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Added 31st May 2012. Last edited 19.1.2013.


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Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Edmund DOHERTY - 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born in Devonshire Place, Brighthelmstone, Sussex, on the 26th of May 1818, the son of Joseph Doherty, Captain in the 13th Light Dragoons, and his wife, nee Henchman, of Barnes, Surrey.

His parents had married at St. James's Church, Westminster, London, in June 1816, the ceremony being conducted by the Revd. James Moore, Rector of St. Pancras.

Joseph Doherty, 13th Light Dragoons [father]

Charles Docherty's father entered the 13th Light Dragoons in 1803 and served throughout the Peninsula campaign and at Waterloo, where he was wounded in the hand, received a musket-ball in the arm and a blow in the side from a sabre, but did not leave the field.

He died at Bangalore (Madras) in June 1820 (as a Major), aged 32 years, and was buried on the same day by the Revd. W. Thomas.

A "John" [sic] Doherty is commemorated, with five other officers of the 13th who died between 1820 and 1835, on two stone pillars, standing 45 feet high, opposite the entrance to the Agra Cemetery at Bangalore, where all are interred.

His elder brother, Edward, entered the 14th Light Dragoons in 1833, serving throughout the Punjab War. He brought out the squadrons at Ramnugger after Colonel Havelock had been killed. Appointed to a C.B. and on to half-pay in the 9th Foot in 1857.

For more about his uncle's and his grandfather's military careers, see Further information below.


Cornet in the 14th Light Dragoons: 24th of April 1835.

Lieutenant, 14th Dragoons: 6th of January 1837.

Captain in the 13th Light Dragoons: 29th of January 1840.

Marriage registered

Charles Edmond [sic] Doherty to Helena Anne Shute, June Quarter 1841, Southampton.


Major, 13th Light Dragoons: 23rd of June 1845.

1851 Census

25, Green Park, Walcot, Bath.

Charles Doherty, aged 32, Major in the Army, born Brighton.

Helena Doherty, 32, born Christchurch.

They were staying with his aunt, who employed four servants.


Lieutenant-[Colonel?], 13th Light Dragoons: 12th of October 1852.

Colonel, 13th Light Dragoons: 28th of November 1854.

Retired, by the sale of his commission, on the 3rd of May 1859.

Campaign service

Colonel Doherty commanded the 13th Light Dragoons during the Eastern campaign of 1854-55, including the affairs of the Bulganak and MacKenzie's Farm, battles of the Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman, the Tchernya and the Siege and fall of Sebastopol. He was also present with the Light Brigade in Eupatoria. (Medal and four Clasps and the 5th Class Order of the Medjidie.)

Although granted the clasp for Balaclava he did not take part in the Charge, he being shown as "Sick". He was "Absent, with leave, to England, from the 10th of December 1854 to the 25th of February 1855."

[To] Colonel Doherty, 13th Light Dragoons, Hill Villa, Southampton.

"Horse Guards,

9th February 1856,

Sir, - I have the honour, by direction of the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 6th inst., and to acquaint you that the General Officer commanding the South West District has been requested to instruct the Staff Surgeon to visit you at your residence in order that a report may be made upon your state of health for his Lordship's consideration.

I have, etc. etc.,

W. A. Forster, DAG.


Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol and the Turkish Medal. Was also awarded the Order of the Medjidie, 5th Class.

From the United Services Gazette, July 2nd 1859:

"On his retirement Lieutenant Colonel Doherty was presented by the Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the regiment with a magnificent piece of plate representing a young Spaniard dancing to the castanets under a luxurious grapevine placed on a suitable plateau and bearing on one side the following inscription,

'Presented to Colonel Charles Edmund Doherty by the Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates of the 13th Light Dragoons as a token of their esteem on the occasion of his retirement from the regiment.'

On the other side was the Colonel's crest and the third side bearing the emblem of the Maltese Cross with the motto and honours of the regiment.

The officers and men having assembled in the barrack yard and forming three sides of a square, with a table in the centre, on which rested the handsome present, awaited their late Colonel.

