Royal Artillery

William Barlow was born in Wigan, Lancashire to William & Mary Barlow (nee Howarth) on 12th March 1802.

He joined the Royal Artillery, 6th Battalion as a Gunner on April 1st 1821 after attesting at Doncaster, York on 17th May. He was nineteen years old and had previously been employed as a weaver.

William Barlow? Whilst the photograph I have included shows a person whom the family have believed to be William Barlow (1802-1883) in uniform, extensive research and discussion has determined this is not the uniform of the RA and, William had left the army in 1842, when photography was in its infancy! This particular uniform is a collection of various others and its source can still not be traced, despite our best efforts.

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Active Service

William served in the RA for a total of 21 years and 104 days and attained the rank of Sergeant before retiring :

6th Battalion served as a Gunner
1st April 1821 to 30th June 1824   (3 years & 91 days)

RA served as a Bombardier Corporal
1st July 1824 to 9th April 1834    (9 years & 283 days)

RA Invalid served as a Sergeant
10th April 1834 to 13th July 1842   (8 years & 95 days)

Regimental Board Report

On 8th June 1842 the Principal Medical Officer at Woolwich gave the opinion that :

........after a careful examination I am of the opinion that William Barlow is unfit for service and likely to be permanently disqualified for military duty.

On Tuesday the 12th of July 1842 William appeared before the Regimental Board and was declared unfit for further service in the RA.

Record WO116/126 records "Examination of Invalid Soldiers"

William Barlow aged 40 years
Regiment Invalid Detachment
Total Service 21 years and 104 day
Rate of pension 1 shilling & 10 pence
Foreign Station Gibraltar
Regimental Surgeon's Report Rheumatism and general debility
Place of birth Wigan, Lancaster
Trade Weaver
Height 5 feet 9 1/2 inches
Hair Sandy
Eyes Grey
Complexion Fair

In Gibraltar from 24th July 1826 to 19th May 1827
and from 4th May 1828 to 7th Dec 1834

Disability or cause of discharge
Chronic rheumatism and general debility as per accompanying medical report. The Regimental Board is of the opinion that this case is not attributable to neglect, design, vice or intemperance.

The Regimental Board is of opinion that his character is exemplary. He produced 8 written testimonials from Officers and others under whom he has served fully corroborating his exemplary character.

Pay and Clothing
He has received all just Demands from his entry into the Service, up to the 13th July 1842 inclusive. I William Barlow do hereby declare that I have received all just demands as above stated.

The Board have verified that his Soldier's Book is correctly balanced and signed by the Officer commanding his Troop or Company; and they further declare that they have impartially inquired into, and faithfully reported their opinion on, all the Matters brought before them in accordance with the Regulations and Instructions issued by Her Majesty's Orders.


Click to read the Testimonials that William gathered. I think he would have been very proud of these. Testimonials are similar to the references we gather for a job application.