Date added: 9 Feb 2015
Thomas was born in Elswick near Kirkham, Lancashire in 1783 and enlisted for unlimited service in the 1st Royal Dragoons at Preston on the 20th October 1803, age 19 and giving his trade as tailor. He served in the Peninsular Wars in Spain and Portugal from around 1810-1814. On the 25th April 1815, the Royals marched to Dover from their quarters in Exeter and embarked for the Netherlands. During May they were quartered between Ghent and Brussels. On the evening of 17th June they arrived at Waterloo, passing the night in open fields without provisions or drink and exposed to continuous rain. The next morning, fetlock deep in mud and behind the second line of infantry, the battle-tested Royals charged the French Infantry Divisions with devastating effect.
Following the Battle of Waterloo, the Royals arrived back in Dover in January 1816, returning to their barracks at Ipswich. Thomas was then garrisoned with the Royals in different parts of the country before they embarked for Dublin in April 1825. On 22nd September 1826, with the regiment still in Dublin and after 22 years 341 days of service, Thomas was found to be ‘unfit and worn out by length of service and age’ and discharged. With the additional 2 years of service for the Battle of Waterloo, this gave him a pensionable service of 24 years 341 days. He was also recommended for a pension from His Majesty’s Royal Bounty of Chelsea, and received 1 shilling and a half pence per day until his death. The Waterloo Medal received by Thomas is in the medal collection in the Regimental Museum of the Household Cavalry in Windsor.
Having given Lancaster as his intended address at discharge Thomas had, at some time before 1841, moved to Preston where he was innkeeper at the Horse Shoe Inn. By 1851, he had moved to be an innkeeper in the small village of Clifton-with-Salwick, just outside Kirkham. He died from severe bronchitis at Clifton on the 23rd April 1852, age 68.
Thomas had, for many years, been the mystery relative who it was thought had fought at Waterloo with the Scots Greys. Determined to solve the mystery, my research revealed the above and that he was a nephew of my great-great-great grandfather.
Submitted by Geoffrey Hall