Charles Taylor is recruited for the 80th Regiment of Foot (Staffordshire Volunteers) at Coventry on the 8th of August 1843. The
small depot of the 80th Regiment under Captain R.G. Hughes was at that time based at Chatham. Taylor joins the depot at
Chatham on the 15th of August 1843, at the time the Service Companies were in Australia with a detachment in New Zealand.
Taylor is given the service number 2273 and remains at the Depot for the next eight months with the only incident in the musters
being a spell in the regimental hospital at the September 1843 muster. On the 22nd of April 1844, Taylor is one of fifteen Private
soldiers who are sent in a draft under Ensign W.W.O. St. John for passage to the Service Companies in Australia. In the days
before the Suez Canal (still 20 years and more in the future) the passage to Australia involved a long passage around the Cape – a
journey of nine months or so. Four months into the passage the Service Companies of the 80th are loaded onto ships (the HQ on
the Barque ‘Royal Saxon’ and make the passage of around three months to Calcutta where they land by the end of November
1844, from there they move inland to Agra by the end of 1844.
Where exactly the draft under Ensign St. John ended up is not shown in the musters, it is probable that they made passage all the
way to New South Wales only to find they had missed their unit by three months and more. Their next appearance in the musters
is in March of 1845 where Taylor is shown as ‘recruit, arrived at Chinsurah on 25th March 1845’. Over the coming months the
drafts arrive at Chinsurah but they are not brought ‘up country’ until the Service Companies move from Agra for Lahore with
passage via Muthra (end of October 1845), Umballa (November 1845), Aruifkee (December 1845) and Brotahwallah (January
1846), all of this movement due to the 80th  being part of the force under Sir Hugh Gough fighting on the Sutlej against the
Sikhs. Eventually, after a passage of 22 months, the drafts including Taylor join the Service Companies at Lahore on the 22nd of
February 1846.
    During the coming months the 80th Regiment at Lahore is bolstered by large numbers of volunteers from units leaving India
including the 39th and 9th Regiments of Foot. From Lahore the 80th then move to Meerut by February 1847.  The tour of duty at
Meerut is short at only 9 months, and by October of 1847 the unit is on the march across India. The muster held by the
Commanding Officer on the last day of October 1847 is held at a place called Bundwas, a month later as the regiment move across
the vast country the muster is taken at Allahabad and by December 1847 the unit is in station at Dinapore.
Once at Dinapore the periods of tedium would have been extreme with little to pass the time but occasional exercise marches,
duties and the lure of the canteen in the evening. Both musters and the Regimental history have nothing to say on this period at
Dinapore.
It might be wondered how long the 80th would have stagnated at Dinapore, however circumstances were soon to overtake them,
as the Regimental history reveals:-


