WAR SERVICE 1600-1900

Identified by the following designations – descendants of Bartholomew Barcham of Great Yarmouth (BwB); Juler branch of North Walsham (JnJ); William Barcham of Great Yarmouth and Mundesley (WmB); John Barcham of Edingthorpe (JnB); and Benjamin Barcham of Sherringham (BnB). In chronological order these are:


David Barcham (d. ~ 1693), son of Sarah (Freyer) and William Bawchen) served aboard HMS Hawke, an eight-gun fire-ship, launched in 1690, at the time of the Nine Years War (the War of the English Succession). David may have been in the Anglo/Dutch fleet that fought engagements in the English Channel in 1690 and 1692 against the French fleet.


 (WmB) William Barcham (1771–1859) was master the 136 ton brig Agenoria when his ship was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and served as a transport from 1798 to 1802, during the Napoleonic War, presumably supplying Nelson’s fleet in the Mediterranean and the Baltic. A letter from William’s wife, dated May 13, 1898, shows her concern that if captured by the French he would be treated as an enemy combatant:

My Dearest Life.

..... I am very unhappy at the thought of your going out. I shan't have a happy moment until you return from this cruise. I learn from a letter you wrote to Mr. Stone [that] should you come to any engagement you will be exposed to as much danger as the fighting ships. Oh my Barcham, should it be your misfortune to be killed or taken prisoner, the Lord only knows what will become of me and our dear babes. I should be forever miserable to loose the best of husbands and a tender father. I resign myself to devote prayers for your return. Heavens grant you may return safe to me. .... could I and the dear children be on board to share whatever fate may befall you I should be comfortable. …

…... Pray except [sic] my sincere love and the children's duty. Write to me every opportunity and let me know every particular.

I remain Dear Barcham

    Yours affectionately for life,

          Judith Barcham

Her fears were justified. From the entry in the 1800 edition of Lloyd’s Register of Shipping stating, ‘damage repaired, new bottom and large repairs in 1789’, the Agenoria may have sustained damage in 1798/9 during an engagement with the French. The obituary of William’s grandson, Herbert Clarence Barcham, published in a Norfolk newspaper in 1927, states that William:

 ‘…. was a great lover of the sea, and his roving took him into many countries. His experiences included a very exciting time in the French Revolution, during which he became a prisoner in the Bastille, from which he made his escape after getting a duplicate of his dungeon key, from which he had obtained a wax impression. ….’.

This seems to be a rather exaggerated account, since the entries in Lloyd's Register of Shipping show that the Agenoira was not captured and that William Barcham remained in command from 1797 to 1805. Chris Farrow looked for corroboration of the account in the obituary by searching Norfolk newspapers published at that time for an account of the damage sustained by the Agenoria. Unfortunately, newspaper archives at the British Museum (Colindale Library) and Norfolk County Archives contain no issues of the Norfolk Chronicle, Norwich Mercury or Great Yarmouth newspapers for the relevant years; and the Maritime Museum at Greenwich has no records of civilian transport vessels. However, there are several contemporary newspaper articles about the treatment of prisoners of war. 


(JnB)  John Rix Blakely (1788–1837), who married Naomi Barcham, was only eleven when he became a midshipman on HMS Inflexible. In the spring of 1800, the ship left England, but returned in August of the same year. After this cruise, John returned home and went to the grammar school in Ipswich for four years. Then, when he was about sixteen, he entered the army and was stationed successively in Scotland, Sicily, Holland and Ireland. During this time he described himself as ‘carried away by the torrent of depravity which prevailed among men’….. He left the army in 1811, later becoming the pastor of the Baptist Chapel at Meeting Hill, Worstead.


(JnJ) George Walker (b. ~ 1849), grandson of Mary (Allisstone) and William Fox Juler, was a gunner in the Royal Artillery, and was stationed at Woolwich Dockyard when he was enumerated in the 1871 Census of Kent.


