A 96th Regiment ‘Dinky-di’
In search of Lieutenant Allman
One hundred and eighteen men from the 96th Regiment of Foot served in Western Australia from February 1847 to May 1849. The detachment comprised one Captain, two Lieutenants, one Ensign, an Assistant Surgeon, five NCOs and 108 rank and file – a total of 118 men. About 30% became ‘Redcoat Settlers’ in the Colony having received their Army discharges. Some discharges came with pensions; some were ‘free’; some received a one-off gratuity; others had to purchase their release.
In the latter part of 2021, my research colleague and I spent some time identifying the convict ships, troopships or emigrant ships on which these men of the 96th arrived from Britain to Australia in the first instance. The earliest arrived at Van Diemen’s Land in January 1840, the last in October 1846. The troops were headquartered at Hobart.
A profile of the ships and voyages undertaken by each of the 96th’s WA ‘Redcoat Settlers’ is now posted on this website (click here). The balance of the WA detachment’s arrival from Britain is recorded on a database… except for one. He, Frederick Goulburn Allman, was an officer and a tough nut to crack.
In August 2019 when I first started recording the names of Redcoats from detachments of eight regiments and one corps serving in WA, I did not find Allman among the first arrivals of the 96th Regiment. Indeed, Allman did not show up until the final Pay List recorded in Perth. His name appeared as ‘Fredk G. Allman’ with a note in the ‘Observations’ column which read, Promoted to Lieut. 12th Sep 1848, joined from Van Ds Land 19th Jany 1849. This was partly confirmed in a newspaper report of his arrival on the ship John Bagshaw from Adelaide as ‘Ensign Allman’.
None of this explained why Lieutenant Frederick G Allman was so late in joining his regiment in WA; exactly four months before the majority of the detachment sailed off to Calcutta.
Fast forward over two years of me researching other Swan River Colony regiments, and Allman came into focus once more as we searched for his arrival from Britain to eastern Australia. This was proving difficult. He is recorded in the London Gazette as, 96th Foot, Frederick Goulburn Allman, Gent, to be Ensign, without purchase, vice Servantes, promoted in the 6th Foot. Dated 7th August 1846. But, where did this appointment to Her Majesty’s Service happen, where did he come from, how did he get to Australia? Another clue emerged from various trawls of the Internet – his father had been a Captain in the 48th Regiment in NSW; the 48th Regiment had served in NSW from 1815 to 1824. It was time to study the family background, starting with Captain Allman senior.
Captain Francis Allman veteran of the Peninsular War
There will not be too much detail in this anecdote about Captain Francis Allman’s life as this has been dealt with in other sources quoted below. However, what I have focused on is his Army career and his family.
Francis Allman was born in County Clare, Ireland in 1780. At the age of 19 he was appointed Ensign (without purchase) to His Majesty’s Service in the Queen’s (Second) Royal Regiment of Foot on 5th August 1799, after a period in the East Middlesex Militia where he reached the rank of Lieutenant. After serving in Europe with the 2nd Regiment, Francis was promoted to Lieutenant on 20th August 1801 which seems to have occurred during the regiment’s time in Alexandria. A year later Francis was placed on half-pay by reduction [in the strength of the Army in periods of peace].
On 9th July 1803 Francis transferred to the 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot. He was restored to full pay and retained the rank of Lieutenant. In 1805 the 48th proceeded to Gibraltar where he married Sarah Wilson on 1st October 1807. The ‘peace’ was not to last long – by August 1808 the Peninsular War was in full swing. On 1st June 1809, Francis was promoted to Captain (without purchase) and by 28th July 1809 he was active in the Battle of Talavera during which his commanding officer, Colonel Donnellan was killed. He was again active at the Battle of Albuhera (1811) where the 48th suffered heavy casualties. Thirty officers and 392 soldiers were killed or wounded with 199 men missing. Francis was wounded on 16th May 1811. He was awarded the Military General Service Medal with clasps for Talavera and Albuhera. He would have been required to make a claim for the medal in 1847, 38 years after his first action. On Christmas Day in 1814 he was granted an Army pension of £100 per annum.
Francis and his wife started a family after his participation in the War – two boys and a girl were born between 1812 and 1816. In September 1817 the family embarked at Deptford on the convict ship Minerva; Francis was in command of 30 convict guards from the 48th Regiment. The ship sailed to Cork to pick up 160 convicts, but the embarkation was delayed because of an accident which killed one soldier and injured others. Minerva finally sailed on 1st January 1818 and arrived in Port Jackson, Sydney on 30th April 1818. This began Francis Allman’s career as Commandant of the penal institutions at Port Macquarie and Newcastle. Five more children (two boys and three girls) were born in NSW between 1818 and 1829.
