Search for content in message boards

47th Regiment & Charles FINNERTY

47th Regiment & Charles FINNERTY

Posted: 1370850445000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1370866115000
Hello --
I am interested in the activities of a Lieutenant Charles Finnerty who served with the 47th Regiment in Turkey from 19 Apr 1854 to 17 Aug 1856 (source: WO76/190). The regiment were engaged at Alma, Inkerman, Sevastopol etc. but Finnerty's name does not appear in the medal rolls, suggesting that he was with a detachment in Turkey during the above mentioned period. Does anyone know the role of the 47th in Turkey (I am guessing transport, ordnance, or even a showing at Kars). Clarification of what Finnerty was up to during his Turkey mission would be welcome.
He later became a Staff Officer of the Enrolled Pensioner Force in Western Australia, arriving here on the 'Sultana' in 1859.

Diane Oldman

Re: 47th Regiment & Charles FINNERTY

Posted: 1371431030000
Classification: Military
Edited: 1371471280000

Just in case he’s been omitted in error and also looking for some clue that may help you, I’ve checked all pages of the actual roll for the 47th Foot (pdf from National Archives). Unlike some the 47th's roll is almost intact and although a few pages of names of private soldiers are torn ALL pages containing officers are complete. There are quite a number men of 47th who only qualified for the medal without clasps, who must have landed on the Crimea Peninsula but took no part in any actions, he’s not listed anywhere so it would appear Charles Finnerty never actually arrived in the Crimea “war zone” at all.

The 47th Foot went to the Crimea from Malta, via Scutari (on the Bosphorus) and Varna (Bulgaria) and according to the brief regimental history on the web site of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment’s Lancashire Infantry Museum, “Cholera had dogged the army ever since Varna”, so I figured it was possible be missed the action through either sickness or being part of some depot detachment; next The Times newspaper.

In the Times of 18 Apr 1854, in the list of Officers as departing Malta on the transport Apollo on the 11th, along with 845 rank and file and six women of the 47th Regiment, he’s named as Ensign Finnerty.

He’s next (that I found) mentioned in an article entitled “Sick & Wounded Fund” by a Times correspondent in Scutari, dated 10 Nov 1854 and published in the Times of 23 Nov 1854. I’ve only skimmed the article and note it mentions the arrival of “Miss Nightingale and 40 nurses”, large hospitals and in particular of interest to yourself his name in this section:

“In the direction of two such extensive establishments much of course depends on the energy with which they are presided over by the medical and military officers in charge, under the superior control of Dr Cumming, Dr M’Gregor has the chief superintendence of the Barrack Hospital, and Dr Menzies of the General Hospital. On all hands they are admitted to be men entirely devoted to their duties. Nor are the services of Major Sillery, the commandant, and of Lieutenant Finnerty, his adjutant and barrack master, less warmly acknowledged. Upon them have devolved very important and onerous functions, which they have diligently and effectively carried out. To their honour be it said, they are both officers who have risen by merit alone from the ranks.”

It appears he spent the whole period at Scutari in that roll arriving back in England on the HM steam transport Resolute mid August 1856 along with Lt Col Sillery commanding the troops on board. At the end of the list of names on the ship, that included Lt Finnerty of 47th, published in the Times of 16 August 1956, it state: “These and the others in the Assistance clear out the establishments ashore lately occupied by the British in the Crimea and the Bosphorus, with the exception of 15 orderlies, under General Storks, at Constantinople.”

In case you are not already aware Charles Finnerty became Ensign from Sergeant Major 25 Oct 1850 and Lieutenant 6 June 1854 as announced in the London Gazette at


Re: 47th Regiment & Charles FINNERTY

Posted: 1371611902000
Classification: Query
Hello Jeff.

Thank you so much for the Times references. We are fortunate to be able to access the Digital Archive from home courtesy of the WA State Library's subscription. Had I the wit to think of this in the first place, I could have saved you the time you generously spent on my query!

We also have digital download facilities from home (also courtesy of the State Library) from the National Archives. I was therefore able to acquire Finnerty's pages of Army Record as an extract from the 47th Regiment's documents. He certainly had rapid promotion from the ranks: Private (1833), Corporal (1837), Sergeant (1837),Sergeant-Major (1850), Ensign (1850),Lietuenant (1854), Captain (1857). I think his promotions without purchase may have been a draw-back to his later career - thanks to the colonial snobbery of his times.

When I saw on his record 'Turkey' instead of 'Crimea', I too checked the PDF medal roll for the 47th (not trusting ancestry's transcriptions!). I am quite excited that he served at Scutari Barrack Hospital - it makes for a change of pace.

Thanks again for your trouble -- has reminded me of what resources we are fortunate to have available and the fact that I should take more advantage of them.

Best regards,

Re: 47th Regiment & Charles FINNERTY

Posted: 1371663552000
Classification: Military
Edited: 1371681600000
Hello Dianne,

Thank you for your reply; I’m just pleased I could be of help.

Re the Times, some years ago I enquired of my local library about access to the Times Digital Archive, only to be told, “the Times will be of little interest to the “average person” for family history research”; how narrow minded was that response? Luckily a neighbouring county library service did have free “at home” access to the archive, so I joined their library. I use it almost every day to check ship movements, regiment deployments, articles about most major conflicts and much more. It was second nature for me to check for a name in the Times. It must be have been “a pleasurable” discovery to find you ancestor would have been working, almost alongside, Florence Nightingale.

Re His promotion “from the ranks” being a drawback to his later career. You have to realise he had served 17yrs when he was first commissioned, almost enough for a long service pension. Then as the Times article stated, he had been promoted “from the ranks on his own merit”, a remarkable achievement for the day when commissions promotions could involve large sums. Then I suspect he was specifically chosen for duty at Scutari because of his experience as a Sergeant Major, after all even today they are considered to the ones who really run a battalion. His reduction to half-pay list with the rank of Captain would have yielded much more income than a SNO’s pension. Compared to some soldier’s documents I’ve seen he had a remarkably successful career in the army.


Re: 47th Regiment & Charles FINNERTY

Posted: 1372057355000
Classification: Query
Hello Jeff

Actually Finnerty is not an ancestor - my family history comprises a long line of agricultural labourers and for light relief (and of greater interest) convicts and criminals from Bedfordshire.

After visiting the battlefields of the Crimean War, I became entranced with the whole topic. My hobby is identifying all the veterans of the Crimean War who settled in Western Australia. Thus far I have found 230 men who came here as convicts, the enrolled pensioner force who guarded them, policemen, prison warders (these mainly from the Turkish Contingent)and some free settlers. I know I have only scraped the surface - but they are not easily found. Our National Library's online digitised newspaper archives "Trove" has been a great help. Like the "Times" for you, it is indispensible. We had three veterans of the Charge of Light Brigade settle here.

As for Finnerty, I have discovered two others - James and Michael - born in the same parish as Charles. I suspect they are brothers or cousins as it was a small parish. James and Michael joined the Royal New Zealand Fencibles in 1847/48. I am writing a joint article about Charles Finnery - I have the first half devoted to Army career and family; my friend has the second half which is about his career in Western Australia as Staff Officer of the EPF.

Thanks again for your interest. Tom Muir's CD sounds interesting. I will be following the threads.

Regards, Diane.
per page

Find a board about a specific topic