Friday, May 18, 2012

This post was originally written for my blog on the 11th Regiment of Foot, at

I own a couple of histories of the 11th Regiment of Foot.

One is entitled "Historical record of the Eleventh, or the North Devon Regiment of Foot: containing an account of the formation of the regiment in 1685, and of its subsequent services to 1845", published by Parker, Furnivall and Parker, Military Library, Whitehall, 1845. The subject of the book is self-explanatory, and the book is accessible through Google books:
It contains a number of color plate illustrations, showing the regimental uniforms at various points in time.

My copy has clearly traveled. The inside cover and flyleaf are signed by the original owner of the book, H.M. Toller, Captain of the 11th Regiment. It contains on those pages a full account of his movements, from birth on 21 Feb 1840 to being gazetted into the 11th Regiment in 1858, and thence his movements across the world as a member of the regiment.

Hugh Montel Toller's genealogical lineage is conveniently traced on-line at
 2. Hugh Montel, Captain, 11th Foot, Ensign on 31 Jul 1858, promoted Captain by purchase on 21 Aug 1867, retired in Feb 1878, later a tea planter of Scarborough and Annandale Estates, Maskeliya, Ceylon, b. 21 Feb 1840 at Sydenham, bapt St. George’s, Bloomsbury, m. Mona Antoinette Fanny, dau of Major General Alexander Henry Louis Wyatt, 11th Foot, of Horsted Keynes, Sussex and his wife Mona (née Rider). He d. 18 Jun 1895 (Will dated 12 Jan 1885 and proved 12 Dec 1895) and was buried at Maskeliya and she d. 9 Sep 1931 having had issue: 
a. Henry Chambers of Colombo, Ceylon, died 1 Sep 1961.
b. Charles Hugh Montel, Capt 3rd Battalion East Lnacashire Regiment, b 1880 in Ceylon, served Boer War, died 13 Dec 1965, Hardham, Sussex, England. Had issue.
c. Mona Violet Mary, born 27 May 1882 in Ceylon. Had issue.

In 1851 Hugh was living with his parents Charles (a proctor) and Charlotte, in the village of Sydenham, Kent. He was gazetted as an ensign in July 1858, and spent the majority of his career from that point out of England. The full chronology is shown above. A brief summary of major movements:

Born Feb 25 1840
July 21st 1858, Gazetted Ensign 11th Foot
Went to Ireland (various places)
July 2nd 1861, Gazetted Lieut 11th Foot
Went to India Jul 1864, Landed Calcutta Nov 1864 (stationed in various parts)
Gazetted Captain 11th Foot, Aug 21st 1867
Went to England Feb 1869 (stationed England and Ireland)
Went to India Nov 1871
Acting Paymaster February 1876
Went to England April 1877
Sold out 11th Regiment February 1878
Went to Ceylon February 1878 (living at various places including Scarborough, Annandale)
Went to England Oct 1890
Went to Ceylon May 1891
Intended sailing for England July 8th 1895, died June 18th 1895

There are three other documents included in this particular copy.

Firstly was the following loose article, undated. A search revealed this article appeared in Chamber's Edinburgh Journal, published in 1833. The article was reprinted in a number of 'anecdote' books.

The Last Duke of York
The last Duke of York once remarked to Colonel W., at the mess of the 11th Regiment, that the colonel was uncommonly bald, and, although a younger man than His Royal Highness, he stood more in need of a wig. The colonel, who had been of very long standing in the service, and whose promotion had been by no means rapid, informed the Duke that his baldness could easily be accounted for. "In what manner?" asked His Royal Highness, rather eagerly. To which Colonel W. replied, "By junior officers stepping over my head." The Duke was so pleased with the reply that the gallant colonel obtained promotion in a few days afterwards.

Secondly, a loose piece of paper with a list of Lieutenant-Colonels Commanding the Devonshire Regiment (Late 11th Regiment) from 1837 to 1887.

Thirdly, pasted onto the inside of the rear cover of the book is a very long newspaper article on the history of the Devonshire Regiment. The article again is pasted back-to-back (so only half the article is shown below), and is undated, though the name 'Devonshire Regiment' rather than '11th Regiment of Foot (North Devonshire)' suggests it was written after 1881 when the 11th was renamed to Devonshire Regiment. I could find uncover where it was published.

This book appears to have come into Toller's possession in 1877. Under his signature in the front of the book is written "Jubbulpore... January 1st 1877". This is consistent with his rank at the time also (Capt.). Perhaps he acquired it from a fellow member of the 11th also in India - the death rate was fairly atrocious at the time.

It is difficult to speculate on the book's path following his death. Clearly it was in the family possession when he died in 1895 in Ceylon as his movements are entered there, all in one hand and written in at the same time at some point after he died, from a document where Toller's movements were recorded. Toller's children died in both Ceylon and England. Whichever path it took, when I obtained it in 2011 it had spent a long period of time as part of a military book collection in France. It's fairly impressive that it was printed in England in 1845, was in India in 1877 and then in Ceylon when Toller was a planter there (and perhaps went back and forth to England with him), before somehow ending up in a collection in France. Now it's in the United States. Not bad traveling for a book!

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