Unusual military canvas roll containing pay and account book for Thomas Onley 1st Battalion Rifles, 1839
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An original military canvas roll containing the pay and account book for Thomas Onley of 1st Battalion, The Rifles who served in the Cape of Good Hope and Corfu. Onley joined The Rifles in 1839 in Weedon, Northants at the age of 17 years. He was a labourer from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, his book tells us, standing 5’6” tall with light brown hair. He served in Corfu from 1844 to August 1846 and then the Cape of Good Hope from November 1846 returning to England 11th August 1850. The books fascinatingly tells us what he was issued from towels, shirts, forage cap, razor his stock and knapsack. When he was issues Nene clothing and equipment, this is documented.
We know little of Onley’s campaigns, but the Rifle Brigade was the regiment that the infamous 95th Rifles (which the fictitious Richard Sharpe was supposed to serve in).
A fascinating survivor of military service from the mid 19th century.