1 Jan 1796 - 11 Nov 1876
Date added: 17 Jun 2015
No. 100 Private Richard Jones is listed on the Waterloo medal roll as having served with Captain Eeles' Company of the 3rd Battalion, 95th Regiment. He was born in 1796 in the parish of Whitfield, near Dover, Kent. On 22 May 1813 he enlisted at Deal for the 95th Regiment, aged 18 occupation labourer. As well as the Waterloo campaign, it is likely that he served on the expedition to Holland under Sir Thomas Graham in 1813-14. The part played by Captain Eeles' Company at the Battle is vividly described by Eeles in a letter to Siborne.
The 3rd Battalion of the 95th was amongst the first troops to enter Paris in July 1815, and remained encamped on the Champs Elyseés until October when it moved to Versailles. Richard Jones continued to serve with the 3rd Battalion on its move to Dublin, until its disbandment in 1818 when he transferred to the 2nd Battalion. In 1826 his battalion sailed for Malta, where he spent six years, followed by two years in the Greek or Ionian Islands. His discharge was set in motion while he was at Corfu and he left the army on 30 April 1834. He had served 20 years and 344 days, just short of the 21 years needed to qualify for an army pension. However, soldiers who had served at the Battle of Waterloo had their pensionable service increased by an extra two years, thus rendering him eligible. His rank remained that of Private and so his pension was meagre. On leaving the army he was 39 years of age, five feet nine and three-quarter inches in height, with brown hair, grey eyes, a fresh complexion and was described as in good health.
He returned to his place of birth, Whitfield, to join his brothers and sisters, where they worked as farm labourers. He never married, but resided with the family of his younger brother William. He outlived many of his siblings and, after William's death in 1857, lived with his brother's widow Harriet until she died in 1874. In the 1861 census he was described as a Chelsea Pensioner, (that is, an army out-pensioner) and Harriet was listed as a 'pauper'. Only in the last two years of his life, shortly before Harriet's death, was there any increase to his pension, stated variously in newspaper reports as having increased from six or ten pence a day to one shilling and six pence or ten pence but according to his service record it rose in 1874 to one shilling and six pence.
By the time of his death, age 81 on 11 November 1876, veterans of Waterloo were rare enough for the event to be widely reported in the press across Britain. On 18 November The Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald printed a tribute which paints a picture of the aged veteran still proud of his service, joining with soldiers as they marched to and from the Dover garrison:
"DEATH OF A WATERLOO VETERAN.- Death has just carried away, at the ripe old age of 81, the only Waterloo veteran Dover possessed. His name was Richard Jones, living in Peter Street Charlton. He had served in the Rifle Brigade, and besides being present at the battle of Waterloo, was in many other engagements. Until recently the old gentleman might be seen taking part in the marches of the troops of the garrison whenever they passed through that district, and it was pleasant to see him striding along erect and martial like with the younger soldiers. The sound of the band was sufficient to draw him from his house, and he might be always seen at the corner of Peter Street waiting for the approach of the troops. His pension was originally 10d. a day, but through the kind offices of Mr. John Clark, of High Street, it was increased to 1s. 9d. Deceased was brother of Sergeant Jones, formerly of the South Eastern Railway."
That the name Richard recurs in the descendants of his siblings cannot be a coincidence: every alternate generation of descendants of his brother James has been named Richard, but by the time my elder brother was named Richard after his grandfather in 1962 the association with his 3rd great grand uncle had been forgotten. Only with the family history research of our late father was this continuity was rediscovered.
A more detailed account of the experiences of Captain Eeles' Company at Waterloo can be found on my website.
Simon Jones, 17 June 2015