The Black Soldiers of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiments 1782-1831 (John D Ellis)
Marking Black History Month 2020, we’re publishing a series posts by John D Ellis, researcher, historian and educator specialising in race and ethnicity in Britain and Ireland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. John’s research sheds light on little-known stories of black soldiers serving with the forerunners to the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
This final part looks at the stories of a few individual soldiers identified through the study.
John has supplied the museum with full biographies and references for each individual identified by his research in addition to his article, and has identified potentially the largest black presence (including both soldiers and their families, but not assuming ethnicity simply based upon place of birth) confirmed by any similar study of the UK during this period of history.
Biographical Details of the Black Soldiers of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiments
1st and 2nd Battalions of the 14th (Buckinghamshire) Foot.
Private Francis Burton. Born in Africa c.1774. A labourer. Enlisted in Chatham in 1792.
Private Marcus Cato. Born in Africa c.1795. A labourer. Enlisted in 1809. Died in Malta, 1812.
Private James Charles. Born in Grenada c.1775. A carpenter. Enlisted in 1802.
Private John Cummings. Born in Calcutta c.1775. A labourer. Served 1782-1822. Discharged on a pension.
Private Fuset Felix. Born in Guadeloupe c.1785. A labourer. Enlisted in 1816. Died in Malta, 1816.
Private John Harry. Born in St Vincent c.1777. A labourer. Enlisted in Trinidad in 1797. Discharged in 1804.
Private Emanuel John. Born in St Vincent c.1778. A cook. Enlisted in 1799.
Private William John. Recorded as “A Black Man”. Died in 1805.
Private Mune Louis. Born in the Congo, Africa c.1789. A labourer. Enlisted in Malta in 1816. Discharged in London in 1818.
Private John Parr. Born in Guinea, Africa. A labourer. Appears in the inspection books for 1791-1802 and 1803-1812.
Private William Thomas. Born in Madagascar c.1791. A labourer. Served 1815-1831. (All service in the East Indies). Discharged on a pension. Believed to have settled in Wales in the early 1850s.
1st and 2nd Battalions of the 43rd (Monmouthshire) Foot (Light Infantry). Later the 1st Battalion the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
Private Charles Arundell. Born in St Kitts c.1789. A labourer. Served in Tarbet’s Fencibles 1799-1801. Served in the 43rd 1806-1822, as both company and battalion bugler at Copenhagen, in the Peninsula, at New Orleans and the Capture of Paris. Discharged on a pension in 1822. Re-enlisted and served in the 69th Foot, 1827-1838. Served six years in the West Indies. Discharged on a pension for a second time in 1838. Settled in Chatham, Kent. Died in 1842.
Private William Davis. Born in Boston, USA c.1788. A labourer. Enlisted in Colchester in 1809. Discharged on a pension in 1821.
Private John Freeman. Born in Barbados c.1785. A labourer. Served in the “Plymouth Division” of the Royal Marines 1800-1815. Enlisted in the 43rd in 1815 by Private William Davis. Died in the Regimental Hospital at Valencienne, France in 1818.
Private John Jackson. Born in Wilmington, Virginia, USA c.1762. A labourer. Served in the 43rd 1810-1812, and was wounded in the head (probably whilst serving in the Peninsular). Transferred to the 3rd Veterans and was discharged on a pension in 1814. Settled in London. Transported to Tasmania for life in 1821. Shot dead in Hobart in 1824.
Private JP Liberoupe. Born in Martinique c.1789. A servant on a French man-of-war captured by the Royal Navy off St Domingo c.1806. Recruited from amongst the French POWs held in Portsmouth by the 43rd in late 1806.
Private Gibeon Lippett. Born on Rhode Island, USA c.1779. A sailmaker. Enlisted in Dublin in 1796. A Private in the band at Copenhagen, in the Peninsula, at New Orleans and the Capture of Paris. Discharged on a pension in 1826. Probably settled in Gibraltar.
The 52nd (Oxfordshire) Foot. Later the 2nd Battalion the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
Private William Booth. Born in Wallajabad, East Indies c.1790. A labourer. The son of Private Henry Booth of the 52nd Foot and Nella Tanjah. Served in the 52nd Foot (1795-1798), 77th Foot (1798-1819) and 86th Foot (1819-1825). All of his service was in the East Indies. Discharged on a pension in 1825. Died in Madras in 1863.
Private John Bunter. Born in Canada. Served in the 52nd sometime in the early 1800s.
Private John Fitzhenry. Born in Jamaica c.1780. A labourer. Served in the 52nd 1798-1802. Re-enlisted in the 14th Light Dragoons in Bath, Somerset in 1803 and served until 1825. Whilst serving in Hounslow Barracks in 1822, Fitzhenry was robbed by a fellow Jamaican, Private David Delaney of the Scots Fusilier Guards. Discharged on a pension in 1825. John Fitzhenry and his wife and children settled in London, where he died in 1842.
Private Thomas Hagar. Born in the East Indies. A labourer. Served in the 52nd 1796 to 1798, then transferred to the 77th Foot where he served until discharged on a pension whilst stationed in Galway, Ireland in 1816. A married man.
Private Francis Johnson. Born in North America. A button-maker. Served in the 52nd sometime in the early 1800s.
Private Richard Lisles. Born in Washington, USA c.1791. A labourer. Enlisted in the 52nd in Canterbury in 1815. Served in the band. Drowned in the river Humber, Hull in 1820.
Private John Williams. Born in Malta. A labourer. Enlisted in Deal, Kent in 1809. Deserted at Shorncliffe in 1812.