For Queen and Cumberland

 

Synopsis

Jacob Reed joined the army to escape the disease ridden poverty of 1840s Carlisle, but his years of peaceful  soldiering came to an end with the outbreak of the Crimean War where disease and combat took their dreadful toll on life.

Army-mad Isaac Scott left a comfortable trade as a tailor in Penrith to join up, and found himself in India, where cholera was just as deadly a killer as the rebel forces.

Dan Daley, keen on sport and physical activity, found himself almost by accident in the army and fighting the formidable  Boers in South Africa.

Martin Daley has taken three men from his own family history and painted a vivid and fascinating picture of their lives, from the details of their background and their lives in Carlisle and Penrith, to their army careers and what happened to them once they resumed civilian life in Cumberland.


Publisher:            Hayloft
Published Date:   June 2008
Format:                Paperback
Category:             History
Illustrations:        B&W Photographs
ISBN : 978 190 452 4571

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Price £7.50 / $20  (including p&p). Available to buy directly from Martin via paypal or cheque. Contact to arrange.


Review

Martin Daley must be a huge disappointment to his forebears. Ever since the middle of the 18th century, members of his family have served in the armed forces. He and his generation are the first in over two centuries not to have entered military service.

At first such continuity of service would appear to be a splendid record, something unusual and very special and something of which the family should be very proud. In fact, the whole pattern of service throughout the centuries is not uncommon and applies in many families.

Martin has selected three of his normal and not-so-normal illustrious forebears, and through their lives he offers a glimpse of what life was like for nearly everyone.

Jacob Reed was born in desperate poverty in Caldewgate, Carlisle, in the year 1817, just after the Battle of Waterloo and the end of the Napoleonic Wars. His father was a handloom weaver, earning a pittance in a dwindling trade under dire threat from the burgeoning textile manufacturers.

Like many, he was brought up in abject poverty, living in circumstances of unspeakable squalor next to the open sewer of 'la'al Cawda', the river Caldew.

In 1842 Jacob joined the Rifle Brigade and for the first time in his life he ate meat on a regular basis. He travelled with his regiment to Canada and returned for the Duke of Wellington's funeral...

However, all was to change. January 1854 found Private Jacob Reed boarding the 'Golden Fleece' at Portsmouth en route for the Crimean War.... A fellow soldier wrote of the conditions: "I have just returned from the trenches, tired and almost worn out by incessant fatigues, and shocked at the awful spectacles of mutilated human flesh for there had been three or four fellows literally blown to atoms this day."

... After more than two decades in the army Jacob Reed laid out his kit for the last time on March 30, 1860, and returned to Carlisle to the only profession he knew, that of a handloom weaver.

...And a generation after Isaac, Dan Daley, purely by chance, found himself fighting the Boers in South Africa.

Martin Daley has followed a personal thread through the history of the 19th century. Inevitably, since they left little in the way of personal accounts, he has had to draw on the wider history of the time, but that makes Martin's history far more vivid... this is local history as you might hear it from your ancestors. His great, great, grandfather may yet be proud of him.

Cumberland News
Friday, 25 July 2008

 

 


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