Francis remained on Army full-pay until 5th December 1825 when ill health was cited as his reason for taking half-pay. On 24th April 1829 he sold his commission; he had served in the British Army for 30 years. He retired to farming and a number of public service positions, finally settling in Yass. He died in Yass aged 79 in 1860.
Back to Frederick Goulburn Allman
Now it all makes sense. Although I have not been able to follow the detail of Frederick Goulburn’s career, is likely that I have found something unique in my research of British soldiers serving in Western Australia: a Dinky-di Australian.
Frederick was born in Nelsons Plains, New South Wales and baptised in Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle. His birthdate is recorded as 16th May 1827 on both his own Army record of service, and that of his father, Francis. His second given name is a bit of a puzzle. His father, Francis, was a Police Magistrate at Goulburn, but not until almost seven years after Frederick was born and over 200 miles distant from his birthplace!
Frederick would have presumably moved around with his parents and siblings. By the time he joined the army (at 19) his father had been employed in the public sector and/or farming in Sydney, Port Macquarie, Illawarra, Newcastle, Woolongong, Goulburn, Muswellbrook, Campbelltown, Berrima and finally Yass. His siblings John J, Francis W P and Sarah were born outside Australia; Maria (1818), Harriet (1820), George C (1822), Mary Ann (1829) were all born in various parts of eastern New South Wales.
Where, officially, Frederick joined the army is not known. The announcement of his appointment appears in a Sydney newspaper four months after the fact, but this was probably gleaned from the London Gazette when copy arrived in Australia. The place of his appointment is not mentioned on his army service record nor on the HQ Chatham Pay Lists in 1846/47. Frederick’s first record with the 96th Regiment appeared on a Hobart Pay List in the January to March quarter of 1847 with his official appointment date of 7th August 1846. He is marked on that Pay List and into the next quarter as ‘On Leave’, where it is recorded that he joined the Regiment on 18th of May 1847 from Sydney on the brig Louisa.
Frederick is recorded thereafter on the Hobart Pay Lists from July 1847 to June 1848. As an officer he would have been based in the Anglesea precinct in Davey Street, Hobart which is recognised as one of Australia’s most significant historical military precincts. Frederick may have moved into the two-storey new Soldiers’ Barracks built in 1847/48 which was extended in 1901 at which time the original 1814 ‘Old Soldiers’ Barracks was demolished.
At the end of June 1848 Frederick is recorded with three days leave which continued into July and August. There is an unexplained absence (not leave) recorded from 16th August to 21st September leaving him on active duty for only nine days during the July to September quarter.
It was in July 1848 that the 96th was relocated to the regiment’s old quarters in Launceston in a re-shuffle of Army regiments within Australia and this may have explained Frederick’s leave and absence during this period. Furthermore, on 28th September 1848 Frederick was promoted to Lieutenant – perhaps another reason for his leave and absence. In any event he remained in Launceston until 28th October when he embarked to the Swan River Colony to join the regiment there; or did he?
Who said a British soldier could not be in four places at once? Frederick was recorded (with his promotion always noted) on Pay Lists in Launceston from July to December 1848 quarters and from 1st January to 15th January 1849. But we already know that he embarked to the Swan River Colony on 28th October 1848, recording him only 27 days in Launceston in that quarter. Furthermore, his name is on the Pay List for the ‘India Establishment’ at sea on the ship General Hewitt en route for India. More confusing again is that he arrived in Western Australia from Adelaide on John Bagshaw on 18th January 1849. How could he have been in Adelaide and Launceston?
The answer is in this extract from the ‘Vouchers’ on the very last folio of the Perth Pay List for the January to March 1849 quarter.
The Pay Lists are about which ‘station’ gets charged with a soldier’s pay and allowances, not necessarily where he was located when the expense was incurred. In this case it appears Frederick travelled from Launceston to Adelaide to be a witness at a court martial. From there he sailed to Western Australia to join his regiment in Perth.
The 96th Regiment’s detachment (111 officers and men) for the Swan River Colony left Hobart on the troopship ‘Java’ on 27th January 1847. ‘Java’ had recently arrived in Hobart with troops from New Zealand via Sydney. Sailing with the 96th Swan River detachment were men of the 51st Regiment on their way to India. We now know why Frederick was not with them – he had not yet officially started his duties in Hobart. And it would be another two years before he joined the 96th in Perth from Adelaide on a Launceston Pay List.
