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Corporal John Partridge

Schools Waterloo 200


Captain C.E. Radclyffe's No.1 or "E" Troop

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Waterloo Soldier by: Mayfield School

Date added: 16 Jun 2015

Little is known about John Partridge's background.However, British army records (1760-1915) record that he was born in the parish of Danebury, Chelmsford, Essex.

It seems that he entered the army as a non-commissioned private at Waterloo and subsequently received a commission.
[1] Army records state that he entered the army as a sergeant of the 13th Regiment of the Light Dragoons and was discharged on 18th September 1819.Why he entered the army can only be surmised but according to the historian, Gordon Corrigan, most recruits were from the ‘lower orders of society’ and ‘it is a measure of the insecurity of civilian life that between 1811 and the end of the war’ that most signed up for 14 years rather than the optional shorter term of 7 years'[2].

As a non-commissioned officer, John Partridge would have earned his commission through service or bravery in battle.Medical requirements to join Wellington’s army were very lax.‘Poor eyesight, deafness, flat feet, lack of intelligence, wetting the bed ..were passed over with the only requirement being that a man had to have 4 front teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom.‘[3] The reason was that soldiers needed teeth to rip open cartridges and load their muskets.Below is a set of ‘Waterloo teeth.[4]’ This set is a typical example that would have been taken by scavengers on the battlefield because human teeth were in great demand.People who lost teeth through decay, and could afford it, would be offered replacement human teeth, and those from a freshly killed soldier would be far preferable to those removed from a rotting corpse in a grave.

[1] Charles Dalton:Waterloo Roll Call with Biographical notes, page 257

[2]Charles Corrigan:Waterloo:A New History of the Battle and its armies, page132

[3]Gordon Corrigan:Waterloo:A New History of the Battle and its armies, p.157,(2014)

[4] Gordon Corrigan:Waterloo:A New History of the Battle and its armies, p.157, (2014)

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