Kaffir War, South Africa

(BB) John McKay, father of Rhoda Denyer (b. 1860, at Richmond, Cape of Good Hope) who married Charles Raven Barcham, was 16 when he joined the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders as a drummer boy. He served with the regiment in the West Indies, and later in South Africa where he lost an eye during the Kaffir War (1846–1848) protecting Afrikaner farmers against raids by Africans. At the end of that war, a grant of land was given to the survivors, but John did not take it up. Instead he lived with the family of Louis Botha, a cousin of General Botha. John married Mary Denyer at Cape Town Cathedral and wedding festivities took place at the Bothas’ house. Later, John, Mary and their daughter returned to Britain and settled in London. [From notes provided by Brian Howlett]


Crimean War

(JnJ)  John Allisstone Juler  (1825–1854), son of Mary (Allisstone) and William Fox Juler, was an Able Seaman aboard HMS Albion, a 72 gun second-rate ship of the line (1842), commanded by Captain Stephen Lushington. According to the ship’s log, on the Black Sea off Varna, a port on the coast of Bulgaria, preserved in the National Archives at Kew, for Tuesday, 15 August, 1854, John Juler (AB) ‘departed this life’ at 11.40 am; and his body was ‘committed to the deep’ at 6.20 pm. On that day, 18 men died of cholera out of the ships complement of 820, including marines. According to John Marsden, the Surgeon’s Log (ADM 101) lists a large number of cases of cholera and dysentery. At any time there were more than 100 men in the sick bay. At noon on August 15, 1854, the Auxiliary Ship’s Log stated that 136 men on the sick list out of the ship’s complement of 820, and 18 men, including John Juler, were reported as ‘departing this life’.

It is not known when John Allisstone Juler joined on in the Navy. Before 1853, men signed up for service on a specific ship. Continuous Service Engagement started in 1853, and ADM 139 lists all men who joined or rejoined the Navy from 1853. Since John Juler is not listed in ADM 139, it is assumed that he joined the crew of HMS Albion before 1853. Unfortunately the muster and payroll books of the Albion have not survived.  A book, War in the Crimea, tells more about the preparations in August 1854 for landing the allied forces in the Crimea and the contemplated siege of Sebastopol:

….. The Cabinet is unanimously of the opinion that unless you [Lord Raglan] and Marshal St. Arnaud feel that you are not sufficiently prepared, you should lay siege to Sebastopol, as we are more than ever convinced that without the reduction of this fortress and the capture of the Russian fleet, it will be impossible to conclude an honourable and safe peace …..

While awaiting embarkation, the troops were employed in making fascines and gabions for the siege works, the material for which, abundantly supplied by the woods around them, might not be found on the plains before Sebastopol, and great quantities of these were collected, ready for conveyance, on the south side of Varna Bay. ….

It was at Varna that the huge multitudinous business of embarkation went on. ….. The troops moved down slowly from their camps; the poison in the air caused a general sickness, and the men were so enfeebled that their knapsacks were borne for them on packhorses during even such a short march as five or six miles, all they could at once accomplish.  As they were embarked, they sailed for a general rendezvous in the Bay of Balchick, about fifteen miles north of Varna.  The mysterious scourge still pursued them on board ship, and added a horrible feature …. For the corpses, sunk with shot at their feet, after a time rose to the surface and floated upright, breast high, among the ships, the swollen features pressing out of the blankets or hammocks which enwrapped them.

After all was assembled, an adverse wind still delayed them; but on 7th September the whole armament got under weigh in fine weather. Each great British merchant steamer wheeled around till in position to attach a tow-rope to a sailing transport 9most of them were East Indiamen of the largest class0, and then again wheeled till the ship in the rear attached itself to a second; then all wheeled into their destined positions for the voyage. They were formed in five columns, each of thirty vessels, each distinguished by a separate flag ……  Our [British] flotilla was commanded and escorted by Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons in the Agamemnon. Our naval Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Dundas, directed the British Force that was held ready to engage the enemy, including ten line-of-battle ships, two screw steamers, two fifty-gun frigates, and thirteen smaller steamers carrying powerful guns, ……


North West Frontier, India, and Boxer Revolution, China

(JnB)  Maj. Arthur Robertson Browning (1860–1901) graduated from the Royal Military College as second-lieutenant in 1879, then  served with the Indian Army on the North West Frontier – Waziristan and the Zhob (Swat) Valley – where a war  against insurgents is being fought at present —  until 1900, when he was sent to Northern China to fight against Boxer rebels. He was killed in action at Funing, near Chingwangtao, on April 20, 1901.

