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Additions 12.03.12

1614, Private James DOLLEY - 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born in the parish of All Saints, Oxford, c.1819.


Enlisted into the 15th Light Dragoons at Queen's Square, London, on the 16th of February 1839. Regimental No. 658.

Age: 20 years 2 months.

Height: 5' 9".

Trade: Groom.

Features: Fresh complexion. Grey eyes. Brown hair.



There is something odd in the different Regimental numbers he is shown as having. He was given the number 1614 at the time of transfer from the 15th Light Dragoons and 1614 when going to the Crimea. He had none at all recorded for the first two quarters after his arrival in the Crimea, whereupon it changed to 1641. On the nominal roll of the Cavalry Depot at Scutari his number is given as 1604. The medal roll for the Scutari clasp to the Crimean medal leaves his Regimental number blank. 1614 (the first known number recorded, and the one in use at the time of his discharge) has been used to identify him here.

From Private to Corporal: 19th of February 1852.

Volunteered into the 13th Light Dragoons (as a Corporal) on the 24th of June 1854.

From Corporal to Sergeant, 19th of July 1854.

Embarked to join the Service troops 18th of April 1855.

Joined the regiment in the Crimea on the 23rd of May 1855.

Reduced to Private by a Regimental Court-martial on the 19th of June 1855. No reason shown.

Sent to Scutari on the 10th of October 1855 and is shown on a nominal roll made out on the 9th of November 1855 as : Doing 'Duty' at the Cavalry Depot at Scutari (ranked as a L/Corporal [sic] from the 20th of October 1855, but the Regimental muster roll as "Joining from the General Depot on the 31st of October 1855." From this he did not serve in Eupatoria with the regiment.

From Private to Corporal: 19th of February 1856.

Confined 19th-23rd of December and tried by Court-martial for being "Drunk on Guard Duty". He was sentenced to be reduced to Private, but this sentence was remitted, and he is shown as a Corporal again from the 27th of December 1856.

Tried and imprisoned for "absence" 19th-22nd of June and reduced to Private on the 23rd of June 1857.

From Private to Corporal: 1st of March 1858.

Marriage registered

James Dolley and Charlotte Ann Barrett, March Quarter 1858, in Newton Abbot.

Imprisoned for "drunkenness" 13th-17th of June 1858. Tried by Court-martial on the 18th of June and reduced to Private.

From Private to Corporal: 14th of August 1860.

Discharge & pension

Discharge & pension

Discharged from Aldershot, in consequence of his having 24 years service - "Free, to pension, at his own request," - on the 21st of March 1863. Authority of the Horse Guards dated the 18th of March 1863 dispenses with his appearance before a medical board at Chatham.

Four times entered in the Regimental Defaulter's book. Three times tried by Court-martial, one each by Detachment, Regimental and District Court-martial.

Served 24 years 25 days. In Turkey and the Crimea, 1 year. In the East Indies, 13 years 1 month.

Aged 44 years 2 months on discharge.

Conduct and character: "good".

Awarded a pension of 1/3d. per day, but this was increased to 23d. per day after 18 years' service as Staff Sergeant on the Permanent Staff of the Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry, dated the 28th of March 1882.


Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasp for Sebastopol and Turkish medal

Documents confirm the award of the Crimean medal with one clasp, and the Turkish medal.

A letter was sent from the Horse Guards, dated the 16th of November 1857, to the Officer Commanding the 13th Light Dragoons:

Sir, - In acknowledging the receipt of the proceedings of the Board held to enquire under which the man named in the margin ["1654 James Dolley"] lost his Crimean medal, I am directed to acquaint you that unless more complete and conclusive evidence can be addended that the loss being attributable to circumstances entirely beyond the man's control, then HRH cannot recommend the issue of a fresh medal at public expense. But I am at the same time to inform you that he may have a fresh one at his own expense if he so desires,

I have, etc. etc.,

W.A. Forster, DAG."

(There is nothing on the Sebastopol clasp medal roll to suggest that a fresh medal was ever issued.)

In possession of four Good Conduct badges and would be entitled to a fifth on the 3rd of June 1863.


Life after service

To live at Great Harwood, near Winslow, Buckinghamshire.

1871 Census

6, Wood Lane, Great Horwood, Bucks.

James Dolley, 48, Chelsea Pensioner, born All Saints, Oxford.

Charlotte A., 35, born Staverton, Devon.

1881 Census

The Cottage, Thornton, Buckinghamshire.

James Dolley, a Chelsea Pensioner and Drill Instructor, aged 58, born at Oxford, with his wife, Charlotte A., a Pensioner's Wife, aged 45, born at Staverton, Devonshire.

1891 Census

30, Wood Lane, Great Horwood, Bucks.

James Dolly [sic], 68, Army Pensioner, born All Saints, Oxford.

Charlotte, 55, born Staverton.

Death registered

James Dolley, 70, December Quarter 1892, at Winslow.

Charlotte Annie Dolley, 61, June Quarter 1897, at Buckingham.

Death & burial

Further Information

In January 2002 it was learnt that a watch found in a bureau bought at auction had been given to a family (not connected with Dolley) who now possess it. It was of a silver half-hunter type, still with the original key winder, and bearing the inscription:

"Presented to Serjeant James Dolley, 13th Hussars, on his leaving the regiment by his brother non-commissioned officers as a mark of respect and esteem, 13th March 1863."

References & acknowledgements

Registrations of marriage and death, and Census information for 1871 and 1891 kindly provided by Chris Poole.

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