Napoleon Series Archive 2004

Re: Pensions
In Response To: Re: Lieutenant's pay? ()

Bill & Jerry,

Sorry, the first posting gave the wrong impression on retired full pay.

There was no retirement pension for officers in the British Army at the time. The pension for wounds would be more in the line of compensation for being wounded. Of course, as with anything affecting the British Army there are probably anomalies in how the systems in place worked.

Until 1814, officers holding general rank were not paid in their grade unless placed upon the staff. In some cases they received only the half-pay of their last substantive regimental rank and others held full pay commissions in their regiment, but obviously did not serve with it. Hence the system of sinecures of Regimental Colonel, Garrisons and Governorship to supplement their income. Again such an officer could receive half-pay, a colonelcy, a governship and be on the staff collecting income, pay and allowances for all of them at the same time.

One of the features of the purchase system for Army commissions which survived until 1871 was that Army officers were not entitled to a pension as a right. Officers wishing to retire either sold their commissions, recouping their investment or went on half pay. The half pay system was introduced in 1641 for officers of reduced or disbanded regiments. During the eighteenth century any surplus on half pay was used to pay pensions to officers unfit for service. Half pay became a retaining fee paid to the officer, so long as he held a commission and was in theory, if not in practice, available for future service; although from 1811 there was provision for its payments to officers unfit for service.

Those who had not purchased their rank were permitted to sell it after 20 years of satisfactory service, to compensate themselves for the fact that there were no pensions.

Few officers, mainly those with a letter of service for raising an invalid or a veteran corps, were entitled to retired full pay. Some senior officers of the disbanded Royal Irish Artillery also received retired full pay.

To further complicate the terminology, purchase officers retired; while those with free commissions resigned.

Although officers were not entitled to a pension, provision was made from 1708 for the payment of pensions to widows of officers killed on active service, at first from a fund created by placing two fictitious men in every company or troop, later from an annual grant. From 1818, fifteen annuities were also paid to widows of officers whose annual income did not exceed 30 a year out of a fund created by the will of Colonel John Drouly [Captain of Clowes Castle].

The Compassionate Fund was created to give relief to children of deceased officers who were incapable of maintaining themselves. The mother or guardian of the children had to swear an oath, that they were legitimate children of the deceased officer and that they had no other allowance, or pension from the government of Great Britain or Ireland and if they were claiming on behalf of a boy, that he was not 18 years of age or on behalf of a girl that she was not 21 years of age or married.

From 1720 pensions were paid from the Compassionate Fund and the Royal Bounty to children and dependent relatives of deceased officers.

The rankers promoted to officers would be treated the same, I believe. They did receive 50 from the Royal Patriotic Fund for initial expenses. The best example of the time would be Sir John Elley, KCB, KCH, KMT, &c. Lieutenant General and Colonel 7th Hussars. His father owned an eating house. He had joined as a trooper in 1789. Fortunately for Elley, he was able to purchase his advancement even in the fashionable Royal Regiment of Horse Guards. He was wounded at Salamanca and at Waterloo. He died in 1839. Did he receive a pension(s)?

Ron

Messages In This Thread

Gratuity for wounded British officers
Re: Gratuity for wounded British officers
Cox and Fitzmaurice
Re: Cox and Fitzmaurice
Re: Cox and Fitzmaurice
Re: Cox and Fitzmaurice
Other ranks in hospital
Re: Other ranks in hospital
Re: Cox and Fitzmaurice
Patriotic Fund
Re: Patriotic Fund
Re: Patriotic Fund
Re: Gratuity for wounded British officers
Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Pensions
Re: Pensions
Re: Lord Palmerston
Re: Lord Palmerston
Pensions, Colonelcies, Governorships, etc.
Re: Pensions, Colonelcies, Governorships, etc.
Re: Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Widow's Pension
Re: Lieutenant's pay?
Re: Napier and Pensions
Widow's mite