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Henry Marfleet

Quartermaster Sergeant

 Indian Mutiny Medal 1857-58 (This actual medal was awarded to Pte. William Ormerod 34th Foot) Henry was baptised at the parish church of Lincoln St Mark on the 25th March 1838, the illegitimate son of 24 year-old Mary Marfleet. Two years later, during the first quarter of 1840, Mary's marriage to John HUMBLE was registered in the district of Stockton but there is no evidence so far uncovered to suggest that Henry went to Stockton with his mother. Indeed the 1841 Census shows that Henry, aged 3 years, was living with his maternal grandparents, William Marfleet 55 years of age and Jane his 55 year-old wife and three of their grown-up daughters, Hannah, Sarah and Ann, at St Mark's Place, Lincoln.

The1851 Census shows that Henry was still living with his grandparents at 1 St. Mark's Place, Lincoln. He was described as a 13 year-old scholar.

On the 8th January 1855 Henry enlisted in the 6/14 Royal Artillery. Although about 17 years old he gives his age as 15 years and his next of kin as Sarah Marfleet. The records do not show it but she was one of his aunts, his mother's elder sister. Over the next few years, although the unit designation was to change on more than one occasion, Henry always remained with the same unit.

The Company left Woolwich on the 12th August 1857 and travelled via the Mediterranean and Egypt, arriving in Madras on the 6th November 1857. They left Madras for the Saugor District on the 23rd January 1858, marching via Kampti to arrive at Jubbulpore where they joined the Saugor Field Force. Their first action took place at Kubrae on the 17th April 1858 with the battle of Banda taking place the next day. On the 27th April 1858 they were billeted in Kirwi and they were not in action again until the action at Nyegaon on the 13th August, followed by action at Chitrakote on the 27th August and Penghali on the 4th September 1858. Various members took part in other actions but these are the only ones that Henry is confirmed as taking part in. Corporal Henry Marfleet was awarded the India Mutiny Medal 1857-58 whilst serving with the 6th Company of the 14th Battalion Royal Artillery. The company remained in garrison at Saugor until they went on to China.

It was early in 1860 that the Battery sailed to Calcutta and on the 29th March boarded the troop ship Merchantman for Hong Kong. They arrived on the 23rd April and remained until 16th May when they sailed on to Talienwan Bay where they landed at the smaller Odin Bay. On the 21st July they sailed north to land at Pei-tang on the 1st August 1860. They moved against the Taku Forts on 20th August which were captured as was Tientsin on the 23rd August. On the 12th September they moved to Peking which surrendered on the 13th October 1860. The Battery then went into garrison at Shanghai until they returned to India. Henry is shown in the rolls as being with the Battery in June 1862, his number at that time was 1214 and he was a Corporal.

In China the Battery were split in detachments, some served with General Gordan against the rebels, others went as legation guards to Japan. Poor Henry seems to have drawn the short straw and spent much of his time in garrison at the Taku Forts until he was withdrawn back to Shanghai. He was awarded the Taku Forts medal.

Landing back in Bombay on the 28th July 1865, they remained there until September when they moved to Kirkee and then on to Sholapore where they stayed until December 1866 when they moved to Hyderabad. In Late October 1867 they moved from Hyderabad back to Bombay and on to Abyssinia where they landed on the 4th January 1868 (approx.). On Easter Sunday 12th April 1868 they took Magdala and six days later were on their way back to the coast to return to India.

Sometime around 1868/9, whilst still in India, Henry married Mary Ann and they had one child, a son whom they named Harry. Harry was born at Ahmednuggar, where the 7th Battery of the 14th Bn of the Royal Artillery were stationed, in 1869. In December 1869 the 14th Bn. of RA had batteries spread all over India (bar D Battery at Leith Fort). The 'A' (or 1st Bty) were stationed at Bangalore, 'B' at Secunderabad, 'C' at Kamptee, 'E' at Deolali, 'F' at Nasirabad, 'G' at Ahmednuggar and 'H' at Ahmedabad. The whole Battalion sailed back to England and took up station at Woolwich in 1870.

The 14th Bde. RA musters show that Henry, No. 1214, was a Battery Quartermaster Sergeant in July of 1871, married to Mary Ann, with one child. The Coastal Brigade musters (WO 10/2830) show that he then transferred to the Coastal Brigade on the 13th July 1871 and was allocated the Coastal Brigade No. 4364 but he never actually joined them. He was attached to the 2nd Depot Brigade, Woolwich, when he died there on the 12th September 1871. His death was registered during the third quarter of 1871 in the district of Woolwich. Henry was 33 years of age although the registration index shows 32 years.

Nothing much is known of Mary Ann. The Military History Sheet for son Harry Marfleet gives an interesting fact. The style of writing for the entry 'Name and Address of Next of Kin' is very similar to that of the person who made the first entry in 1883. The name and address given is: Mother Mrs. M. Marfleet Her Majesty Prison St. Albans. The 1891 Census for St. Alban's records Mary Ann Marfleet, Warder at St. Alban's Prison, 40 years of age and a widow, who was born at Kidderminster in Worcestershire. Harry's 'Intended Residence on Discharge' in 1895 is given as 3 Park Corner, St. Albans, Herts. and this would go some way to explaining how he came to end up in Hertfordshire. The 1881 Census confirms her place of birth as Kidderminster and records Mary Ann Marfleet, a 30 year old widow, as a nurse at the Royal Portsmouth Portsea & Gosport Hospital, Portsea. There is a marriage of a Mary Ann Marfleet in the registration district of Portsea in the third quarter of 1891.

Grateful thanks to Kevin Asplinand John Pinnion for their valuable assistance given in compiling this short history.
China War Medal (Taku Forts 1860)
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