Still in India, the 80th served through the second Burmese War of 1852-53. The King of Burmah was continually violating the
Treaty of 1826, and his arbitrary seizure of the persons and property of British merchants, no less than his insolent replies to
protests from the Governor-General of India, made it necessary for the British Government to take-steps to uphold the dignity of
the flag.
Early in 1852 an army of five brigades, commanded by Lieut.-General Godwin, was organized [the 80th were all at Calcutta by the
16th of March 1852 where they were ordered to Pegu, they reached the mouth of the Rangoon River by the 2nd of April]. The
80th, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel G. Hutchison, were in the 2nd Bengal Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General T. Dickinson,
and on April 19th Rangoon was captured. Part of the 80th, under Major Lockhart, two Companies of the 18th (Royal Irish
Regiment), and some Native troops formed the storming party in the attack on the Great Dragon Pagoda. The distance to be
covered in the advance to the eastern entrance of the-Pagoda was about 800 yards. The troops crossed steadily under a heavy
fire from the walls crowded with the enemy. When the storming party reached the Pagoda steps, a rush was made for the upper
terrace, and a deafening cheer told that the Pagoda was won. The enemy evacuated the place in great confusion, and were severely
handled by the troops and the fire from the steamers on the river.
The 80th. during the fighting round Rangoon on the 11th, 12th and 14th April had a small casualty list: Lieut. J. L. W. Hunt,
wounded; 1 N.C.O. killed, and 25 other ranks wounded. But the climate proved a greater enemy to the troops than the Burmese,
for during the months of April and May the 80th lost 43 men from cholera and dysentry, including Major Lockhart and Paymaster
Hunt. A detachment of the Regiment, under Captain Ormsby, took part in the assault and capture of Pegu, returning to Rangoon
on June 8th, 1852.
Private Taylor is in a detachment that does not arrive in Burma until August 1852, along with the rest of the unit he then embarks
on the HEIC steamers ‘Nemesis’, ‘Phlegethon’ and ‘Proserpine’ at Pegu for passage to Prome via Rangoon. After embarking on the
HEIC steamers ‘Enterprize’ & ‘Fire Queen’ on the 16th of September the force then moves slowly until it arrives off Prome on the
14th of October 1852. The town was held by 4000 Burmese with cover of guns, however after a Naval bombardment the troops
were rowed ashore and two companies of the 80th took the large pagoda in the town whilst the Grenadier Company (including Pte.
Taylor) captures a smaller pagoda under the command of Captain Welsh with the loss of one killed and six wounded. The town was
rapdily secured by the British with the main Burmese force surrendering, the daicots however continued to fight. Various
detachments were sent out from Prome to fight the daicots, one at least included Taylor as he is listed as being ‘on service in
district’ under Major R.G. Hughes in February 1853. The 80th are suffering badly with dysentry and other disease accounting for
76 deaths in the first three months of 1853 and this loss contiued as the regiment moves to Shwey doung in June 1853.
By this time 2273 Pte. Charles Taylor has been promoted to Corporal, his date of promotion being the 18th of April 1853. On the
24th of July 1853 at Shwey Doung, Corporal Charles Taylor dies of disease in the tenth year of his service, at the time he was part
of Captain Welsh’s No.1 Company.
The sale of the effects of Corporal Taylor occurs two days later on the 26th of July, with the amounts raised at the auction of his
kit being given in Rupees, Annas and Pice, the name of the buyer is also listed.
2 pairs white trousers, 6A, Pte.William McKernan
2 shirts, 4A, Pte. James Matthews
1 red shell jacket, 2A 3P, Pte. James Matthews
3 pairs of socks, 1A 6P, Pte. John Ennis
2 pairs of braces, 2A 6P, Pte. Jacob Brooks
3 shoe brushes, 5A 6P, Pte. Archibald McQuilkin
1 holdall, 6P, Pte. Martin Murphy
1 button brush, 4A 2P, Pte. Thomas Longstant
1 razor, 8A, Pte. William Renny
1 shaving brush and soap, 3P, Pte. Richard Floyd
1 knife & spoon, 2A, Pte. Daniel Keefe
1 pair of boots, 1A, Pte. George McMullen
2 cloth brushes, 2A 6P, Pte. Martin Murphy
1 coatee, 1R 1A, Pte.Michael Rooney
1 pair of cloth trousers, 13A, Pte. Archibald McQuilkin
4 white jackets, 5A 6P, Pte.William McKennan
3 flannel bands, 6A, Pte. John Walsh
1 flannel shirt, 6A, Pte. John Ennis
3 coloured shirts, 13A 6P, Pte. Thomas Longstant
4 pairs of blue trousers, 12A, Pte. George McMullen
1 comb, 1A, Pte. Daniel Kirk
1 hair brush, 6P, Pte. Martin Horan
3 colourered hankerchiefs, 3A 6P, Pte. William McKeenan
2 haversacks, 4A, Pte. Edward Peto
1 cap cover, 3P, Pte. Richard Floyd
2 pairs of drawers, 9A, Pte. Michael Rooney
1 pillow case, 6A 6P, Pte. Thomas Longstant
1 pillow, 1A 6P, Pte. Archibald McQuilkin
1 set of coat straps, 10A, Sgt. Edward Edwards
1 case, 1 R, 6A, Pte. Martin Murphy
1 Guddrie, 10A, Pte. John McGarry
1 Settringee, 11A, Pte. Jacob Brooks
1 Gunny Bag, 1R, Pte. Martin Horan
1 blanket, 6P, Pte. Michael Rooney
1 bag of sundries and 1 book of common prayer – unsold
1 forage cap, 6A 6P, Pte. Richard Floyd

This was a total of 13 rupees, 7 anna and 5 pice, around about 27 shillings in British currency. Once this was added to the 24 days
of pay he was outstanding (12R, 9A, 2P) and 24 days of beer money (15A 8P) as well as 16R 3A and 10P funeral expenses he had
a total of 43 Rupees, 4 Anna and 1 Pice. However the army take away 18 days of hospital charges, 6 days of cooking charge, 6
days of washing charge, 10 rupees that Taylor had been forwarded, 1 Rupee and 8 Annas for the auction expenses and 9 Rupees
that it cost to bury him he is left with 19 Rupees, 1 Anna and 4 Pice. He has however no next of kin listed. His later issued Indian
General Service Medal with clasp for ‘Pegu’ still survives, and it is through this medal that his story has come to light.  


Sources:-

Public Records Office:

Musters,     80th Foot, 1843-1853, WO 12/ 8485-8494
Chelsea Hospital Prize Roll – Pegu – WO 164/449
Casualty Roll, 80th Foot, 1853 – WO 25/2054

Books:

‘A History of the South Staffordshire Regiment – 1705-1913’, James P. Jones, Wolverhampton    
Charles Taylor, 80th Regiment of Foot, 1843-1853.