Date added: 26 Jul 2017
My great-great-great-great grandfather, Thomas Crawford, was the illegitimate son of Thomas Crawford and Mary Fanning. He was baptised in Holyhead, Anglesey, on Friday the 9th November 1787. He enlisted as a Private in the 12th Light Dragoons on Friday the 31st May 1805. His army record describes him as 5ft 9ins tall, with brown hair, hazel eyes and of a fresh complexion.
Returning from Ireland in that year, the 12th Light Dragoons had been stationed at Romford and then briefly at Guildford in December 1805. In 1806 the 12th Light Dragoons were stationed along the Sussex coast for some three months and then the regiment moved to Kent with its headquarters at Hythe, detachments being placed along the coast until August 1807. The regiment was then sent to Hounslow, part of its duty being to escort the royal family at Windsor and Hampton Court, before being posted to Deal, Kent, in July 1808.
Thomas Crawford married Mary Williams (1792-1868) at St Leonard’s, Hythe, Kent, on Wednesday 9th November 1808. Mary was then only 16 years old. Her family were from Deal in Kent. Thomas Crawford was posted at this time to the cinque port of New Romney, further south along the coast from Hythe towards Dungeness. Mary Crawford gave birth to her son, Henry, at New Romney on Monday the 23rd October 1809.
Thomas Crawford served with the 12th Light Dragoons during the ill-fated Walcheren campaign from the end of July to the middle of September 1809. After the return from Walcheren, the 12th Light Dragoons were based once more at Deal, Mary Crawford’s home town in Kent, again with troops detached along the coast. They remained at Deal through the winter of 1809-1810 until, in April 1810, the headquarters was moved to Romford in Essex.
Three squadrons, six troops, of the 12th Light Dragoons were dispatched to the Peninsular War in May-June 1811. Two squadrons, four troops, remained in depot at Romford under the command of Captain Bridger. Thomas Crawford remained with these two home squadrons and was involved in the march first to Norwich from Romford and then on to Weymouth in Dorset, a distance of 300 miles, reaching Radipole Barracks, Weymouth, in September 1811. Mary Crawford gave birth to their daughter Elizabeth in Colegate, Norwich, Norfolk, on the 30th June 1811.
Thomas Crawford completed his service of 6 years and 251 days with the 12th Light Dragoons on 6th February 1812. He joined the 23rd Light Dragoons at Romford the next day.
Private Thomas Crawford fought at the Battle of Waterloo in Captain John Martin's Troop, the second of six troops in the 23rd Light Dragoons.The regiment comprised part of the 3rd Brigade of Cavalry at Waterloo along with the 1st and 2nd Light Dragoons, King’s German Legion, under command of Major-General Wilhelm, Freiherr von Dörnberg (1768-1850). Private Thomas Crawford was awarded the Waterloo Medal in 1815 and his service record shows that he was awarded an extra two years’ worth of pensionable service for fighting at the Battle of Waterloo.
Thomas Crawford completed his service of 5 years 266 days with the 23rd Lancers (they changed designation in 1816), still in Captain John Martin’s troop, on the 31st October 1817 at the disbanding of the regiment at Radipole Barracks, Weymouth. His 1817 discharge papers record that his service was ‘good, having served in Flanders, particularly in the Battle of Waterloo.’
Thomas Crawford then enlisted with the 15th Hussars on the 1st November 1817, at Weymouth in Dorset, with which he served for 9 years and 28 days. It is uncertain whether Thomas Crawford served with the 15th Hussars at the so-called Peterloo Massacre of 16th August 1819. He was discharged on 29th November 1826 in consequence of ‘rheumatism and being worn out, contracted in the service’; this medical note in Private Thomas Crawford’s discharge papers is signed by Samuel Jeyes (1791-1872), M.D., assistant surgeon of the 15th Hussars, who had also served at the Battle of Waterloo. The record also states, however, that his conduct was ‘good generally. He served in the Expedition to Walcheren, in Flanders and at Waterloo.’ He is later referred to as an ‘army pensioner’. There is a Thomas Crawford listed as a mariner from Holyhead aged 49 in 1836, but, given the poor medical record Private Thomas Crawford was given in 1826, this does seem unlikely to be our man.
Thomas Crawford died sometime between 29th November 1826 and 30th March 1851. Mary Crawford survived her husband and died in London in 1868 aged 75 years. Their son Henry Crawford (1809-1899) enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1830 and served on HMS Donegal for more than 6 years; he later joined the Coast Guard at Langton Herring near Weymouth in Dorset. My great-great grandfather, also called Thomas Crawford (1828-1906), was the first (and illegitimate) child of Elizabeth Crawford; he joined the Merchant Navy as a boy in 1840.
Duncan Crawford (2017)