LIVES OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
The E.J. Boys Archive
ROYAL MILITARY ASYLUM, CHELSEA
[PB (11.9.2013, 27.2.2014): I have quickly checked EJB's original Word document for the phrase "royal military asylum" but only as far as 912 Edward Latter, 11th Hussars. There are likely to be many more names to add. Other phrases may yield even more? Links also need adding.
(27.2.2014) We have very generously been sent a considerable amount of information by Art Cockrill and Peter Goble, who formerly ran the www.achart.ca website devoted to the histories of the Duke of York's and Hibernian military schools. This site is no longer being developed but may still be available as an archive. This info to be integrated.]
The Asylum shortly after construction. It is unlikely that life for the boys was ever as idyllic as this scene suggests. See, for example, descriptions of duties and punishments at http://www.achart.ca/duke-of-york.htm.
Founded in 1803, the school's original purpose was to educate the orphans of British servicemen killed in the Napoleonic Wars of 1793-1815.
Between 1803 and 1909 the Royal Military Asylum was located near the Royal Hospital Chelsea at what is now known as the Duke of York's Headquarters (which currently serves as the Saatchi Gallery). Initially a co-educational boarding school (girls were removed to a sister asylum in Southampton in 1823), it was renamed The Duke of York's Royal Military School in 1892, and in 1909 relocated to Dover, Kent, where it still functions - incidentally, it returned to co-education in 1994.
A number of soldiers in the Light Brigade, or their sons or other close relations, are known to have attended the Asylum, including:
- Captain William Ennis, 11th Hussars (entered 1820)
- Brother of 1218 John Fenton, 13th Light Dragoons (before 1824)
- 392 William Gray (1824)
- 669 William Howarth, 13th Light Dragoons (1825)
- 416 Henry Joy, 17th Lancers (1825)
- 914 John Keates (1825)
- 912, Private Edward Latter - 11th Hussars (1827)
- 1168 John Penn, 17th Lancers (1830)
- 1247, Thomas Lovelock - 4th Light Dragoons (1839)
- 1402 Charles Collingwood, 13th Light Dragoons (1843)
- 1518 William Haas, 4th Light Dragoons (1843)
- James Hefferon, 8th Hussars (1844)
- 1543 Robert Issart/Issett, 8th Hussars, and two brothers (1846, 1847)
- 1077 Robert Nichol (1848)
- Two brothers of 1575 George Field. He himself was educated at the Royal Hibernian School, Dublin (1852)
- Son of 1071 Joseph Hunniball (1854)
- Sone of 431 John Dyer (1855)
- Son of 815 Richard Pope (1855)
- Two sons of 952 Charles Price, 13th Light Dragoons (1855, 1862)
- Nephew of 1560 Thomas Blamiers, 13th Light Dragoons (1856)
- Son of 831 William Fowler (1859)
- Son of 1021 Edward O'Brien, 4th Light Dragoons (1859)
- Son of 525 Martin Guill
- Son of 1139 William Henry Thorpe (1863>
- 1158 John Wiltshire, 8th Hussars (1865)
- Son of 1673 Henry Tyrer, 13th Light Dragoons (1866)
- Son of 489 John Gannon, 8th Hussars (1867)
- Son of 977 James Edmunds, 17th Lancers (about 1869)
- Son of 1215 William Waterson, 4th Light Dragoons (1870)
- Son of 1515 Charles Warren, 13th Light Dragoons (1871)
- Son of 1533 Henry Hunt, 13th Light Dragoons (1878)
- Son of 1532 Charles Henry Hawtrey White, 4th Light Dragoons (1878)
- Sons of 1445 George Gowings, 4th Light Dragoons (1878)
- Son of 1401 Albert Mitchell, 13th Light Dragoons (1879)
- Son of 986 Martin Lanfried, 17th Lancers (1887)
- [List in progress...]
Staff et al
Surgeon John Crosse, 11th Hussars was Medical Officer to the School, 1866-1881.
1584 Nathan Henry, 11th Hussars trained here to be a regimental schoolmaster (1851).
Images from an article that appeared in The Graphic, 28 May 1888, shortly after our period. The last image, Orderly Boys, illustrates how "Life in the Duke of York's School is carried on in strict military style." The "monitorial system" adopted, where older boys exercised authority over younger ones, was also modelled on Public Schools of the day.
[Philip Boys, 7 April 2012]