The Military Career of Alfred Maiden.
Alfred Maiden enlisted for the British Army at London on the 23rd of November 1847. He joined the 22nd Regiment of Foot
(Cheshire) and a couple of days later joined the Depot at Chatham in Kent. The service companies of the 22nd Regiment were in
Poona, India at this time, so the musters were the Indian service musters and contain no detail of Alfred’s age, his description or
bounty paid to him on enlistment. The depot of the 22nd is under the command of Brevet Major T.T. Conway and is around 70
men strong at this time.
Alfred is listed as being on guard in the June 1848 muster and then on the 1st of January 1849, without ever being issued a
number, Albert transfers to the 29th Regiment of Foot. The 29th (Worcestershire) has it’s service companies in India also, so
Private Maiden is transferred to the Depot of the 29th, also at Chatham. On the day he joins his new regiment he is promoted to
Corporal and in March of 1849 he goes off on a detachment at Tilbury Fort, the only man of the depot to do so. The detachment
continues until September 1849, he returns briefly to the depot for the September muster before returning to Tilbury Fort in
October. He is shown at the Depot again in November and December 1849 before returning to Tilbury until November of 1850.
Corporal Maiden is in hospital on the January 1851 muster and listed as being on guard on the musters of July and November
1851, so he would have been in Chatham for the 1851 census. The next few years are very quiet, the service companies remain in
India (in Dinapore in September 1852) and the depot remains as a small unit with a single officer, 6 sergeants, 5 Corporals, 1
Drummer & 30 men (June 1852). There is no other event in Alfred’s life until he goes on recruiting duty to Liverpool on the 17th of
June 1854. Alfred remains on this task (which could be a rather profitable life as the recruiter got a bounty for each man enlisted)
until February 1855 when he switches to recruiting at Kiswick. The men who are recruited are normally given brief training at
Chatham and then shipped to join the service companies, at that time in Moulmein.
Alfred remains at Kiswick with his small party for only 3 months as he switches to Penrith in May. His recruiting party at Penrith
consists of himself and just 3 Privates (William Brown, Joseph & Thomas Jones). After 6 months at Penrith he returns to the depot
in October 1855, the depot being still at Chatham. Alfred is on duty in November 1855 and guard in January & March 1856. In May
1856 it would seem that Corporal Maiden was caught ‘on the hop’ as he is reduced to Private on the 31st of May 1856 with no
reason for this action being given. The offence must have been minor as he spends no time in the cells. Having ‘blotted his
copybook’ and with little to lose, on the 31st of August 1856 Alfred again transfers, this time to the 43rd (Monmouthshire)
Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry). During his time with the 29th Foot (over 7 years), Alfred has never served with the service
companies and has never been issued a regimental number. To this point he had served nearly ten years in the army without a
number, a very rare event in this era!
The service companies on the 43rd Foot are in Bangalore, India, at this time, so Private Maiden joins the depot company at
(amazingly enough) Chatham. However the now numbered (3569) Private Maiden is not to stay with this depot company for long
as he boards the ‘Agincourt’ on the 10th of September 1856 bound for India and service overseas. The ‘Agincourt’ is obviously a
swift vessel as the small group of men arrive at Bangalore with the service companies on the 28th of December 1856. Alfred joins
the regiment at Bangalore but is soon on a detachment in May 1857 at Paunamallee under command of 1138 Sergeant Thomas
Banks. He remains detached until December 1857, being recalled for the regiment’s transfer to service duties in the putting down
of the Mutiny. The following extracts are from ‘Historical Records of the 43rd Light Infantry’:-
The interval between the close of 1854 and that of 1857 passed over in the ordinary routine of Indian service, without any
particular incident or occurrence. In 1858 the first route received by the 43rd was for Kamptee, in the Nagpore country, a distance
of 631 miles, completed on the 28th of March; being resumed for another 156 miles, Jubbalpore was reached on the 17th of April,
where a detachment was left of 1 subaltern and 53 men, the march then continued by Dumoh and Banda, joining Whitlock's
division on the 30th of May.
The musters for early 1858 show the HQ at the following places:-
January 1858: Camp Poodacoot
February 1858: Camp Hurrolah
March 1858: Camp Satrick
April 1858: Hinnotuh
May 1858: Bunda
June 1858: Hummerrpore (Hernapore)
July 1858: Calpee
On the 3rd of June, Eight Companies marched with the force destined for the attack of Kirwee under Brigadier Whitelock, which
was reached on the 7th, when the. Rajah Narrain Row surrendered in person, and his armed followers betook themselves to the
hills. The Rajah's palace and treasures were seized. Forty-two lacs of rupees in coin, with an enormous quantity of gold and
silver utensils and jewels, were captured, although it was conjectured that much had also been secreted or carried off by his
troops, who had fled before the surrender. Three companies of the 43rd remained at Kirwee to form part of the garrison under
Brigadier Carpenter of the Madras Army, while the head-quarters and remainder of the corps marched to Banda, taking with them
forty-six prisoners. Two companies at once joined a detached force for that district under Lieut.-Colonel Primrose, and by July 1st
all were together at Hernapore, when the Regiment marched to Calpee, and on the 7th went into temporary barracks.
