Can anyone help ?

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Can anyone help ?

Postby Iain » Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:44 pm

As some of you already know, I’m ex-Scots Guards.
http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/3994/scotsguards.jpg
https://www.facebook.com/groups/5298067687/

Next year is the Bi-Centenary of the Battle of Waterloo.
In the meantime, because I only live a short distance from the town, I’ve become a liaison officer between the Waterloo Comities and my 3 RHQs in London. (Grenadier, Coldstream and Scots Guards)

A short history lesson…
On Wellington’s right flank was the Hougoumont Farm. (about one mile from the Waterloo Lion complex and museums)

I suppose I don’t have to explain the events of the day…, suffice it to say that my Battalion was in the Hougoumont Farm alongside the Coldstream Guards.
The farm never fell…, nonetheless, at one point, probably due to canon fire, the south gate was damaged and about 50-odd Frenchmen penetrated the interior. All but one Drummer Boy perished !
It was the closing of the gates by the Coldstream Guards that has been in the history books, oil paintings and Waterloo tourist info-plaques ever since.
Following the Battle, Wellington remarked that the Coldstream gate incident was one of the most important aspects of the Battle that provided him with a victory.
Little did he know !

On a round 5-hour trip to Antwerp the other day, it provided me with the time to read nearly word for word the ‘Waterloo Roll Call.’
https://archive.org/details/waterloorollcall00daltuoft (a book published in 1904…, a moment in time when some people were still alive who participated in, or witnessed the Battle)

On pages 270 and 271, it’s clearly mentioned that Sergeant Majors Ralph Fraser and Brian McGregor participated in the closing of the gate !
As such, this important aspect of the Battle was a combined effort by BOTH Regiments.
Coldstream Guards AND the Scots Guards !
Haven’t a clue why it’s taken 200 years to uncover this !!

Anyway, as such…, I’ll be ensuring that next year's info-rooms at Hougoumont (following the renovation of the farm) will include the Scots Guards.
(over 2000 events thanks to Bruxelles investing 3million€)

Anyway, as you can see on pages 270 and 271, Sergeant Majors Ralph Fraser and Brian McGregor participated in the closing of the gates.

Can anyone provide any light concerning these two ?

Thanks in advance…, Iain.
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Re: Can anyone help ?

Postby Shona » Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:28 pm

Good to hear from you, Iain. Have been to Waterloo many a time when I was a wee lassie - remember an old Belgian man telling me that the memorial mound was made up from slain Scotsmen! Good luck with the project.

McGregor and Fraser's discharge papers are on Find My Past.

Brice McGregor
Born: Glasgow
Enlisted: Edinburgh
Age: 18
Discharged in 1823 in London 'worn out'

5ft 9in
Brown hair
Grey eyes
Fresh complexion
Labourer

1841 census

Sutting (?) House, Whitehall

Bruce McGregor, 59, publican, b Scotland
Elizabeth McGregor, 56, b England
Plus several servants

He appears in staff lists for The Lord Chamberlain's department for 1841, 1842 and 1846.

He died at the age of Suttley House, Whitehall, London, on 3 December 1846. Admin was granted to Frederick James McGregor.

This must be Brice's son as I can find a baptism for a Brice William McGregor on 22 February 1846 - parents Frederick James McGregor, tobacconist, and Harriet Frances McGregor. Looking. At the 1851 census, Frederick was 30 and born in Windsor, so his father could have been stationed there.

I can find two children of Brice and Elizabeth, both baptised in London.,

- Jane Elizabeth, baptised 20 August 1814, father, Brice is recorded as a serjt in the Guards and living at Tothill Street.
- Elizabeth, baptised 19 June 1827. Brice is a victualler and living in Whitehall.

His name is Charles Brice McGregor on the 1814 birth.

As regards his birth, I can't find anything concrete. His discharge papers say he was born Glasgow, yet the link to the book says it was Argyll.

Using Family Search, there are two baptisms of McGregor babies at about the right time, but no first names are noted.

16 August 1783 on Lismore to John McGregor and Katharine McGheill.
28 June 1775 at Lochgoilhead to. Donald McGregor and Catharine McIntyre.
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Re: Can anyone help ?

Postby Shona » Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:46 pm

Ralph Fraser was born in Westminster in London according to his discharge from the army in 1818 following 21 years service, having been 'worn out'. He enlisted at the age of 19 in 1799. He was discharged in London.

He W&S 5ft 9 3/4in tall, had dark hair a dark complexion and grey eyes.

