His Majesty's 55th
Regiment of Foot
Enlistment and Attestation
Regt. No.321 Private Charles Beswick of H.M. 55th (Westmorland) Regiment of Foot, born in the Parish of Stockport, in the County of Cheshire, by trade a labourer, joined the 55th Regiment as a recruit on the 17th of August 1820, at the age of eighteen years. His Attestation before Magistrate J. Norris took place at Manchester on the 19th of August 1820, and certified (other than the above) that Charles Beswick was 5 Feet, 6 Inches high, had a fair complexion and grey eyes. Charles Beswick testified that he had: "No Rupture, and was not troubled by fits, and was no ways disabled by lameness, deafness, or otherwise, but had the perfect use of his limbs and hearing, and was not an apprentice; and acknowledged that he had voluntarily enlisted himself, for the bounty of three Pounds to serve His Majesty King George the Fourth, his Heirs and Successors in the 55th Regiment of Foot until he should be legally discharged."
"The Third and Fourth Articles of the Second Section, and the First Article of the Sixth Section, of the Articles of War against Mutiny and Desertion were read over to him, and that he took the Oath of Fidelity mentioned in the said Articles of War, and also the Oath to the effect above set forth; and that he received the sum of 2 Shillings, 6 Pence on being attested."
Charles Beswick was also examined by a Surgeon of the 55th Regiment of Foot, who certified that:
"I have examined the above named Recruit, and find him fit for His Majesty's Service."
In 1822 Charles BESWICK accompanied the Service Companies to the Cape [Cape Town, South Africa] on board the transport 'Earl Balcarra', embarking Chatham, [see Charles BESWICK's schedule of movements from the quarterly muster returns] where he served 8 years and seven months and was present with the expedition to Kaffraria during 1828. In 1830, he accompanied the Service Companies to India where he served for 9 years and 2 months and was with the expedition against the Rajah of Coorg [Kodagu] during March and April 1834. [Harriet BESWICK was born in Bellary, India on 23 January 1834 to Corporal Charles BESWICK and Catherine MCNEIL].
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Promotions and Reductions of Rank|
According to his first record of service, Charles BESWICK was at the Rank of Private up to the period ending 31st December 1828, a total of 8 years, 137 days. He was promoted to Corporal on 10 September 1832 and remained at this rank for over 3 years. He was further promoted to Sergeant on 19 January 1836 and remained at this rank for more than 1 year until his reduction to Private on 20 June 1837. He remained at the rank of Private until he was discharged on 4 July 1840.
Disability and Discharge
The proceedings of a Regimental Board on the 15th December 1839, "Held in conformity to the Articles of War for the purpose of verifying and recording the services, conduct, character and cause of discharge", recorded that Charles BESWICK was of the age (by record), 37 years 108 days, and was of the age (by account), 38 years. His total Service in the 55th Regiment was for nineteen years, 106 days. Nine years, 60 days were served in India. Eight years, 202 days at the Cape of Good Hope, with the remaining time at home. The Regimental Board certified that:
"Private Charles BESWICK has laboured under acute and chronic Rheumatism almost constantly during the last [?] years, accompanied with lameness and total inability to march or perform any duty. He is therefore recommended to be sent home for change of climate. Disease contracted in Bellary in November 1835, without any known cause, but from its being preceded by Syphilitic [?] and Gonorrhea - is supposed to have originated in a Syphilitic taint in the constitution. Has been 12-months in hospital this last admission and has done [?] any duty for [?] years. This is a case of disease contracted in the service without being attributable to neglect, design, vice or intemperance. His conduct whilst a patient has always been exemplary, and he has done everything in his power to accelerate his recovery. Is a labourer by occupation."
"The Regimental Board is of the opinion that his general conduct has been that of a good soldier and efficient until the contraction of his present disease. He was reduced from Sergeant by sentence of a Court-martial for being 'drunk as Orderly-Sergeant of his Company', before and since, which time, his conduct has been excellent. He [?] wears 3 badges for good conduct since 2nd March 1839."
Pay and Clothing
"He has received all just demands from his entry into the service, up to the 20th [?November] 1839.