On reaching Calpee, a march of 1300 miles — with only an occasional halt at large stations for a few days — had been performed
by the 43rd; and these halts generally were for the purpose of laying in commissariat supplies. Some idea may be formed of the
excessive exertion and fatigue undergone both by officers and men, when it is considered that this march was in most part
performed during the hottest season of a year in which the mean temperature exceeded in heat that of any known during the
fifteen preceding. The marches commenced before daylight. usually as early as 2 A.M., And it frequently happened that the rear of
the column did not arrive in camp until 4 or 5 P.M. A mere country track constituted the only route, at times crossing chains of
high, precipitous hills cutting through rocks and jungles for days together, traversing and passing numerous rivers, many of great
breadth, without bridges or boats. Now and again the Regiment was employed in dragging the carts — some hundred in number —
containing ammunition, stores, etc. over almost insurmountable obstacles, where cattle were nearly useless.
The Monsoon, usually commencing in June, did not in this year visit Central India until the middle of July, consequently the acute
sufferings of the Regiment under the burning and arid breezes of that inhospitable region were not only most exceptionally intense
but protracted. At no point was this felt to such an extent as at Bisramnugger, one day's march north of Purneah. Three days
were occupied in getting the carts down a ghaut by which the Brigade descended, during which time 2 officers and 11 men of the
43rd died from sunstroke. Even natives attached to the force succumbed from the same cause.
Major Young of the 19th Madras Native Infantry with 12 sepoys also similarly perished, and all lie buried in one spot close to the
ground on which the camp was formed. During May and June the thermometer ranged at 120 Degrees F. in the Hospital tents,
while in small ones this was usually exceeded by 8° or 9°. In the first 950 miles only two deaths, and each accidental occurred. The
health of the Regiment had been extraordinary ; but later the amount of wear and tear endured began to tell on their constitutions.
Sunstroke was of constant occurrence, and death generally most sudden; some of the stricken expiring in a few minutes, though
others lingered on in a state of coma for hours. Three officers and 44 men of the 43rd died from this and miscellaneous causes.
The officers were, Paymaster and Quarter-Master Denton (brothers), and Lieutenant Thomas Elwes. A finer body, of men, well-
grown, and averaging twenty-five years of age, had never before taken the field in India; all that were weakly had been left behind
in Bangalore. On the Regiment reaching Calpee each company looked but the wreck of its former self.
Partial rest was imperative, and it was hoped that much good would result from the occupation of temporary barracks. In July there
were 13 deaths; 8 from sunstroke. No more desolate place than Calpee could be found in the world, Aden not even excepted. It is
situated on the banks of the Jumna, and for miles around the whole country is an intricate net-work of steep ravines,
in which the baked, gravelly soil produces no sort of vegetation.
The musters show Private Maiden is at Jaloun from August to December 1858 with Major Synge, Captain R.C. Glover & Captain
Hugh Robinson. The remainder of the Regiment are at Kirwee, Calpee & Hummerpore.
On the 1st of August two companies with a force under Major Synge were sent to Jaloun, to rescue that fort, ignominiously
surrendered by some local levies.On their appearance the rebels bolted.
A detachment under Captain Colville moved out with the force under Brigadier Carpenter, to engage the rebels occupying the hills.
The headquarters of the 43rd and two companies with Brigadier Macduff arrived at Jalolun. and encamped on the 31st of August.
Incessant rain and the completely flooded state of the country prevented any attempt at active operations by Captain Colville until
the 5th of September, when, having been reinforced by another company, they engaged the rebels at the village of
Sahao, and continued on the move in the Calower district until the 24th, when they returned to Jaloun. After remaining there four
days in camp,operations were renewed, directing on the Jumna, until the 12th of October, when the Brigade retired to Calpee.
These movements took place in the height of the Monsoon. The country was a dead flat with no road of any kind through the
greater part of the district, though many miles of cultivated land were marched over.