Almost immediately we hit another snag in tracing Frederick Goulburn Allman’s career with the Army. The Musters and Pay Lists for 1st April to 30th June 1849 are not available in either microfilm or digital format on the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP). All my enquiries to National Library of Australia and National Archives, Kew have fallen on deaf ears. Thus we must take ‘on faith’ (with the help of newspapers) that Frederick left the Colony on the troopship Ratcliffe on 18th May 1849, one of 68 of the 96th WA detachment. They were joined by the 3rd Division under the command of Major Cheape from George Town, Van Diemen’s Land bound for Calcutta.
Frederick Goulburn Allman’s Army Career outside Australia
This is the broadbrush view of the 96th global activities from the time the regiment left Western Australia in May 1849 to his death in 1866. War Office Musters and Pay Lists are not extant in Australia for these years. Frederick may have been present at some or all of these locations.
The regiment moved to India in 1849. This posting was relatively brief and the unit was back in Ireland by 1854. It joined the Gibraltar garrison in 1856, but returned to Britain the following year and alternated between there and Ireland until 1863. One exception was in 1862, when it sent a detachment to New Brunswick in Canada during the Trent Affair. This was a period of high tension between Britain and the Union side in the American Civil War (1861-65) that almost brought an end to British neutrality in that conflict. In 1863, it sailed to the Cape of Good Hope. And from there, it deployed to India for 10 years’ service in 1865. [National Army Museum].
Sightings of Frederick in online records:
1851 1st January – 31st March – Lahore, British Punjab (now Pakistan)
1852 Harts Army List – Lahore
1859 2nd April – Zingari cabin passenger Melbourne to Sydney [not verified].
1866 10th February – Fort Bourke, Bangalore.
Frederick Goulburn Allman died on 10th February 1866 according to the family notice in The Yass Courier. Cause of death is not mentioned. Being a soldier is a risky occupation and being in the service in India in the 19th century was particularly risky; the fourth cholera pandemic began in Bengal in 1863 and lasted 12 years. Did the 38-year-old die of cholera?
Baptism Entry Parish Registers 1827 [Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle, NSW].
*Record of Officers Services WO76-209-263/264 [Preston Record Office].
The London Gazette 7 Aug 1846 and 12 Sep 1848.
96th Regiment Serving at Lahore 1852 [Harts Army List].
Musters & Pay Lists WO12-9620 to 9623 [National Archives, Kew].
British Army Worldwide Index WO12-9625 1 Jan to 31 Mar 1851 [transcribed Roger E Nixon].
Australia Inward, Outward & Coastal Passenger Lists 1826-1972 [NSW State Records Authority].
Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 1, by A J Gray [National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, 1966].
National Army Museum Website.
Free Settler or Felon? Website [Jen Willetts].
Military General Service Medal Description [North East Medals UK].
Peninsular War Medal Roll WO100-1 & 2 [National Archives, Kew].
*Services of Officers (Retired) WO25-749-53 [National Archives, Kew].
Royal Hospital Chelsea: Admission Books, Registers and Papers (Officers) WO23-83-81 [National Archives, Kew].
Record of Services 96th Regiment June 1839-June 1849 [NLA AJCP M2080].
Embarkation Returns for 48th Regiment WO25-3503 [National Archives, Kew].
Journal of Her Majesty’s Ship Minerva, ADM101-54-2 [National Archives, Kew].
Warrants for Crown Land 1825 [NSW State Records Authority].
New South Wales Census 1828 & 1841 [NSW State Records Authority].
London/Edinburgh Gazette 24 Apr 1799 & 24 Apr 1829.
General Registrar’s Office Death Index 1860 [Yass Reg. No. 6577].
Newspapers in TROVE
Sydney Gazette & NSW Advertiser 2 May 1818.
Sydney Morning Herald 7 Dec 1846.
Hobart Town Advertiser 2 Feb 1847.
The Courier 19 May 1847.
South Australian 1 Aug 1848.
Perth Gazette 20 Jan 1849.
Inquirer 28 May 1849.
The Yass Courier 29 Oct 1860.
Sydney Morning Herald 30 Oct 1860.
The Yass Courier 17 Mar 1866.
Military General Service Medal [Wikipedia Commons]
Battle of Talavera [British Battles]
Captain Francis Allman’s Portrait [State Library of New South Wales]
Anglesea Soldiers’ Barracks 1847 [Army Museum of Tasmania]
*Note from the National Archives: Descriptions relating to individuals have been created using information from a nominal card index relating to Army Officers’ service compiled in the 1980s, which is not comprehensive and may contain some errors.
© Diane Oldman 2022