On his appearance the Band struck up, 'See the Conquering Hero Comes', and having ceased playing, the Regimental Sergeant Major stepped to the front, and addressed the Colonel in these words:

'Colonel Doherty, I feel highly honoured to be deputed to present to you in the name of the Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the regiment which you so lately and for so long commanded, a piece of plate as a token of their respect and also to read to you their address,

"To Colonel Charles Edmund Doherty, we, the Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the 13th Light Dragoons, beg to present you with this testimonial as a token of their sincere regard for you and we can in all truth assure you that it is with the most heartfelt regret that we see you taking your departure from the old Corps which you were born and served in for the long period of 19 years.

We trust that it will be a source of gratification in after years that when you look on this trifling proof of our attachment, to know that not one single man in the recollection of the oldest soldier here present was ever known to have entertained any feelings other than those of the highest respect and most faithful devotion towards you.

There is not a single individual in this regiment but that hopes God may preserve your life for very many more years, and we also hope that you will be kind enough to convey our wishes to Mrs Doherty that you may both live a long life with happiness"'"

This presentation was made at Island Bridge Barracks, Dublin, on the 16th of June 1859.

Life after service

On leaving the Army he had at first lived at "Clarion", Kenilworth Road, Leamington.

1861 Census

28, Rutland Gate, Westminster.

Charles Doherty, 41, son-in law, Cavalry Officer, born Brighton.

He was visiting his mother-in-law, Charlotte Shute, Fund holder, born Calcutta, British Subject. Four servants are also shown.


7, Seymour Sq, Walcot, Bath.

Helena A Doherty, Head, married, agd 42, wife of Colonel C Doherty, born Christchurch.

One Servant is shown.

Death & burial

Died on the 14th of August 1866 at 51, King's Road, Brighton, Sussex, from "Heart Disease - for several years", aged 48 years. He was buried in Grave No. XM. 10183 in the Extra-Mural Cemetery at Brighton, Sussex.

His wife, Helena Ann, died at Hove, Sussex, on the 4th of February 1872, aged 55 years.

Deaths registered

Charles E Doherty, 48, September Quarter 1866, Brighton.

Helena A Doherty, 53, March Quarter 1872, Steyning.

Tomb of Charles and Helena Docherty in the Extra-mural Cemetery, Brighton.

His tomb (and that of his wife, who was buried next to him) are now [1983] completely overgrown with ivy to a matted thickness of 6-8 inches and only enough was disturbed to verify who was buried there. The memorials themselves (of pink granite) are however still in almost perfect condition underneath their covering. [Photo by EJB, probably taken 1983.]

[PB: What is their current condition?]

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Extract from a book written on the cemetery and on some of those buried there:

"He was a fine soldierly-looking gentleman, and to all appearances in robust health - but without a moment's warning and within an hour of his first attack (we believe, from heart disease) - he was a corpse."

Further information

Sr Patrick Doherty [grandfather]

His grandfather, Sir Patrick Doherty, served in the ranks of the 13th Light Dragoons from June of 1783 and purchased a cornetcy in the regiment in April of 1794, serving in the regiment throughout his career until his retirement as its Colonel in 1818.

At the time of being commissioned he was a Troop Quartermaster, and became Paymaster of the regiment 1794-97. He first saw campaign service, as a captain, when he sailed for the West Indies in February of 1796, and of the fourteen commissioned officers who sailed with him only he and three others were spared by yellow fever to return home.

He served throughout the Peninsular War, taking command of the regiment on several occasions before retaining it in April of 1813. He was awarded a gold medal for the battle of Vittoria and later, in July of 1815, a "gold clasp" in commemoration of the battle of Orthes, to be worn upon the ribbon of the Vittoria medal. At this battle, on the 27th of February 1814, he and his two sons [PB: names?] rode side by side into action, something which has seldom, if ever, happened in the British Army.

Going with the regiment to France in 1815, Colonel Doherty was too ill with ague and fever on the morning of the 16th of June, when the order to march arrived. About noon, however, he managed to mount his horse, and with an assistant surgeon, made an endeavour to follow the regiment in the vain hope of being able to join. Later that day he was in such a state of complete exhaustion that the doctor had him removed back to Brussels.

He resumed the command in August and received the C.B. in September of that year. In January 1835 he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order, the Knighthood being conferred on him by King William IV at a full levee held at St. James's Palace in June of 1836, but died at Bath in January 1837.

A most industrious diarist, his papers are now in the possession of the regiment, these having been found in a South coast second-hand book shop by a former Colonel of the regiment.