He was the Quartermaster of the Worcestershire Regiment, stationed at the town of Dera Ismail Khan when he married Isabel Green (1862–1937) at Nagpur, India, on May 14, 1887. Isabel (1862–1937) was the daughter Emma and John Barcham Green; and Arthur was the son of Elizabeth and Colin Arrott Robertson Browning, and a grandson of Dr Colin Arrott Browning; and nephew of Lucy Sophia who married James Edward de la Mare. Their grandsons Philip de la Mare and Louis Sandford Barcham served in WWI.

Isabel and Arthur’s son, Charles Stuart Browning (1891–1916) was killed in action in Tanganyika [now Tanzania] in 1916, see War Service 1914-1918.

Major Arthur Robertson Browning served in the Zhob Valley in 1884, Hazara in 1888, Waziristan in 1894, and was killed in action at Tai Tao Ying on April 26, 1901 during the Boxer Rebellion while leading 100 men of the 4th Punjab Infantry against 3000 Boxers. Three telegrams, give a terse account of the circumstances of Major Browning’s death, aged 41:

From the General Officer Commanding, China Expedition, Peking to the Secretary of State for India

(Telegram) No. 227,                                                                   20th April, 1901

In consequence of appearance of robber band in the country to the north of railway between Lachow and Chingwangtao, 100 men, 4th Punjab Infantry, under Major Browning, dispatched to Funing. Regret that report just received detachment encountered 1000 men well armed 10 miles from Funing. Browning and 1 Sepoy killed. Detachment went back to Funing, enemy in pursuit. Remainder of regiment under Colonel Radford being sent to reinforce.

From the General Officer Commanding, China Expedition, 3rd Brigade, via Shanghai to the Secretary of State for India

(Telegram)                                                                                      21st April, 1901

Major Browning, 4th Punjab Infantry, killed in action with robbers 20th April, near Funing.

From the General Officer Commanding, China Expedition, Peking to the Secretary of State for India

(Telegram) No. 228,                                                                    21st April, 1901

My No. 227. wounded, 20th April, Lieutenant Stirling, 4th Punjab Infantry; slightly wounded 6 Sepoys. Enemy well armed, mounted, retired Tai-tou-ying. Radford’s party arrived Funing this morning. Additional troops, one squadron Jodhpores [Imperial Service Troops], 100 Jats [6th Bengal Infantry], 200 Japanese will join him this evening. Wounded all doing well. Railway posts reinforced, Addressed Secretary of State; repeated Military Secretary.

He was probably buried in the Funing district of Hebei Province. The inscription on a memorial at St Augustine’s Church in Kohat, northern Pakistan, reads:

In memory of Major Arthur Robertson Browning

4th Punjab Infantry, killed in action at Tai Tao Ying, North China, April 20 1901.

Erected by his brother officers as a token of their regard and esteem

There is a similar plaque at a church in Dawlish, Devon, favoured retirement place for members of the Browning family. Arthur’s career from the age of 21 with the Worcestershire Regiment on the North West Frontier in India from 1881 to 1900, and in China from 1900 to April 1901, is summarized below:

BROWNING, ARTHUR ROBERTSON, Major (1860–1901),  Tablet at Kabah, No.2944, son of Colin Arrott Robertson Browning, Esqr., 41 .E.E., some time Director General of Education in the Central Provinces [India], born of the 19th February, 1860. Entered H.M’s. Service (from the Royal Military College) on the 12th August 1879, as a Second-Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. He joined the regiment at Madras the same year, and in 1881 served for some time as [illegible] Staff Officer at Jaipur (?), and from 1881 to 1883 he held the appointment of Interpreter in the corps.

