Priscilla Arnott and John Walker

Within twelve months of Thomas' death his second daughter Priscilla, aged only fifteen, married John Walker, at Bethseda, a chapel catering for the overflow of St George's Parish Church, in Hobart. 1 John was several years older, and had been born in Bolton, Lancashire where he'd enlisted as a Private in the 96th Regiment. John had seen convict guard service at Norfolk Island before arriving in Van Diemen's Land, and within two years of their marriage Priscilla accompanied John when he was transferred to the Swan River in Western Australia prior to their departure with the regiment for India.

Julie Skellern has researched and recorded John's military record - Regimental #1403 2

1 April - 30 June 1849 - Drummer
1 July - 31 December 1849 - Drummer, Ghazeepore, INDIA (Ghazipur)
1 January - 31 March, 1850 Drummer, good conduct pay Pawnpoon, INDIA (Cawnpore)
1 April - 30 June 1853 - Corporal

INDIA.
The 96th Regiment— Her Majesty's 96th Regiment, under Colonel Cumberland, marched into Delhi on Thursday, the 30th January, and are encamped outside the Lahore gate of the city. The men appear in excellent health. Its strength consists of two field officers, 21 subalterns, five officers, 40 sergeants, 10 drummers, and 779 rank and file. 3

1 July - 30 September 1853 - August & September in hospital, Meccan Meer, Lahore, INDIA (Mean Meer)
1 October - 31 Decmeber 1853 - proceeding to England for discharge on 2d per day good conduct.
1 January - 28 February 1854 - proceeding to England for discharge
1st March - embarked for England ex Dinapore, and listed under Number discharged or reduced as “sent home”

96th Regiment Service, as per “In Search of the Forelorn Hope” 4

Mean Meer 1851
Ghazapore (Ghazipur) 1849
Cawnpore 1849, 1851

#1403, Drummer John WALKER of 96th regiment was granted a pension on 24th April 1857 at Parkhurst, Isle of Wight. Born in the Parish of Bolton, Lancashire. Previous trade "iron-dresser" 5

Monthly return of changes which have taken place among the Out Pensioners of Chelsea and Greenwich Hospitals and those belonging to the East India Company in the Bolton District from 1 April to 30 April 1858:
Pensioners Newly Admitted to Out-Pension:
Regt.: 96th;
Rate of Pension: 6;
Date of Admission to Out-Pension: 25th May 1857;
Rank: Private;
Name of Pensioner: John WALKER;
Rate on Which Pension Commences being paid in the District: 12 May 1858.
Remarks stating whether the pension is permanent or temporary: “Permanent”. 6

Under Pensions Renewed or Increased - in his record
PENSIONS CEASED BY DEATH
Regt.: 96th;
Rate of Pension: 9;
Date of Admission to Out-Pension: 25th May 1857;
Rank: Dr.,
Name of Pensioner: John WALKER;
Rate on Which Pension Commences being paid in the District: 12 May 1858.
Remarks stating whether the pension is permanent or temporary: “Permanent”.
Date of Decease: 15 May 1860, aged 35

From: Promotions, Reductions &etc. Rank and Periods of Service in each Rank.
Private: 23 Oct 1839 to 31 Dec 1843 (some of it was deemed under age and so only 1 year and 192 days were credited to him)
Drummer: 1 Jan 1844 to 27 May 1845,
28 May 1845, tried and sentenced for 28 days solitary confinement to 3 July 1845.
Released - Private: 4 July 1845 to 14 August 1850.
Promoted - Corporal 15th August 1850 to 16 Nov 1854.
Absent 17th, confined 20th, tried 12th Dec 1854 for absence without leave, sentenced to be reduced and 10 days imprisonment.
Imprisoned - Private 13th December to 20th December 1854.
Released - Private 21st December 1854 to 18 July 1855.
Appointed - Drummer 19th July 1855 to 31 March 1857.
Total Service 14 years 211 days, then added -
Drummer 1 April 1857 to 24 April 1857 and 25 April to 26 May 1857 - final discharge = 14 years 267 days.

With regard to Character and Conduct:
They have been good and that he is in possession of two good conduct badges. He was tried by a District Ct Marshall on 10th June 1845 for insubordination, sentenced 28 days imprisonment. Again 12th Dec 1854 for absence without leave and being drunk. Sentenced to be reduced from Corporal & ten days imprisonment.
He served in Australia for 8yrs 11 mths and East Indies for 5yrs 1 mth.
At the age of 33 he was described as being of 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a sallow complexion, having blue eyes and light hair.
Medical Report (discharged as unfit for service).
Has seventeen years service of which thirteen is foreign in New South Wales and India - suffers from bleeding piles. Invalided from India for Dysentry. Worn out in the services.
Cannot march and unable to carry his pack.

Medical Officer's Opinion: Chatham May 6th 1857
Having examined drummer John Walker I am of the opinion that he is unfit for further service his constitution being impaired by haemorrhage from internal haemarrhoids of long standing. 7

John had been appointed as a Drummer by then and was promoted to Corporal shortly after their arrival in India, a rank he was subsequently demoted from some four years later after being absent for 17 days. Despite that, his general behaviour with the Army earned him two good conduct medals, over his fifteen years, but he was afflicted with ill-health for much of his service, dying at the age of only thirty-six in his home town of Bolton. He had returned to England alone. Priscilla's own health had been affected by the harsh conditions in India, and without even reaching her 20th birthday, Priscilla died and was buried in Lahore on 10 October 1851,8 leaving no record of having had any children.

  • 1. AOT : Marriage Registration - RGD 1847/898/37
  • 2. UK National Archives - WO12/9624 to 9628 - General Muster Lists and Pay Books, 96th Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion - Public Record Office, Kew
  • 3. INDIA - Inquirer (Perth, WA : 1840 - 1855) 15 October 1851: p3
  • 4. Kitzmiller II; John In Search of the Forlorn Hope: A Comprehensive Guide to Locating British Regiments and Their Records. 1640-WWI. Two Volume Set. ISBN-13: 9780961926038 ISBN-10: 0961926031 Publisher: Manuscript Pub Foundation December 1988
  • 5. UK National Archives - WO97/1668 - Royal Hospital Chelsea: Soldiers Service Documents. 1855-1872: discharge papers arranged by regiment and range of surname. (WO 97/1272-1721). Infantry. 96th Regiment of Foot - Public Record Office, Kew
  • 6. UK National Archives - WO22, Pensions Paid, piece #6 - Public Record Office, Kew
  • 7. UK National Archives - WO97/1668 - Royal Hospital Chelsea: Soldiers Service Documents. 1855-1872: discharge papers arranged by regiment and range of surname. (WO 97/1272-1721). Infantry. 96th Regiment of Foot - Public Record Office, Kew
  • 8. India Deaths and Burials, 1719-1948, database, FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGLL-NN1