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Life of the Month - James Mingies

James Mingies, 96th Regiment of Foot:
67 years of service to the Crown
by Bob Barltrop


The Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal awarded to James Mingies


   In April 1823, a powerful French army crossed into Spain in an attempt to secure the release of King Ferdinand who was being held prisoner. This caused tensions to rise throughout Europe and so sanction was given in the UK to create additional regiments of foot, numbered 94 to 99, the previous bearers of these numbers having been disbanded only a few years earlier at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The orders for raising the 94th and 95th Regiment were issued in December 1823 and, in February 1824, the order was given to raise the 96th. The ‘new’ 96th Regiment of Foot was formed at Manchester and quartered at Salford Barracks. The men were paid 1/- per day, 6d more than normal as they probably had to provide their own food.

   James Mingies1 was born around 1800 in Dundee, Scotland, and attested at Edinburgh as a private in the 94th Regiment on 31 December 1823. However, recruiting had been very successful, with the result that the 94th was soon above its establishment. So, on 11 February 1824, Pte Mingies, together with 319 others, volunteered to join the new 96th. He was in the first division of volunteers to march from Edinburgh to Manchester, leaving Edinburgh on 12 February and arriving in Manchester on 17 March 1824.

   The 96th, although still without any proper clothing, was inspected for the first time on 23 March 1824 by Major General Sir John Byng, KCB, and, as soon as it had reached its establishment, it was ordered on foreign service. The regiment set sail from Liverpool in four parties bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Pte Mingies embarked in the Borodino on 27 July 1824 and six weeks later arrived in Halifax, where he was posted to No 3 Company and paid 6d per day.

   He remained in Halifax for just over a year and, apart from two spells in hospital and being transferred to No 6 Company, the time appears to have been incident-free. In the autumn of 1825 the 96th was relieved by 1st Battalion The Rifle Brigade and embarked for service in Bermuda, with James Mingies sailing in the Joseph Green. This left on 25 September and arrived at St George’s on 5 October 1825.

   Pte Mingies was promoted to corporal in December 1827 and his pay was increased to 10d a day. The 96th remained in Bermuda for three years until relieved by the 74th Regiment in 1828, when Corporal Mingies and the first four divisions sailed on 30 August in the Tyne, Columbine, Ringdove and Neva arriving back in Halifax by 11 September 1828. As well as maintaining a garrison in Halifax, the regiment furnished detachments to Cape Boston, Prince Edward Island and Annapolis Royal.

   Cpl Mingies remained in Halifax for almost seven years, including three months ‘on command’ at York Redoubt in 1830. He was promoted sergeant in January 1831 and his pay was increased to 1/4d a day. His pay was increased by a further 1d a day in October 1831 in what appears to have been a general pay rise. In June 1832 (his pay having increased to 1/10d a day in March) Sergeant Mingies, together with a detachment under Captain Bush Roberts, was posted to Annapolis where he remained until May 1833 when, after a ten-day march, he arrived back in Halifax.