Ralph Fraser appears on electoral registers in 1837 and 1851 at West Street in Pimlico, London.

1841 census - St George, Hannover Square

Ralph Fraser, 58, army pensioner
Ann Fraser, 60
Mary Williams, 18, dress maker
Sarah Bailey, 20, FS
John Marrell, 59, smith
George Marrell, 25, smith
William Marrell, 16, smith
Ann Marrell, 29

1851 census - West Street, Pimlico

Ralph Fraser, 68, widower, Chelsea pensioner
Mary Ann Williams, 28, dress maker, single

He died on 4 February 1862 at West Street, leaving effects under £800.

It may be that Ralph married three times.

There is a marriage of Ralph Fraser to Ann Tayton in Westminster in 1818 at Westminster. He was a widower. I can find a marriage between Ralph Fraser and Mary Ann Martin in Lambeth in 1814. This Ralph was a widower when he married Mary Ann Martin. Nothing to confirm whether this is the same Ralph, but nothing to say that it isn't.
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Re: Can anyone help ?

Postby Iain » Tue Sep 23, 2014 4:17 am

Shona..., you fascinate me ! (Lol..., I'm not 'chatting you up'!)

Reading this response and seeing all the other replies to other members (needing months of research and all done from the kindness of your heart) it certainly gives the impression that you're a real professional !
I, and others thank you for your help !

This information is extremely important and will, without doubt be made available to the Hougoumont Comity and more importantly, my RHQ at Wellington Barracks.
They'll certainly be pleased to have the details concerning another two of their SG heroes !
http://blidworthhistoricalsociety.co.uk/10501.html
http://www.projecthougoumont.com/restoration.html

As "a wee lass," I don't know if you visited the farm or not; as it's about a mile from the Waterloo pyramid of Scottish soldiers..., lol !
If you did, then perhaps you'll remember the Hougoumont grounds with the large barn on the right. That barn is being transformed into a small cinema for a 20-minute video of the days' events. It's being filmed for the time being in England and is more than likely being done by the BBC with Peter Snow.
The other smaller barns are being converted into info-rooms and your information will certainly be added to the archives there.

You know... Since I announced the discovery of these two Scotsmen who helped close the gates, the two historians Barry and Steve have still not yet replied. Lol ! (see Steve's interview with the BBC below)
For the time being, both are trying to find the name of the French Drummer Boy.
In the meantime, it gives me the impression that I'm probably becoming a pain in the neck ! I say this as the film is probably finished and as such, it may now need modifying. Lol !
https://www.facebook.com/video/video.ph ... 1183365959
I'm also in contact with BBC Scotland and if you don't mind, I'd like to tell them where the information originated. If you prefer to remain anonymous, just let me know.

Something else amusing is the fact that being an intermediary between the French-speaking Hougoumont region and the three RHQs in London, (the Scots, Coldstream and Grenadier Guards...> The Irish and the Welsh being 19th century regiments) the Coldstream have as their Regimental Adjutant, a certain Colonel Vandeleur. (obviously a descendent of the Waterloo Vandeleur)
Anyway, my last e-mail from him mentioned the fact that his regiment has donated quite a lot of money to the renovation..., hinting that my regiment have very 'deep pockets.'
I've not yet told him about the affair as I don't want to ruffle his feathers..., as the gate closing affair is a very precious event for his regiment and they certainly won't appreciate the fact that they now must share it with us; the Scots !
(did you notice in the Roll Call that Brice McGregor was a strong 'caber-throwing type' of Scotsman ? Lol ! Not surprising that the gates were closed..., he could probably have done it on his own !
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdZIOP6N4NU (the film)

Anyway Shona, once again, thank you for the information and I'll try and keep you updated. :wink:

..., Iain.
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Re: Can anyone help ?

Postby Shona » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:35 am

I don't remember visiting the farm, Iain, but it all will be on the To Do list for the next time I'm in Belgium.

All of the information I found on the two soldiers is from Ancestry and Find My Past. Studying social history, family history and genealogy is a hobby. I enjoy following the clues and get a wee thrill with each discovery. Keeps me out of trouble!
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Re: Can anyone help ?

Postby Iain » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:19 pm

Good afternoon Shona..., hope you are well.

Thought you might like to read this...
http://www.napoleonicwarsforum.com/view ... 2&start=40
Then drop down to John Franklin. This man is just amazing !
In my reply on the next page I mention you. :wink:

..., Iain.
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Re: Can anyone help ?

Postby peterjreeve » Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:50 pm

Hi - I'm new to this forum and I joined because I think I can help SHONA and IAIN with a little more information about BRICE McGREGOR.

