|PAYMASTER AND HONORARY LT. COL.
14th Light Dragoons
William Fetherstonhaugh was commissioned as an Ensign by purchase in the 48th
Regiment on the 8th of January, 1841. He was recommended for a commission
in the Army by Lieutenant General Lord FitzRoy Somerset, K.C.B., Military
Secretary to the Commander in Chief, at the request of William’s uncle, James
Welsh, J.P., late Captain 5th Regiment, who had previously served under the
General during the Peninsula War. William’s commission was purchased at a cost
of four hundred and fifty pounds, a substantial sum of money at the time.
William was promoted to Lieutenant in the 48th Regiment, again by purchase, on
the 29th of March, 1844, at a cost of 250 pounds. Strangely, in June of 1849,
William was recommended by the War Office for an appointment as Paymaster
in the 59th Regiment. Generally speaking, during the Victorian era, regimental
Paymasters were typically former sergeants who had been commissioned from the
ranks, either for good service or gallantry, and not officers already holding the
Queen’s commission as a Lieutenant.
As a result, it would appear that the acceptance of an appointment as Paymaster
may be seen as a step down in status for Lieutenant Fetherstonhaugh. The
explanation for this change in position may be as simple as Lieutenant
Fetherstonhaugh having needed the additional pay that came with an appointment
In 1851, William transferred to the 14th Light Dragoons as Paymaster, with the
substantive rank of Lieutenant. The regiment was then stationed in Meerut, India.
During the Indian Mutiny William Fetherstonhaugh served with the 14th Light Dragoons during the entire Central India
campaign. His war service is given as:
Major Fetherstonhaugh served with the Central India Field Force under Sir Hugh Rose in 1858 and was present at the
battle of Kooch, all the affairs during the advance on Calpee and action of Golowlee, capture of Calpee and pursuit, action
of Morar, and recapture of Gwalior.
For his service during the Mutiny, Paymaster Fetherstonhaugh was awarded the Indian Mutiny medal with clasp for Central
India, named to him in the 14th Hussars. It was the only campaign medal he was ever to receive.
It should be remembered that during the Indian Mutiny, circumstances dictated that even officers who normally would not
go into action with their regiments due to the regimental posts they held, such as Paymasters, saw hard campaigning and
frequent fighting. There is no doubt that even as a Paymaster, William Fetherstonhaugh earned his Mutiny medal for actual
service against the mutineers. The 14th Hussars were frequently involved in actions against enemy forces of vastly superior
numbers, often in almost unbearable conditions. Sunstroke and disease were as much the enemy as the rebels.
Paymaster Fetherstonhaugh was promoted to Honorary Major on the 1st of January, 1860. He was promoted to Honorary
Lieutenant Colonel on the 7th of November, 1868, and retired on half-pay. The Times reported that Lieutenant Colonel
Fetherstonhaugh attended the annual Regimental Dinner of the 14th Hussars on the 27th of May, 1869 at the Clarendon
Hotel, Bond Street, London. No further information regarding Lieutenant Colonel Fetherstonhaugh has come to light.