Royal West India Rangers' logo from an 1819 discharge certificate Other Rangers
Site hosted by Build your free website today!

What about all the other Rangers?

A regiment at full strength was supposed to have 1,000 soldiers. There were 530 or 600 soldiers in the Royal West India Rangers in June 1819. Many were disbanded in Halifax and did not continue on to St. John, New Brunswick, as the "Soldier's Documents" (LDS Family History Centre film 861,851) discuss. Many, such as Private James Pearson, returned to England, to appear in the British nominal censuses decades later. After 14 years away from his Irish home, Captain John Boyton passed away on the return voyage and "within four days" of Cork, Ireland, in 1820. Leonard Mittendorf of Rotterdam, Netherlands finished his British military career in the Rangers. At least one Ranger was discharged from the Rangers in England itself, where he appears to have gone due to illness, and the Colonel of the regiment himself signed his discharge certificate. Captain William Kennedy is buried in Lewisham, West Kent, England (scroll down to entry 54). Lieutenant - Colonel Lavicount ended his active career with the Rangers at Saint John, going onto a kind of pension for officers called "half pay." Another "half pay" officer, so affected by his experience in a slavery-based West Indian society, went on to submit an anti-slavery petition in the British House of Commons in 1830. The future 5th Duke of Portland was a Ranger -he was on halfpay as a Captain in the Royal West India Rangers for much of the 1820s and '30s, up to 15 years after the Rangers had ceased to exist as a regiment. Major General Brereton passed away in his 50th year after a military career that included service with the RWIR during their earliest years in the West Indies and saw him at Martinique (1809) and Guadeloupe (1810). Unfortunately he committed suicide during a court martial for not being tough enough to deal decisively with "the rabble".

Some RWIR officers played cricket in a friendly match against one of the West India Regiments in about 1809.

Captain Angelo's wife passes away in 1817. (Gentleman's Magazine, Obituary)

Ensign De Betton of the RWIR survived an 1811 duel over "a trifling quarrel"and escaped the island of Barbadoes

Michael Russell of the RWIR married and had children in Fredericton before moving to the Aroostook in Maine. He is described in the Irish New Brunswick cultural association's website at a link on our front page (near top) and is listed in volume three of the 2005 "Generations" magazine.

But some other soldiers of the regiment continued on to another New Brunswick community :

"The Abeona, Transport, sailed for St. Andrew's on Friday last, which [sic] a detachment of the Royal West India Rangers, which are to be disbanded at that place."

(New Brunswick Royal Gazette, vol.v, Number 18 Tuesday 29th June, 1819, p.3 of 4).

(The following year the Abeona drove onto rocks while waiting to transport other soldiers. (Quebec Mercury on 18 May 1820.) This ship may or may not be the same as the 388 ton Abeona which "caught fire and sank" in Delagao Bay, Africa in November 1820.)

Royal York Rangers in New Brunswick

There was another regiment from the West Indies which disbanded in New Brunswick. This regiment started in the same way the Royal West India Rangers started. They were the Royal York Rangers, and they also settled some soldiers in the New World:

"Two Transports with 400 troops, of the Royal York Rangers, from Antigua 13 days;...."

("Ship News",Acadian Recorder, vol. 7, no. 23, Saturday June 5, 1819. (Halifax, Nova Scotia), p. 3 of 4).

The Royal York Rangers are also described in this link from Rene Chartrand's book. (Free registration may be required to view these pages).

Here is a link to a picture of a medal won by a Royal York Ranger officer (probably not a New Brunswick settler). Lieutenant Fletcher and his medal is described at QC Militaria's website.

York Chasseurs

A similar regiment, the York Chasseurs, who also served in the West Indies, settled some men and families in Quebec in August, 1819. They had arrived in three ships the Nautilus, the Chapman, and the Ocean, within days of each other. Some Chasseurs escaped West Indian exile and returned to Great Britain.

York Chasseurs are also described in Rene Chartrand's book. (Free registration may be required to view).

The York Chasseurs appeared in a 2009 book

"Following fourteen years of research and writing, Francis Boutle Publishers, London, [launched] The York Chasseurs: A Condemned Regiment of George III ..." Peter Lines' 2009 work about a regiment very similar to the Rangers was discussed at the 2003 "Escape" conference.

Where did the other two transport ships go?

"On Friday, Capt. GRANTHAM, R.A., a Detachment of the Artillery Corps, and several invalids from the 74th Regiment, embarked on board the Star transport, which with the Buerbon transport, sailed for Halifax on Sunday morning."

(New Brunswick Royal Gazette, vol.v, Number 18 Tuesday 29th June, 1819, p.3 of 4).