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Thursday, 7 February 2013

Military Record of Francis Courtney, born Dublin 1793

Francis Courtney/Courtenay was the son of Thomas Courtney, shearman of Dublin,  and brother to  Frederick and Robert Courtenay.   Our maternal line descends directly from shearman Thomas Courtney of Dublin and then through his son Frederick Courtenay.

Frederick's brother, Francis Courtenay, served in the army from 1817 till 1839 when he retired as an invalid, and returned to Dublin.    This post details his military record.

Sergeant Francis Courtney, Clerk,  Service Number 346.
Francis Courtney was born in St. Luke's Parish, Dublin 1793.  St. Luke's Church is located in the Liberties/Coombe area of Dublin;  this was the area where Dublin's  woollen industry was located.  Francis Courtney was the son of Thomas Courtney, shearman.

He enlisted in the 85th Regiment of Foot in Dublin on 10th September 1817, aged 24.  He was discharged on 31st May 1839.   He was described in 1817 as 5'9" , with a fresh complexion, brown eyes and black hair, and had enlisted himself for the bounty of three pounds.

He was promoted to the rank of corporal on 25th April 1818, but was 'reduced' to private on 12th August 1820 at his own request. Francis was promoted to corporal again on 20th October 1823, but once again, at his own request, was reduced to the rank of private on 15th February 1824.  This pattern continued throughout his service - he was once again promoted to corporal on 14th June 1828, then promoted further to serjeant on 26th April 1829.  Once again, on 2nd June 1831, Francis was reduced to the rank of private, this time due to hospitalisation, before, finally being promoted to regiment clerk on 15th September 1833;   he left the army on 31st May 1839.

From 11th July 1821 until 17th November 1831, Francis Courtney served in Malta and Gibraltar.
In June 1821, three units of the 85th Regiment marched from Brighton to Portsmouth where they embarked for Gibraltar;  on 11th July, the Head Quarters and seven companies of the regiment arrived arrived at Malta;  the barracks were located at Floriana.  The regiment stayed in Malta until October 1831.

Between 1831 and 1836, the regiment moved around England and Ireland - Dudley, Wolverhampton, Worcester, Stourbridge,  Haydock Lodge in Lancashire;  in 1833, some of the company sailed from Liverpool to Dublin, and then onto Limerick, Killaloe, Tipperary, Newcastle,  before heading to Galway and being dispatched on to Castlebar, Loughrea, Oughterard and Westport.   In 1836, his company embarked from Cork to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

From 8th August 1836 until 31st May 1839, Francis Courtney served in Upper Canada, North America.  On 8th August, the 1st Division of the 85th Regiment arrived in Halifax, and set off on first on foot and then aboard the steamer the 'Gazelle'  for St. John's, New Brunswick, in consequence of the rebellion in Lower Canada.  The regiment received orders to prepare to move to the assistance of the troops stationed in that province.  The men were issued with two pairs of mocassins each, two blankets, warm mitts, kettles, snow shoes and felling axes.  The 1st Division headed to Quebec on 16th November 1837. The regiment proceeded in sleighs on the ice, on the rivers, and in carioles on the snow through the woods, and after a most severe and harrowing journey of 450 miles through the country, arrived at January 1838.
They next took the following route to Upper Canada - Sorel to Montreal, then, since the rebels had assembled on the frontiers, the regiment moved on to St. John's, Lower Canada. On 9th June 1838, the company proceed via canal to Kingstown, Upper Canada.  From there, they proceed to London, Upper Canada,  from where the company's right wing proceeded to barracks in St. Thomas.   This was where Francis Courtney was discharged because of ill health in May 1839.

'2nd Disability or Cause of Discharge - According to the surgeon's appears that this is a case of debility contracted in the service without being attributable to vice or intemperance.'
'Character - that his general conduct has been good.'
Attached - 'I hereby certify that Serjeant Francis Courtney, 85th Regiment,  is wholly unfit for further service, from long service and constitutional debility.  He has been lately some time in hospital with ulceration of the hip. His conduct while under treatment ahs been uniformly good,  and I do not consider that his complaints have been aggravated by...his conduct....'   (This was dated May 3rd 1839, St. Thomas N.C. and signed by George Griffiths, Super, 85th Regiment Light Infantry.)

Upon his return home to Dublin, Francis moved in with his niece, Eliza Courtenay, and her husband, William Yorke, who were living at 27 Wellington Street.
 Francis Courtney of Wellington Street was admitted to the Freemen of Dublin on 14th February 1845 by birth, being the son of Thomas Courtney, shearman.
On the Dublin Electoral Roll for 1865, a Francis Courtenay is named as the householder for 27 Wellington Street.
He took part in the 1869 Commission of Inquiry into electoral malpractice in the Dublin elections of 1868.

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