11 November 2008

A soldier from a different time . .

Armistice Day, so I joined nearly 200 others at the War Memorial. As with the last few years, there are a variety of people there - school children, brought out from lessons in a long crocodile, staff from the local offices, forces personnel from the nearby recruiting offices and a Russian former naval officer!

One more soldier to mention, this time from a much earlier time than the Great War. The lad in question was born in 1860 in Hertfordshire and I discovered the following on the Bedfordshire Archives website:-

"By contrast Albert Culpin, son of the Rev. Ben Culpin, minister at Shillington Congregational Church, never saw active service. He seems to have enlisted in the 41st foot in 1877 almost by accident and he deserted soon afterwards:

....you will be sad when you here I have listed in the army. I cant make out how it was I left Hitchin, but I must have been a fool like a great many who join .... When I got to London .... I did think a little about joining the navy. I asked a police[man] the way to Westminster.... He said come and list in something better so the Sargent gave me 1 shilling at St. George's barracks, so I come to London on the 3rd and listed and passed the doctor all before 12 o'clock on Sunday the 4th... I will tell you a bit about food and bed breakfast bread and coffee, for dinner, meat and potatoe; tea, bread and tea; straw bed and pillow, 2 blanckets and 2 sheets - it makes me think about your good beds. Don't break your hearts about me - I fancy I coud here you praying for me."

To date I have found no more information on him after 1877. More research required here, methinks!!!

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