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KGL: 2 pounds 14 shillings and 7 pence for Waterloo


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  • 4 weeks later...

The payment referred to in the original post arose due to the recipient being a Waterloo veteran.  All British Army soldiers present at the battle were allowed to add two "bonus" years of pensionable service to the amount of service they had already accumulated.  If soldiers qualified for a pension on discharge from the army one of the factors taken into account was their number of years of pensionable service.  Put simplistically, the greater the number of years the higher the daily rate of pension awarded. Therefore, these two extra years were a significant boon.

However, there was a further advantage.  At the time of the battle of Waterloo an infantry soldier received an extra 1d (one pence) pay per day after accumulating 7 years man's service towards a pension and a further 1d extra after accumulating another 7 years (total of 14 years service) towards pension.  So, someone joining the infantry on 1 January 1810 would receive an extra 1d pay from 1 January 1817. The effect on that person of receiving the two bonus years was that he suddenly became entitled to receive the extra 1d from 1 January 1815 (5 years actual service plus 2 bonus years). As 1 January 1815 had long gone by the time these bonus years were granted, the army had actually underpaid the man in my example by 1d per day from 1 January 1815.  The army owed the man all those one pences.  Therefore, regimental Paymasters had a major task to identify how much (if anything) was owed to each man who had been present in the battle. It all hinged on the soldier's date of enlistment and if he had any under age service which did not qualify towards pension.

A man present at Waterloo but who had say only one year's qualifying service prior to the battle would not be owed any back payment of additional pay.  That was because even with the two bonus years their pensionable service still came out at less than 7 years in total.  That man would however receive his additional 1d two years sooner than he otherwise would have done.

Paul

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Paul,

Thanks for the example.

If I understand the last sentence of the middle paragraph correctly if a soldier enlisted on his 16th birthday and the legal enlistment age was 18 (not sure about the actual age requirement so using this as an example) he wouldn't be given pension for the first 2 years of service? If this soldier did take part in Waterloo before turning 18 was he entitled to add the 2 ''bonus years''?

In this example the soldier would obviously have been born in 1799.

 

 

Edited by Wessel Gordon
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Man's service in the British Army commenced at the age of 18. Therefore, in the example you give the soldier who enlisted on his 16th birthday could not count his first two years of his service as pensionable time served.

Soldiers under the age of 18 were awarded the 2 "bonus" years.  At the time of the soldier's discharge the two years service was added to the amount of real pensionable service he had accumulated during his service.  Men who had served at Waterloo had their entries in the regimental muster lists marked with the letters "WM" to indicate a Waterloo Man eligible for the two bonus years of service.  Presumably, that was a device help avoid mistakes/disputes arising with the passage of time over who was and wasn't eligible for the two years.

Paul

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