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DateOriginal Topic
26th February 2005Army Pension Scheme?
By Kris
Can anyone tell me if the army had a pension scheme of any sort for the widow's of the AZW, or were the wives just left to fend for themselves after the men died?

26th February 2005Martin Everett
Dear Kris,
Initially there was a national fund set up for widows/families of the 24th Regt whose husbands were killed at Isandhlwana. Some weeks later there was a wider fund set up under the patronage of the Lloyd Mayor of London to cover all regiments who took part in the campaign. I do have lists of contributors.

The hardest thing for the widow and their children was that they immediately lost their 'meal ticket' and were shipped home. Many immediately married their husband's best friend in order to remain in the security of the army system. Remember it was only 6 soldiers in 100 who had their families on the 'married establishment'. But in those days they had large families - 6 to 8 children was not unusual. Officially there there were only about 30-40 families involved from the 24th. Most received the equivalent of their husband's pay for a period.
27th February 2005Adrian Whiting

In 1879 the Pay and non effective pay arrangements for the Army included pension arrangements.

For officers the pension and compensation arrangements, for death in service, included payments to wider family, for example sisters, as well as widows.

For NCOs and other ranks a permanent pension was payable only after completion of 21 years service. Temporary pensions could be paid after 18 years service. there was flexibility to allow for those discharged early because of wounds etc.

Basically only the permanent pension included arrangements for next of kin. If the soldier in receipt of pension were to die, then the pension passed to the next in line according to this list-

The pension had time limits. For a male under 6 years, it was paid until they were 18. For males between 7 and 49, it was paid for 12 years. For males 50+ or for females of any age, it was paid for their life.

It follows that if the soldier had a son aged 7, then the pension was paid for 12 years, which may be considerably less than the period his widow might outlive him by. If the soldier had only daughters, or no children, then his widow received the pension for the rest of her life.

Martin refers to the number of children frequently in a family. For this reason, widows seldom received the pension. Even if the son died before the 12 years were up, the pension stppoed at that point.

As martin says, relatively few private soldiers were permitted to be on the maried roll, and the preconditions were several, including at least 7 years service, one good conduct badge and £5 in the Regimental savings account.

For a private soldier the pension fell between 8d and 1s per day.

I hope this assists,

28th February 2005Phil Pearce
I am now a bit confussed ( well that doesn't take much lol ). The reason for this is that although my great grand dad only served in the army from about 1877 to approx the early to mid 1880's there seems to have been a pension paid to his family after his death . We all know the circumstances of his death in 1898 but I belive that a pension was still being paid out as late as 1981, some 83 years after his death. It was not a great amount but still being paid out. I have not seen his military records for years & years & I cannot remember the reason for him leaving the military. However I do not think that it was on the grounds of ill health. more that he had ' done his time ' so to speak . However I may be mistaken on this point. Any ideas ?
28th February 2005Martin Everett
I think Adrian has confused matters. Of course, army pensions were paid to the longer serving soldiers. However, the majority of those in the 24th Regt at Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift would not have sufficient qualifying service.

There was a disability pension - these soldiers were known as Chelsea out-pensioners - as apposed to in-pensioner who lived at the RH Chelsea. The out-pension fund was a pot of money - each week a board sat at Chelsea to review about 80 cases -some soldiers were awarded a disability pension for a fixed period or in severe cases for life. All these cases are recorded in ledgers WO116 held in the National Archives - well worth a look if yoy really wish to understand what life on campaign was like. Quite a number of the RD defenders appears in these particular ledgers.

There are also ledgers in the National Archives which record the Chelsea in-pensioners.

The fund for families which I referred to in an earlier posting which a National Fund (very much like the Tsumani Fund) which had nothing to do with the War Office. Initially the fund was called 'for benefit of widows and families of men of the 24th Regt killed at Isandula' but later the Lord Mayor of London launched a fund for the releif of the widows and orhpans of soldiers of the British Army and others who felled at Isadnula and Rorke's Drift. To give you an idea of funds being distributed CSgt William Edwards (1/24th) widow with one son recieved 3/6 per week for herself and 1/- per week for her child.
1st March 2005Julian Whybra
My own relative kia at Isandhlwana, Pte Elijah Whybrow, left a wife and two children (they were with the regt in SA). We've never been able to find out what became of them or if they received any pension. If you (or anyone else) happen to have photocopies of any records which mentions them I'd be pleased to hear of them.
1st March 2005Phil Pearce
Thanks Martin
1st March 2005Richard
In 1946 my dad was discharged as unfit for further service due to his wound in his left upper arm. He got a 30% disability war pension, and get this five bob a week for my mum, half a crown a week for the first born child, and one and six a week for each additional child.
1st March 2005Adrian Whiting
Apols if I have not helped !

I was trying to add some detail in respect of the original question, which concerned pensions. The subject has many permutations, and I had only referred to Permanent pensions and not any other arrangements.

Rather than dive back in to try and explain the pension qualification arrangements for soldiers retiring or discharged with less than 21 years service, or for those who died as a result of their service and so on, I would offer that I have a copy of the Royal Warrant for Pay and Non-effective pay for the Army, 1878 - the regs in use in 1879. If anyone wishes to pursue the detail of why a particular individual may have qualified I would be only too happy to try and help off forum.