Saturday, 11 January 2014

Henry Walter Carpenter - 17th Lancers

Henry Walter Carpenter was the son of Henry Carpenter and Mary Ann Caroline Impey.   He was born at Wandsworth, Surrey, England on the 16th of March 1852.
Henry joined the Army on the 7th of March 1872, specifically the 17th Lancers (Duke of Cambridge's Own) at Westminster, Middlesex.
According to his Army records, he was five foot, seven and a half inches tall, with a fair complexion and brown eyes and brown hair.

His postings in the Army were as follows:

                                     1872     Longford, Eire. (situated between Sligo and Dublin)
                                     1873     Ballinally 
                                     1874     Dublin
                                     1875     Dundalk County, Louth Eire
                                     1876     Dublin
                                     1877     Aldershot, Hampshire
                                     1878    Preston, Lancashire
                                     1879    Hounslow, London

On the 26th of February 1879, Henry’s regiment, the 17th Lancers, embarked for South Africa and the Zulu War.   The regiment arrived in South Africa on the 7th of April 1879.   On the 4th of July 1879 British forces won the decisive battle of Ulundi, which virtually brought an end to the Zulu War.

The 17th's Charge at Ulundi

A Wm. Britains 17th Lancer in Field Dress, 1879
Many Thanks to my Mate Billy, who kindly surprised me with the above model!

   On the 19th of October 1879 the 17th Lancers departed South Africa for India, arriving on the 11th of November 1879.   
As the 17th Lancers were a cavalry regiment, Henry was employed at the Regimental Riding School at Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, as an Assistant Rough.   On completion of 12 years, 57 days service, Henry discharged from the Army on the 2nd of May 1884 at Poona in East India (south east of Bombay).
On his discharge from the Army, Henry received high commendation from his superior officers.   The Riding Instructor of the 17th Lancers stated,  "Pte. H.W. Carpenter has been employed in the Regimental Riding School as Assistant Rough and is a First Class Horseman and Instructor.   Having claimed his discharge at the expiration of his service I can safely recommend him and I am very sorry to part with him ”.

An Assistant Rough (Rider) was responsible for breaking and training remount horses for the regiment.

The following are his Army particulars:

                                       Army Number       1444
                                       Rank       Private
                                       Name       Henry Walter Carpenter
                                       Regiment       17th Lancers (Duke of Cambridge’s Own)
                                       Length of Service      12 Years 57 Days
                                       Service Abroad       5 Years 68 Days
                                       Medals and Clasps East Africa 1879
                                       Conduct and Character     Two Good Conduct Badges and
                                                                                        4th Class School Certificate.

On his discharge from the Army, Henry Carpenter was furnished with a passage to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, at the cost to the State of two hundred and fifty rupees. 

 Henry settled in the suburb of Richmond soon after arriving in Melbourne.   He quickly obtained a position as a groom, which is understandable noting that his army life was closely associated with horses and that he was a “ First Class Horseman and Instructor ”.
On the 22nd of October 1887, Henry Walter Carpenter, married Ellen Brown, in the Free Church of England, Moor Street, Fitzroy.   Ellen Brown was the daughter of William Brown, a bootmaker, and Ellen Stewart, both of New York, America.   The Browns appear to have emigrated to Australia about 1867.   Ellen Brown was employed as a servant and lived in South Melbourne.   

And the rest is history!

If you have read this narrative to this point, you have probably realised that it has got nothing to do with scratchbuilding tanks.   Henry Walter Carpenter was my  Maternal Great Grandfather.
Though my mother or I never knew him, my late Aunt described him as kindly old man who taught her how to read and count.

Amongst other things, one of my interests is Family History and it has been said that Ancestors who served in the Military are the flowers on your family tree.   Their lives are usually well documented so you can get a better feel for the person.

As time goes by I hope to indulge myself further and post more tributes to my Ancestors who served.

Henry Walter Carpenter
1852 - 1930



  1. That was very interesting Col. I only found out after they were all dead that all six of my grandfathers brothers served during the Great War, wish I'd had a chance to get some of this sort of information out of them for posterity. Great stuff!

    1. Thanks Al. A common lament, I know what you mean. As Moby said "Hang on to people, they're slipping away".