Muster Books and Pay Lists (WO 12/11233, 11237-8): Royal West India Rangers: 1806-1819

Call Number: HIL-MICL LMR .G7W3R79
Category: Military
Creator: Great Britain. War Office.
Description: Electronic textual records (3 volumes) ; 51.6 GB; 1524 files; TIFF
            War Office 12, generated by the Commissary General of Musters Office, contains the muster rolls which were usually prepared by the commanding officer of each company of a regiment for the purpose of paying the soldiers.  The Pay Lists contain the financial transactions of the salaries, wages, allowances and deductions for the regiment.  These were taken quarterly.  

The Colonels of the Royal West India Rangers were William Wynward (1806-1812), and Major-General William Lumley (1812-19); the regiment was established in Britain in 1806, and disbanded to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1819, after spending most of its time in the West Indies.  (Not all members went to Saint John.)   It had performed mostly garrison duties there but also saw action in two invasions of the French island of Guadeloupe (1810 and 1815).  Some of the disbanded soldiers took up the New Brunswick government’s offer of land up the St. John River in Victoria County; most took the small amount of money offered while at Saint John.  New Brunswick loyalist, Edward Winslow, appears to have had a son as a member of this regiment, Thomas Aston Coffin Winslow.            
            The material includes the pay lists for the Royal West India Rangers and covers the first years and the last years of its existence wherein they spent most of their time in the West Indies:  25 Sept. 1806-24 June 1810, 25 Dec. 1813-24 June 1819.  Those interested in this region during the period France and England were battling over this area of the Caribbean during much of the Napoleonic wars, will find this useful.  Those also interested in the history of early New Brunswick may also find this useful.  Its subject matter covers generally British military – army, personnel, health, finances, movements, and the West Indies, particularly the Lesser Antilles.

Organisation: Arranged in the main chronologically.

The data in the main pay list document includes the names of each of the members, usually for the rank of Sergeant down to Private, and the pay allotted; and can contain more details about the member, for example enlistment dates; health - in hospital, or died; movements - transferred to other regiments or companies, embarked for the West Indies, deserted; promotions or demotions; and discharges.  Additional accompanying documents usually include:  memoranda, statements of various accounts, certificates, and affidavits, and contain information allowing a fuller picture of the regiment as a whole and its individual members.  Examples would include the following:  the allowances paid to families of soldiers embarked gives the names of some of the soldiers’ family members and place located; discharge certificates give more information surrounding a discharge; deductions from the pay list for recruits contains names and dates of those who’ve recently enlisted; and certificate of officers in support of charges…gives the names of company captains and locations. 

The regiment was stationed at the following locations, as indicated by the commanders' signature:  Regimental Army Depot in Britain up to and including the year 1810, Trinidad 1813-June 1815, Guadeloupe June-March 1816, St. Lucia 25 March 1816-June 1817, and Antigua June 1817-1819, when it was disbanded to St. John (Saint John), New Brunswick.  

