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.


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