On 19th February, 1883, he was appointed as Wing Officer in the 4th Punjab Infantry on (probation?) for the Bengal Staff Corps, into which afterwards admitted with effect from that date, He joined the regiment at Dera Ismal Khan [near the Afghanistan border], and in the following September he was appointed a Wing Officer permanently. In November and December 1883, he accompanied a wing of the regiment on a [illegible] expedition to the Takki I Suleman, at the end of the latter month he proceeded with the regiment to Dera Ismal Khan, and on arrival there was appointed Actg. Quartermaster, a post which he continued holding for thirteen months. In October and November 1884 he served with the regiment in the Kish (?) Valley Expedition, and was present in the action of D----- (?) . On the conclusion of that expedition he returned to Dera Ismal Kahn, and in February 1885 he was appointed Quartermaster of the regiment. In the following month he went home on leave [when he met his bride-to-be].

On returning to India in March 1886 he resumed his appointment of Quartermaster, which he continued holding until he was appointed Adjutant in the following September. In February 1888 he accompanied the regiment from Dera Ghazi Kahn to Kohat, and in the autumn of the same year he served with it in the Hazara Campaign, taking part in all the operations on the Black Mountains, including the action at Kohat (awarded the India Medal and clasp).  He afterwards proceeded with the regiment to the Hawal -----(?) Camp of ---- (?)  and returned with it to Kohat in December. In October 1889 he was with the corps at the ----- (?) of the Jowald (?) village of Shalalabad (?).

In August 1900, he vacated the Adjutancy and reverted to the position of Wing Officer, but in January 1891, he was appointed. Wing Commander, and retained that post for two months in the course of which he served with the regiment in the M------ (?) Expedition. On the conclusion of these operations expedition he embarked with the regiment to ----land (?) area and arrived there on 29th March, and at that station during the next two years and nine months he served four years, some as Wing Commander and some as Second-in-Command of the regiment. From April to July 1893 he served with the regiment at J---- (?) and at the end of the year he marched with it from Edwardesabad [Banun] to Dera Ishmail Khan. From January 1894 to February 1895 he was Wing Commander and Second-in-Command, remained in this position throughout the Waziristan Expedition of 1894-95 (clasp added to India medal). In February 1895, he was appointed to officiate as Second in Command, and returning to Dera Ishmail Khan on the termination of the Waziristan Campaign he served  in that position until the end of November [1898], when he went home on leave, and in September 1899, during his absence, the permanent appointment of Second-in-Command was conferred upon him.

On his return to India in December 1899, he rejoined his regiment at Kohat, to which place it had just returned from P----- (?) in the K---- (?) Valley, and from January to September 1900 he officiated as Commandant of the corps. In the autumn of 1900 he accompanied his regiment in service to China on the occasion (?) of the ‘Boxer’ troubles, and on 20th April 1901 he was killed in action at Tai Tao Ying, near Funing, Northern China.

[Transcribed from an e-mail attachment of pages from Soldiers of the Raj the Indian Army, 1600–1947, by Irving Miles and George William De Rhe Philae, published by Naval and Military Press Ltd. ISBN 10 1843421925 and 13 978 1843411925, includes biographies of men who died in service.] For information about the Boxer Rebellion, see ‘British Indian Army’.


(BnB)  Neal Barcham (1859–1924), son of Susan and James Barcham, was a soldier with the British Army in India during the 1880s. His regiment and where he was stationed are not known. It is possible that he took part in campaigns on the North West Frontier. He returned to London before 1893, where he married. Neal, his wife and children emigrated to Australia in 1911.


(BnBGeorge Nicholas Barcham (b. 1857), Regimental No. 1004,  son of Susan Ann and James Barcham, enlisted on April 25, 1884, and was a private in the Dorset Regiment  until he was discharged on April 23, 1896. According to several websites, the 39th Regiment of Foot was amalgamated into the Dorsetshire Regiment in 1881, and saw service in India. Battle honours for campaigns around the world include Afghanistan in the late 19th century.


 (JnJ)  Capt. ----- -----  (d. 1899, in India), had recently married Julia Meliene Lound  (b. 1856)  then they went sailed to India with the Manchester Regiment in 1885. The regiment had been formed in 1881, and the 2nd Battalion was stationed on the North West Frontier where, in 1891, it participated in two expeditions against warring tribes. After the death of her husband in 1891, Julia and her sons returned to England. Her sons served in the army during WWI.