Detailed Contents

  • Vol. 11233, 25 Sept. 1806-24 June 1810
    • Updated notations added to the pay lists in red ink; chronological order not strictly followed.
    • Detachment at Army Depot, Britain.
    • Data in Pay Lists contain rank; name and dates of enlistment; what English District they were from, for example, the London or Manchester Districts; plus remarks, most of which were: from Unattached Deserters, recruits for General Service, and embarkation to the West Indies. Additional remarks include, for example: discharged having provide 2 substitutes, promoted, deserted (ex. deserted at Abington), hospital, dead, from Tilbury Fort, from Coldstream Guards, transferred to the 54th, and on furlough.
    • Additional information found within the documents: boys noted, desertions explained, discharges explained, for example, unfit nearly blind; family members named for some; location of companies and men, if not at Army Depot or the West Indies; and new recruits.
    • 1808 a wave of visits to the hospital noticed from the documents.
    • Following captains, lieutenants, and sergeants are noted in the documents (ensigns are found within the documents but excluded here): captains Anthony Schulthess?, Hugh Flora?, and James Griffiths; lieutenants Nichols, B.M. Robinson, George Armstrong, William Gibbons; sergeants Humphrey Godfrey, Daniel Johnson, John Webber, John Smith, John Golding, and Charles Coughlan.
    • Additional documentation includes:
      • Statement of effects and credits of deserted and deceased soldiers at Army Depot, which includes, among other data, remarks with an explanation for desertion or death, for example, died on board the Flora transport;
      • Certificate of alteration of clothing, which shows the amount of suits delivered
      • Deductions from the pay list for the following recruits (name and explanation);
      • Discharge certificates (name and explanation);
      • Amount of money expended for necessaries furnished to surrendered deserters (names and amounts);
      • Amount allowances paid by Ensign and Assistant Quarter Master to families of soldiers embarked (family names, place, and amount given, for example, Margaret, wife of Private John Fitzpatrick);
      • Certificate of unfit, with explanation (above the age prescribed by recruiting regulations, ruptured left side).
    • Pay List Abstracts of totals includes separate total for officers and the rest of the members; as well as, Levy money; Increased rates to Innkeepers and allowance for beer in lieu of beer; and Disbursements.
  • Vol. 11237, 25 Dec. 1813-24 Dec. 1816
    • Updated notations added to pay lists in red; chronological order.
    • Stationed at Trinidad, Guadeloupe, and Saint Lucia (St. Lucia), as indicated by commander’s signature.
    • Pay List form has changed from previous volume; also includes now the following ranks (with names) at the top of Lists: Sgt. Major, Quarter Master Sgt., Paymaster Clerk, School Master as Sgt., Armourer as Sgt., and Drum Major.
    • Additional documentation allows researcher to see lists of officers.
    • Company Captains as listed in Certificates (usually appears to be 9-11 companies in number): D.H. Leger Hill, George Jack, William Harper, D.B. Lynch, G.F. Angelo, William Kennedy, Charles Troja, E.. Hubbard, James Smith, B.M. Robinson, Thomas Donald, Richard Annesby?, John Boynton, George Ramsay, and John Knox. Certificates most often include place.
    • Sgt. Majors on the Pay Lists are: James Kent, and John Golding.
    • Additional types of information found within the documents and not already mentioned in previous volume: location of men and companies becomes much more specific as to which island in the West Indies.
    • Waves of increases in mortality, hospital visits and deaths noticed in pay lists; as well as, a wave of increase in the promotions and reductions in rank; and movement/transfers coming in from other companies noticed from the pay lists.
    • Places noted either in Remarks on the Pay Lists or in the Company Captains’ Certificates: Martinique, Surinam, Dominica, Trinidad, Guadeloupe, Tobago, Island of Chacochacan?, Antigua, Point a Pitre, Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Fort George, and Europe.
    • More additional documentation included than in previous volume.
  • Vol. 11238, 25 Dec. 1816-24 June 1819
    • Stationed at Saint Lucia and Antigua, as indicated by commander’s signature.
    • Mar-June 1819 Pay List notation: disbanded.
    • Some additional notes written in red pen in the column left of the members’ surname: trade and place, for example, labourer, blacksmith, ship wright.
    • Number of servants attached to officers is included in the document: Regulated stoppages for servants of officers, not being soldiers, on station abroad.
    • The document, Statement of balance of effects and credits or debits of non-commissioned officers…who have deserted, has now been altered with red ink to include officers, and the word died beside deserted. The numbers of dead for this statement shows an increase (gives names and dates of deaths).
    • Remarks in the Pay Lists are for the majority: at Saint John; with a few indicating at Halifax, died at Sea, deserted, and provisionally sent to Europe.
    • Company Captains as found in Certificates: same as previous volume, excepting, Hill, Troja, Robinson, and Annesby?; certificates most often include place.
    • Sgt. Major in the Pay List is John Golding.
    • Places indicated in Company Captains’ Certificates: Saint Lucia, Antigua, St. Christophers, Dominica, St. Kitts, and London (England); other place names found in the Pay List under Remarks includes: Barbados.
Originals: Originals are held in The National Archives, England.
Archival Ref. No.: WO 12/11233, 11237-11238
Finding Aids:
Electronic Finding Aid Record:
  • This material is available in digital/electronic format. See Microforms staff for access
  • Related material - may or may not be included in The Loyalist Collection:
    • WO 40/25, p. 12 - Formation from Royal African Corps, 1806
    • WO 1/774, p. 5, 265 - Enlistment of convicts, 1806
    • WO 1/635, p. 313 - Deserters posting, 1807
    • WO 1/653, p. 314, 453
    • WO 4/204, p. 332 - Augmentation to 10 companies, 1807
    • WO 6/133 p. 18 - Addition of Second Lieutenant Colonel, 1807
    • CO 318/40 p. 39-125 - Martinique, capture from French, 1809
    • WO 4/718 p. 70 - Establishment in detail, 1813,
    • CO 318/40, p. 357, 389, 413 - Guadalupe, capture from French, 1810
    • WO 4/719 p. 285 - Reduction of establishment, 1817
    • WO 3/68 p. 313
    • CO 318/54 p. 93
    • WO 3/225, p. 168, 199
    • WO 4/719, p. 325 - Disbandment in North America, 1818
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