On the 6th of September the detachment under Captain Colville was engaged at the Punghatten Pass, a village in the Punnah
range. On the 11th November a company marched from Humeerpore to Banda for garrison; on the 17th two companies from
Jaloun on field service; and on the 16th of December a company from Calpee with the force under Brigadier Macduff, moved to
Jaloun. At that station they were joined by two more companies, and were engaged at Girnara on the Scinde. On the 22nd of
December a small party of officers, 35 men of the 43rd, and 50 Sepoys, under command of Captain Woodlands, 1st Madras Native
Infantry, occupying the palace at Kirwee, were attacked by a rebel force under Rada Govind, and beat it off after five days'
fighting. They were not finally relieved until the arrival of Brigadier Whitelock.
On the 23rd of December two companies of the 43rd marched from Nagode to Kirwee to relieve that place. On the 24th a company
proceeded from Banda to Kirwee as advance guard of Whitelock's force. They engaged the rebels at Purwarree, took four guns,
and were mentioned with special praise in General Orders.
On the 2nd of January a subaltern and a few men were engaged in the Punnah Jungle. Private Henry Addison of the 43rd was
severely wounded in rescuing Captain Osborne, political agent at Rewah, who had been worsted in a personal combat with a rebel
Sepoy. For his gallant conduct Addison received the Victoria Cross. On the 5th the company that went to Jubbalpore was
engaged at Bagowra. On the 19th three companies arrived at Calpee with Brigadier Macduff, from field service. On the 22nd head-
quarters and five companies marched for Banda, and on the 29th were joined by three more. On the 11th of February head-
quarters marched for Nagode, where they were joined on the 13th by a company from Kawah, and on the 14th by another
from Kirwee, when, to the great joy of every one, the battalion was once more consolidated.
Musters show Alfred at Nagode in February 1859 under Major Booth, he remains there until September 1859, the remainder of the
companies having returned to Saugur. In October 1859 he receives a penny a day increase in pay for a good conduct badge.
On the 15th the 43rd marched for Saugur, but on the 24th three companies were ordered back to Nagode. The hot season was
passed in camp on the Maidan, at Nagode. On the 8th of July a General Order abolished brigade commands. On taking leave of the
1st Brigade, of which the 43rd formed part, Brigadier Macduff expressed his warm thanks to Lieut. - Colonel Primrose " for the
strong support and able assistance he had at all times given him," adverted to the good conduct of the Brigade both in action and
pursuit, and also during the long and continuous marches of nearly 3000 miles. from Madras to the banks of the rivers Jumna and
Scinde and to the frontier of the Gwalior territory, enduring without a murmur the arduous labours and manifold hardships
encountered. He also alluded to the large train of treasure, public stores, and ammunition entrusted to the Brigade, of which not
even a single cartridge was missing. The Brigadier conveyed his special thanks to the following officers of the 43rd :— Captain
William Dorehill, his Brigade-Major; Lieutenant the Hon. A. E. Harris, his A. D. C.; and Lieutenant H. C.Talbot, his orderly officer.
Also to Surgeon A. Barclay, for his unvaried attention to the sick and wounded.
On the 14th of August two companies of the 43rd proceeded with a force under Lieut.-Colonel Nott, Madras Native Infantry, and
fell in with and engaged Feroze Shah, routing his party, who abandoned their tents, horses, and equipments. On the 7th of
October two companies, with a force under Lieut.-Golonel Oates, 12th Lancers left Saugur. A patrol from this party, under
Lieutenant D'Urban Blythe, 43rd, attacked the rebels near a village called Patourie, routing and pursuing them until they were
completely dispersed. Two men of the 43rd were wounded, and Lieutenant Blythe was thanked in General Orders. Another
detachment under Captain Glover, attacked and dispersed a force near the village of Raisham, and two companies, with a force
under Lieut.-Colonel Primrose, left Saugur for the district. This body, on the 23rd of October, attacked the rebels near the village
of Gopalpore, killing many and taking several prisoners. On the 15th of November a company, with a force under Captain Currie of
the 16th Punjaub Native Infantry, went into the district. The greater part of the Nagode detachment were in the field during
October and November.
In November 1859 the musters show Alfred ‘on route to Calcutta’ and ‘at Calcutta’ in December. 3569 Private Alfred Maiden of the
43rd Foot is discharged at Calcutta on the 22nd of December 1859 ‘at end of limited service’, after a career of just over 12 years.
As Alfred did not qualify for pension no papers exist in the Chelsea pension papers, neither does the casualty returns for the 43rd
Foot (WO 25/ 3256) list anything but his discharge date. Alfred was at the action at Kirwee on the 22nd of December 1858, for
which he was granted an Indian Mutiny Medal with no clasps.
Sources: Musters at the PRO (KEW)
WO 12/ 3909-3910 (22nd Foot)
WO 12/ 4532-4540 (29th Foot)
WO 12/ 5611-5614 (43rd Foot)
|Alfred Maiden - 43rd Foot - 1847-59