I have recently acquired a Georgian Mourning Brooch which incorporates an engraved silver masonic pendant. The pendant was presented to Br. Brice McGregor in the 1820s (final digit obscured) by the brethren of the United Lodge of Strength in London 'as a Tribute of Gratitude and a Memorial of Men' and must have been incorporated into the brooch for his wife or daughter after his death.

In my research to find out more about Br. McGregor I have discovered that:
a) he joined the lodge in 1816, giving his occupation as 'QM Sgt 3rd Guards' and remained a member until his death in 1846
b) he was a joining member from '895' meaning he was originally initiated in 'lodge 895'. Information is scarce, but there was a military lodge '895' warranted by the Grand Lodge of Ireland and associated with the 71st Highland Light Infantry.
c) after his discharge, he was appointed 'keeper of the Foot Guards Suttling House' in Whitehall where he remained resident until his death. A 'suttling house' was effectively a bar/canteen for the use of the military and this one also seems to have been open to the public - hence Brice's occupation of 'Publican' and 'Victualler' on some of the documents found. In 1839 he gave evidence at the Old Bailey in a case of the theft of pewter pots from his establishment and gave its address as 'Tilt Yard at the Horse Guards'. He also gave evidence in an 1837 case when a counterfeit coin was passed to one of his barmaids at the suttling house.
d) despite John Franklin's assertions to the contrary, I'm convinced that his name was 'Brice' and not 'Bruce' - Brice is the name which appears on most of the public records including those at the Old Bailey.
e) I also agree that his full name was probably Charles Brice McGregor.

I am sure there was more I intended to say in this post, but as it's now after midnight I'll call it a day. I hope my contribution is of some use.
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Re: Can anyone help ?

Postby Iain » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:04 am

Hi Shona…, thought I’d give you an update.
In the meantime, I’m ‘shocked’ to see the date of this post ! Didn’t realize I had been working for so long on the screenplay.
Problem is that I never stop adding new information. Like below…

Just after the Battle of Waterloo, Brice McGregor became a Freemason. (PM&T…, Tyler) Then, following his period as Yeoman of the Guard, the Field Officers at Whitehall provided him with a job as a publican; but not just any old pub.
In those days they had suttling houses, (the equivalent of today’s NAAFI but open all hours) …, and his looked onto Horse Guards Parade. During which time there were terrorist attacks and of course a lot of drinking…, followed by a few sessions in the Crown Courts. (lots of newspaper reports about him)
Lol…, a story in itself !
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=781377.0

Kind ReGuards…, Iain.
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Re: Can anyone help ?

Postby Iain » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:32 pm

Shona…, just a quick update… Lol…, lots of new info for Brice McGregor.

Firstly, my screenplay should be finished this year with the help, I hope, of 2 Co-Writers. (2 experts and two Napoleonic Authors)

In the meantime, personal research has found some extremely interesting info for Brice McGregor.

Following demob, he became a publican for the Brigade of Guards in London and lived and died in the Horseguards building at Whitehall. (this is where we see the two Horseguards in front of their boxes on the Whitehall road. Downing Street nearby ! The other side of the building is Horseguards Parade where we do the Queen’s Birthday Parade. (the ‘Trooping of the Colour’)

Brice was a newspaper ‘hero’ at the time having been one of the men who helped close the north gate of the Hougoumont farm, (Waterloo) as such, he was always in the limelight. (also a Freemason)
Apart from Guy Fawkes, probably one of London’s first terrorists events involved an idiot who threw a firebomb into the enclosure behind the horse boxes…, just as Brice was leaving his pub. It only partially exploded and parts of it hit him on the face. Thinking that it was a Coldstream Guards soldier that had fired at him using his musket, he called the NCO in charge of the guard room and had the man arrested. Lol…
His musket of course had not been fired !

Note your address above…
1841 census

SUTTING (?) House, Whitehall

Bruce McGregor, 59, publican, b Scotland
Elizabeth McGregor, 56, b England
Plus several servants

In fact; ‘Suttling’ was the name for a pub in those days !
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=781377.0

Please note that my RootsChat intro mentions CSM Brice McGregor. CSMs had not yet been invented. Colour Sergeant was probably the highest NCO rank. What’s more, all sergeants in the Guards Brigade used halberds (pikes) except the Light Companies. (Left Flank…, to which I was always attached when in action) Brice and the other Coldstream and Grenadier Guards Light Companies used muskets because they were all skirmishers.

Thanks for your help Shona…, Iain.
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