Zulu: Lieutenant John Chard:What's our strength? Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead:Seven officers including surgeon, commissaries and so on; Adendorff now I suppose; wounded and sick 36, fit for duty 97 and about 40 native levies. Not much of an army for you
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Subject: Private William Annable 99th Regiment Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:21 pm
Hi, I'm looking for any information on Private William Annable, later Corporal and Sergeant. He was in the 99 Regiment and 1st Berks Regt. I'm pretty certain he was in the Zulu War because his medals are in the Wardrobe (Berks Regt museum that is unfortunately not mine), including the South Africa medal 1877-79. He was my great grandfather, born 1856 and died in Derby 1934, and his real name was William Commons. He enlisted 12 Dec 1874 in Derby, Reg No 457, and was demobbed 8 Dec 1886 as a sergeant. He enlisted as William Annable, probably mistakenly, as his mother was living as the wife of Francis Annable in 1871. However I have no proof of any marriage. He was reprimanded later for this and given a warning. He later joined up aged 43 on 20 March 1900 as a Sergeant in the Royal Reserve Regt and served a year. This regiment appears to have been a sort of paid Dad's Army formed in the Boer War, possibly as recruiters or to release younger men to South Africa. I do have in my wardrobe a red sash which was his but I don't know when he would have had this, probably 1900 I think. It has taken me years to find out what I know, because of the name change.
Any information would be gratefully received.
Petty Officer Tom
Posts : 144 Join date : 2017-02-05
Subject: Re: Private William Annable 99th Regiment Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:48 pm
You great grandfather, William Annable, is on the Medal Roll for the 99th as 1321 Pte. Annable, William. The record shows he was engaged against the Zulu in 1879, and was therefore entitled to the South Africa Medal with the “1879” clasp.
His attestation records have him as William Annable, alias William Commons. (The alias appears to have been written in later.)
Posts : 3032 Join date : 2009-03-03 Location : Devon
Subject: Re: Private William Annable 99th Regiment Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:46 am
Subject: Re: Private William Annable 99th Regiment Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:56 am
William Annnable attested 9 dec 1874 to 95th, to 99th 31 march 1878, discharged 8 dec 1886, army reserve 19 jan 1881 recalled 2 aug 1882 to berkshire regiment. record of service to south africa 2 dec 1878 to 29 dec 1879 to bermuda to 1 march 1881, to south africa 2 march 1881 to 31 may 1881 to home station and discharge at Reading 8 dec 1886 12 years service.on his papers two campaigns and three medals s/a 1879, egypt 1882 and star. the egypt medal was awarded on 24 oct 1922, how and why he received this medal is a very good question as he seems to have no service in egypt??
re-enlisted 20 march 1900 age 44 and was discharged again on 19 march 1901. According to the census 1901 he was born Ashbourne Derbyshire in 1856 married to Helen M[h]estor in 1883 at st Mary's Derby she was born Ireland 1862, 1901 address 11 Bath St Derby 6 kids, william b.89, ellen b.1890, thomas b.93, gertrude b.1897, winnie b.1898, Agnes b.1900. 1911 census add 8 Noel st Derby, he is a widow living in digs with only gretrude with him.
Posts : 3032 Join date : 2009-03-03 Location : Devon
Subject: Re: Private William Annable 99th Regiment Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:26 pm
Subject: Re: Private William Annable 99th Regiment Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:12 pm
Thanks very much guys, it all helps. The army record papers are a bit of a mess. Apart from his reenlistment in 1900 there are two sets, both attestations dated 12th December 1874 (my mistake about the 9th December). One has been edited and some sheets appear in one but not the other. Part of one sheet is covered by a piece of paper. Neither mention his Egyptian service but there is a note written by him in 1900 in which he claims this. I'll have to go through the sheets of both versions again page by page, comparing them to see if I can make more sense. He was a "fluor spar turner" when he joined up. This apparently means working on fluorspar in a lathe. Derbyshire having a lot of fluor spar then. This would have been an unpleasant job as a lot of calcium dust and other particles would be in the air. Perversely joining the army may have lengthened his life as the dust causes silicosis and lung cancer. He married Ellen Nester (various spellings) in 1883 and had 8 children, one died as an infant. She was a Catholic born in Ireland. His wife died in 1904 and the family disintegrated. In 1911 he was staying with his stepsister Mary Johnson nee Annable and daughter Gertrude. I think this may have been because she was an invalid as she died in 1915. My grandmother Winifred Commons was 6 when her mother died and was said to be adopted in the 1911 and living with a childless couple but it may have meant she was fostered out as nobody in her family knew this until I looked at the record. All of the other children/young adults were in various lodgings or in service. No social services then. I imagine he sold his medals to the regiment at some stage but I will see if I can find this out from the Wardrobe museum. That is him in the Nottingham paper 1879graves. Thanks. I have spent years looking for him, not helped by him being called "Old Bill" in the family who thought he had been in the Boer War. There was also supposed to be a picture of him in Derby Museum/Art Gallery but I wrote and they had no record apart from a WW1 postcard of "Old Bill", obviously not him. I only found out about the name change when an Annable researcher contacted me and we joined the dots. I had suspected his mother married again and then a surname change but have been unable to find a marriage record so suspect there was no legal marriage. Her new "husband" had problems with the law and I have an amazingly good photo of one of his sons courtesy of Pentonville Prison where he was doing 7 years for stealing 7 loaves of bread!!! William seems to have been straight, although my mother thought he may have had a drink problem. He had one conviction which the Judge said was out of character so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I am amazed at the rapid response so thanks again to you all
Posts : 10055 Join date : 2009-04-07 Age : 64 Location : Melbourne, Australia
Subject: Private William Annable ( Commons ) 99th Regt Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:46 am
Hi David Excellent news that the Forum has been able to help , there are several very well connected people on here , nothing seems to '' Stump '' them ! . Hopefully you come across the Medal , how good would that be ! . 90th
Posts : 7450 Join date : 2009-09-21 Age : 73 Location : Cape Town South Africa
Subject: Re: Private William Annable 99th Regiment Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:16 am
David What may be of assistance is that if he was in the December 78 embarkation he would possibly have been on the 'Himalaya'. POT could confirm that. One subject I have been researching for the last few years is also a member of the 99th who was on the same ship. There are a lot of coincidences concerning these two which would lead me to believe they were in the same company. My chap, William Orchard, says: 'We marched to the frontier of Zululand where we found Col Pearsons Companies and two other Companies G and B 99th.' It seems highly likely that your man would then have seen a lot of action, Nyezane, Gingindlovu and the relief of Eschowe.
Subject: Re: Private William Annable 99th Regiment