Thursday, September 6, 2012

A family friend?

While I was looking for photos of the 50th Queen's Own Regiment I came across this image in The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment Gazette (copied with their permission). He's not quite family, but never mind. He served Her Majesty in all the same places as David Whybrew, so perhaps they knew each other.

Mascot of HM 50th 1863-76
Proudly wearing his New Zealand Medal

The text from the Gazette reads:
“POKENO” – Dog, HM 50th
This little lad was found in the deserted Maori village, after which he was named, in late 1863  – a starving pup found and adopted by Private John Pigg. He served throughout the Waikato Rebellion -charging with HM 50th in the engagement at Rangiawhia (22nd Feb 1864); and in the West Coast Campaign, being with the piquet of HM 50th when it repulsed a major Maori assault at Nukumaru (25thJan 1865).

He later served in Australia, England, and finally in Ireland, where at Kinsale, Dublin, on 20th Oct 1876, at the respectable age of 13, this gallant little veteran of the Maori Wars and faithful follower of HM 50th, passed away peacefully in the company of  his best friends. The Regimental Pioneers made his headstone, and his little grave, on the green in front of the new married quarters, was always well tended and often found adorned with flowers. The path running next to it down to the town was named “Pokeno Street” in his memory.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

David Whybrew's military career - part 2

After the Whybrews left Adelaide (taking Eliza with them but leaving Harriet with Susan's family) they were initially stationed in Bristol. In 1871, at the time of the census, they had moved to the military base in Aldershot, in Hampshire. Susan and Eliza (listed as 'Emily' on the census) lived at Redan Gardens.

According to David's military records, they were in Colchester in 1872. Here David was re-vaccinated against smallpox, with the recorded comment "Result - perfect". Surprisingly, in 1874, at the age of 35, David contracted measles, but fortunately recovered within nine days. (I'm still trying to decipher the word written under "treatment" on this record - it would be interesting to know what was used).

A few months later the 50th regiment was moved to Dublin. Alice Whybrew was born in Ireland in September 1875. Life as an army wife must have been difficult for Susan. It seems from David's records and brief newspaper accounts at the time that the troops and their families were seldom in one place for long, being stationed in Birr in September 1875, Connagh in 1876 and another place (Kinsale?) in 1877.

From Ireland some of the regiment transferred in 1878 to Edinburgh in Scotland and then to Dundee, where they were involved in keeping the peace after an uprising of Catholics. It's unlikely that David was among them. Rose Whybrew was born in Canterbury, Kent, late in 1877, and it seems from his records that David transferred to the 3rd Battalion of the East Kent Militia in January 1878.

At the time of the 1881 census, David was a Permanent Staff Sergeant with the East Kent Militia, and was in the barracks on census day. Susan and four children,  Eliza, Alice, Rose and John (born late 1879 in Canterbury) were living in  Bulwark Lane, Dover (St Mary the Virgin), Kent. They appear in the census as "Wibram" - perhaps an indication that Susan never learned to write well.

In 1883, at the age of 44, David enlisted for another 5 year term with the East Kent Militia. He retired from the army after this, and became a labourer in Colchester. Ironically, he suffered his worst recorded injury at this time. According to the Essex Standard, March 14, 1891 -
 David Whybrew, aged 52, a labourer employed in the Royal Engineers' Department, and residing in Burlington Road, broke his ankle bone and the small bone of his foot. Whilst repairing the small water tower at the Barracks he missed his footing and fell to the ground, a distance of 14 feet. He was conveyed to the Hospital. 
This tallies with the 1891 census when he was listed as a patient in the Essex and Colchester hospital. He and Susan continued to add to their family, with Ellen (Nellie) born in Colchester in 1890 and Ada in 1895.