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The 123 numbered pages, in Doherty's neat and legible hand, covering the history of the 13th Light Dragoons from the regiment's formation in 1715 until 1816, with over 100 pp. dedicated to its part in the Peninsular War and Waterloo, with numerous text revisions; unusually other ranks are mentioned by name as well as officers, particularly in respect of major actions, thus a detailed account of the controversial action at Campo Major with list of casualties and the action at Olivenza, where the regiment was surprised by the French in a night sortie and many taken prisoner, all of whom are listed, including those who escaped a few weeks later; the only major incident not described - on account no doubt of Doherty being on sick leave at the time - is the murder of Lieutenant King under a flag of truce by Spanish irregulars near Badajoz, the paper in two sizes folio and 4to and watermarked 'Britannia J. Stevens' and dated 1810, 1813 and 1814, pages once stitched but now loose with dust staining and some wear in places.


In his History of the XIII Hussars, published in 1911, C.R.B. Barrett stated:

'Colonel Patrick Doherty was a most industrious diarist as far as military matters are concerned. His papers, bound in a volume, are now in possession of his old regiment, and have been of the greatest use in the compilation of this book ... It should be recorded, if only as an example to others to secure if possible regimental relics for their regiment, that this collection of papers was, the writer understands, found by chance by Colonel H.J. Blagrove, C.B., late 13th Hussars. He unearthed it in a second-hand bookshop or curio dealers in a southern seaport. Handsomely bound, it was presented by him to the regiment, and is one among their most cherished possessions.'

To those papers may now be added the above described draft history, possibly an earlier account undertaken by Doherty.

In respect of Doherty's distinguished career, C. R. B. Barrett stated:

'He saw service first when he sailed with his regiment for the West Indies in February 1796. He was then a Captain, and of the fourteen commissioned officers who sailed with him, he and three others alone were spared by yellow fever to return home. His relative Cornet Doherty died. An exhaustive search fails to discover whether Patrick Doherty ever held the rank of either Cornet or Ensign.

His exploits in the Peninsula and what ill-luck befell him in the Waterloo campaign are written elsewhere [PB: follow up?]. For the battle of Vittoria he received a medal, 28 January 1814, and on 1 July 1815 'a gold clasp' in commemoration of the battle of Orthes, to be worn on the ribbon of the Vittoria medal.

On 19 September 1815, Colonel Doherty was honoured by a Companionship of the Bath. On 13th January 1835 he was nominated and appointed a Knight Commander of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order. Knighthood was conferred on him by William IV, at a full levee held at St. James's Palace on 24 June 1836.

Probably the greatest grief of the fine old soldier's life was the fact that owing to a most severe attack of ague he was unable to be present on the glorious field of Waterloo. His two sons, Joseph and Gregory, who had served with their father throughout both campaigns, were both wounded. Elsewhere, it has been written how the three Dohertys, father and sons, charged side by side on one occasion, a spectacle probably not seen since the days of the great Rebellion, perhaps even not since the Wars of the Roses.'

The Colonel died at Bath in January 1837.

George Doherty [uncle]

His uncle, George Doherty, also served in the 13th Light Dragoons from 1805, before transferring to the 19th Light Dragoons in 1818. He too served in the Peninsula and at Waterloo, where he was severely wounded by a grape-shot contusion of the groin, which only missed killing him by being deflected by his watch. He had taken the watch from his fob-pocket, but was unable to replace it directly and it was swinging from the chain. The watch, a double-cased one, was flattened. He was also severely wounded in the head by a musket-shot.

References & acknowledgements

Additional marriage and death registrations, and Census information for 1851 and 1861, kindly provided by Chris Poole.

doherty_c_13LD/doherty_c_13LD_address_on_leaving_regiment_photo_17_400.jpg doherty_c_13LD/doherty_c_13LD_address_on_leaving_regiment_photo_17_2000.jpg doherty_c_13LD/doherty_c_13LD_drawing_of_13LD_private_XIIIth_Hussars_Vol_1-4.pdf doherty_c_13LD/doherty_c_13LD_ILN_presentation_photo_10_400.jpg doherty_c_13LD/doherty_c_13LD_ILN_presentation_photo_10_2000.jpg https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/80852022/person/320046729672/facts?ssrc=
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