd Battalion, Ciudad Rodrigo
Cuidad Rodrigo at dawn
The number of deaths remains relatively low compared with other units; this month there were six deaths, including Sergeant John Henry. Corporal William Weafer was reduced to the ranks, while Corporals Charles Haughey and Joseph Harrison were promoted to sergeant and Thomas Ketlin, William Knoll, Thomas Vipond and William Smith, to corporal. Haughey and Harrison are regarded as particularly promising NCO material, having already proved themselves exemplary in their performance as corporals.
The depleted officer strength of the battalion remains a problem. Although there are twelve subalterns with the battalion, there are only two captains, Chambers and Hitchen of the light and Grenadier companies respectively. Major Grey remains in command, as Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton has yet to return from England. The remaining officers are sick, on command or with the 1st battalion in India.
Captain, (later Major), Thomas Walker Chambers, Light Company, 30th Foot
The battalion has been working on repairing the fortifications damaged in the recent siege. Not everyone has welcomed this work, however. On the 26th, when the rest of the battalion went into the trenches, several men found a small shed where they could skulk without detection. They also lit a fire to keep themselves warm. Unfortunately, the shed had been used as a temporary magazine and there was still some loose powder which quickly ignited. Several men lost their clothes in the blast and were badly burned.
At least those who were prepared to work received some reward, a dollar a day for officers and 8d for the men.
On the 1st February the 2nd brigade of the 5th division, to which the 30th belong, were reviewed by General Leith. Although the General is popular, certainly more popular than their brigadier, General Hay, and the review was a welcome change from repair work, the cold and rainy conditions made it an unpleasant experience.
The following day the 3rd division marched into town and turned the 5th division out of their quarters which caused a lot of resentment. (There has been rivalry between the two divisions since the battle of Buçaco when both General Leith and General Picton claimed credit for the defeat of Reynier’s column.) Fortunately, Picton’s division only stayed two days, whereupon the 5th division returned to their quarters.
1st Battalion, Cannanore
An early view of Cannanore
This is proving a healthy posting, with only one death this month.
Corporal Robert Cliff was reduced on the 9th February. Otherwise the complement of NCOs remains unchanged, although the three sergeants on their way to join from Poonamallee will be welcomed.
When the division left Madras the paymaster, adjutant, surgeon and assistant surgeon remained behind. They are now also reported to be on their way to join. Generally, the officer strength is satisfactory. There are four vacant commissions and eight 1st division officers are serving with the 2nd battalion. At this stage, with the 2nd division on active service, there is no chance that they will be sent to India. However, the 1st division has a greater number of 2nd division officers at Cannanore, so they still enjoy the advantage of the misplacements which have occurred since they sailed for India.
The recruiting parties are continuing to perform their duties effectively and there are now thirty-one recruits “not yet joined”.
A typically cynical Cruickshank view of a Militia volunteer
One man has enlisted at headquarters, and four volunteers have been received from the (Tipperary and Wexford) militia. One man re-joined from desertion.