Tag Archives: Wexford Militia

Is Corporal William Flack of the Wexford Militia my William Flack’s father?

This blog records the results of my research looking for the parents of Captain William “Billy” Flack. (see also my summary on the Ireland Reaching Out website at http://tinyurl.com/pram6pp

A search of the available birth, marriage and death records in FindMyPast databases for a William Flack, a soldier who married an Elizabeth in the period 1770-1795 failed to reveal any obvious candidates.

Among historical records available on-line, two documents which feature a Corporal William Flack are of interest in this search, however there is only circumstantial evidence to support the view that he is the “William Flack, a soldier” I am looking for. Copies of those records are reproduced below.

Cpl William Flack Discharge Dublin Journal 12 July 1808

Corporal William Flack, of the Wexford Militia, born 1772 in Bailieborough is a possible candidate, but little is known of him. We know from his discharge papers that he was discharged unfit for further service in April 1808 and granted a pension from Kilmainham Hospital (the Irish Army equivalent to a Chelsea Pension) due to a serious injury sustained to his left hand in a skirmish whilst he was on duty with the Wexford Militia in Carlow on 12 November 1807.

His military papers indicate that he was recruited into the Wexford Militia in 1794, whilst the Wexford Militia was stationed in County Cavan to quell disturbances caused by the “Defenders”. It is not known exactly on what date William Flack was recruited but it is possibly no coincidence that the Wexford Militia was recruiting since it is known that the Regiment had lost significant numbers of men to desertion, following riots in May 1794 between Defenders and “Scotsman” (probably Presbyterian sections of the community) in which 32 Defenders had been killed.

Two opportunities for further research arise from the association with the Wexford Militia. First, history of the Wexford Militia reveals that the Regiment (unlike most Irish Militia Regiments) was deployed outside of Ireland to serve in the Channel Islands. Is it possible that passenger lists exist which might reveal details of other members of his family?

Research in Jersey Archives and in the National Archives in London revealed that when the Wexford Regiment returned from Jersey on 4 July 1800 they were 655 rank-and-file strong, and had 232 wives, and 236 children with them. Unfortunately records of the redeployment do not contain the names of accompanying family members.  (NA HO/100/91/134).

Second, a search of the Muster Rolls of the Wexford Militia for the period 1800 to 1807 revealed that during 1807-08, many rank-and-file of the Wexford Militia transferred to the regular British Army and in particular to the 63rd Regiment of Foot prior to that Regiment’s deployment to the West Indies in 1808. The Time Line below provides an insight into the movements of the 63rd Regiment in relation to the deployments of the Wexford Militia

Wexford Milia to 63rd Regt

It is not unreasonable to speculate that there were family connections between Cpl William Flack of the Wexford Militia and the William Flack who enlisted in the 63rd Regiment of Foot in 1832.

Serving with the 63rd Regiment of Foot (West Suffolks) in Australia

As a 56 year resident of Australia and a recipient of traditional view of Australian history, the findings from my research in the 1980s into the service of Private William Flack of the 63rd Regiment of Foot in Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania) in the 1830s provided many surprises.

Australian history, quite naturally, is written from the point of view of the convicts and settlers and there was very little written about the role of the British Army in the first 100 years of our history. What my research did was to remind me that in many ways the Australian colonies were governed by the military. The Governors were military men (and many still are although now in ceremonial roles only) and the public services were often managed by the officers of the Regiment.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography lists the following members of the 63rd Regiment who played important roles in colonial Australia. Many others settled here and did not leave with the Regiment for India in 1834.

I have now completed the Second Edition of “The 63rd Regiment of Foot (West Suffolk) in Australia 1829-1833) which is available to down-load (here).

Your comments and suggestions are welcome

Episode 2. In search of the parents of Capt “Billy” William Flack. b.1810 in Bailieborough, Cavan, Ireland

In my first post, I outlined possible “lines of enquiry” (LOE) for the search for the parents of my GGGrandfather, Captain William Flack whose military records indicate that he was born April 1810 in the Parish of Killan, near the town of “Balyburrow” (Bailieborough), in the County of Cavan, Ireland.

No. 782 Sergeant Major William Flack of the 63rd Regiment of Foot was honorably discharged from the regular army on 20th September 1852 in Dublin.

We know that his mother, Elizabeth Flack, was born in Ireland in about 1790 and according to her Death Certificate, died at Accrington Road, Habergham Eaves, Lancashire, England on 26 May 1863, aged 73. The Death Certificate (information supplied by the informant, “W. Flack” (presumably William Flack her son) indicated that she was the “Widow of William Flack, a soldier”.

There is no record of Elizabeth living with the family in the 1861 Census.

Who was William Flack, a soldier, married to Elizabeth Flack, who were the parents of William Flack born 1810 in Cavan?

A search of the available birth, marriage and death records in FindMyPast databases for a William Flack, a soldier who married an Elizabeth in the period 1770-1795 failed to reveal any obvious candidates.

What more can be done to track down details of the father of William Flack?