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  • A research question for our British friends....

    Here's a research question for those of you across the Pond.....

    I'm researching a German baron who was an adventurer and soldier of fortune and who was killed in the American Civil War. Prior to coming to fight in our Civil War, he evidently served in the Royal Army and may also have done a stint in the Royal Navy.

    Here's my question: Is there a way to quickly obtain his service records from the Royal Army and Royal Navy? And is there anyone who might be able to assist me in tracking them down?

    I would be really grateful if anyone can help me. Time is VERY much of the essence here, as I am already late on delivering my book manuscript to the publisher. Thanks for any help any of you might be able to render!

    Eric
    "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

    Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

  • #2
    In my view the best place is www.military-genealogy.org.uk they hold the service records of 2,000,000 servicemen, including from the 19th Century. They have records from the Crimean War, when many Germens were recuited into British Army towards the end of the War. It may included the man you are looking for.
    War is less costly than servitude

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks very much, Paul.
      "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

      Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

      Comment


      • #4
        Paul,

        My guy did NOT come up in that database.

        Got any other ideas for me?

        Eric
        "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

        Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Eric Wittenberg View Post
          Paul,

          My guy did NOT come up in that database.

          Got any other ideas for me?

          Eric
          Well if he was an officer in the Royal Navy you might try www.nationalarchives.gov.uk. Which is the national archives for the UK and do hold services records at least for Officers in the 19th Century Royal Navy. The problem for ordinary seaman and indeed privates in the Army, was that individual service records were kept in written form and were sometimes given to the sailor or soldier at the end of his service career as a refernce to help him get empolyment elsewhere. Some regiments did kept such records but most of those have been collected up by www.military-genealogy.com. Alas the records for the man look are looking may no longer exist. It was not until the 20th Century and especially during the First World War was it seen a useful for future history to kept the service records of all those who served.
          War is less costly than servitude

          Comment


          • #6
            Hmmm....well, that is probably a dead end, then. My guy served in India and during the Second Opium War, and then came to the US. The likelihood of finding records is not good and I am very, very short on time. It was worth a try. Thanks for your help, Paul. I am much obliged.
            "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

            Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Eric

              If you know what Regiment of the British Army he served you may be able to contact the relevant Regimental archive. They may well hold certain snippets of his service etc.

              If he was an officer his Obituary should have appeared in the Times newspaper, especially given his colourful background.

              Could you give us this gents name as it could open some lines of enquiry for us over here?

              Regards
              "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

              "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

              Comment


              • #8
                Andy,

                The problem is that I have no clue what unit he was in.

                His name was Baron Paul von Koenig (also spelled von König). 100% of what I know is that he served in Calcutta and in the Second Opium War during the period 1856-1860, but that's ALL I know about that phase of his life.

                I appreciate any assistance you might be able to render. Thanks, Andy.

                Eric
                "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

                Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Eric

                  Contacted a friend who has excellent knowledge of the Indian & British Army in the far east and he would like to know in what context that
                  your 100% certain that he served IN the British Army
                  The reason he asks is that it wasn't unusual for foreigners to serve as mercenaries ATTACHED to British/Indian forces, for a length of time condusive to the worth/loyalty/cost of the individual?

                  I would be sceptical without any proof of this gents connections to German Nobility. A Baron is pretty low down the Nobility tree and in many parts they could be 'bought' very easily. Also the word von doesn't always have Nobility associated with it, as prior to mid 17Century any person could have a von before there name. Equally this trait continued after the Noble connection to von was established in the mid 17C.
                  Even from my scant knowledge of those times I've read of many a person upping his CV so to speak to get a better job. One can easily imagine this chap turning up and presenting himself as Baron von Whatever in some flash uniform and iffy medals (Europe abounded in both at this time) and offering his services.

                  Regards
                  "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                  "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Andy H View Post
                    Hi Eric

                    Contacted a friend who has excellent knowledge of the Indian & British Army in the far east and he would like to know in what context that

                    The reason he asks is that it wasn't unusual for foreigners to serve as mercenaries ATTACHED to British/Indian forces, for a length of time condusive to the worth/loyalty/cost of the individual?

                    I would be sceptical without any proof of this gents connections to German Nobility. A Baron is pretty low down the Nobility tree and in many parts they could be 'bought' very easily. Also the word von doesn't always have Nobility associated with it, as prior to mid 17Century any person could have a von before there name. Equally this trait continued after the Noble connection to von was established in the mid 17C.
                    Even from my scant knowledge of those times I've read of many a person upping his CV so to speak to get a better job. One can easily imagine this chap turning up and presenting himself as Baron von Whatever in some flash uniform and iffy medals (Europe abounded in both at this time) and offering his services.

                    Regards
                    Andy,

                    No, I am not sure he was anything but a mercenary. It's entirely possible that he was.

                    As for his bona fides as a baron, those are beyond dispute. I've had them confirmed by the current Baron von Koenig. That was not made up.

                    Eric
                    "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

                    Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi Eric

                      Both myself and a friend have searched several archives and we've drawn a blank I'm afraid.

                      Possibly the relative may well be able to help you more through his connections etc if he's so willing.

                      Anyway I wish you the best on this information quest

                      Regards
                      "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                      "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks, Andy. I appreciate that very much.

                        The current baron has been extremely helpful and has provided me with everything that he has, but what he has is limited. I fear that I've reached a dead end, which is okay, but I wanted to turn every possible stone before saying that I'm all in and am comfortable that I've turned the stones that I can turn. This marks a big one off my list.

                        I often say that there is a value to knowing where things aren't, just as there is a value to knowing where things are. Now I know that there's nothing there and can move on. That has value.

                        I very much appreciate your effort, and I also appreciate your friend's. Please give him my regards and please express my appreciation for his help also, if you would.

                        Eric
                        "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

                        Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Eric Wittenberg View Post
                          Andy,

                          No, I am not sure he was anything but a mercenary. It's entirely possible that he was.


                          Eric
                          i know its a bit late
                          But seeing he saw service in India and China before 1860 it's possible he never served in the British Armed services, but was employed in one of the Honourable East Indian Company regiments.

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