Our roving correspondent, David Rogers, came across this story of a Peninsular War veteran from the county who spent his last days in Raunds.
John Abrahams was born in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire in 1790 and enlisted in the 52nd Regiment of Foot, at Wellingborough, on 16th October 1799, aged 18 years. His occupation was recorded as “Labourer”.
He served a total of 16 years, 350 days and was discharged at Canterbury Depot on 3rd October 1816.
At the time of his discharge, he was described as being worn out and totally unfit, aged 35 years, 5ft 61/2inches in height, blue eyes, fair complexion and his trade as a labourer.
He was admitted into Chelsea Hospital as an Out-Pensioner on 30th October 1816. He had previously been wounded in action in the right thigh and was entitled to a pension of one shilling per day. The Muster Rolls show him as recruiting, during early 1815 until the end of May 1816, in Peterborough.
The 52nd Foot, in 1882, became the Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry and are now known as the Royal Green Jackets.
During the Peninsular War, John Abrahams served in the 1st Battalion of the 52nd Foot and it was with them that he gained his battle honour bars. The 1st Battalion were also present at Waterloo, but Abrahams was busy recruiting in Peterborough, probably due to the fact that he was unfit for further overseas service, on account of the wound that he had previously received in action in the Peninsula.
His Death Certificate records that he died on 27th April 1850, aged 71, in the Registration District of Thrapston, Sub-District of Raunds. His occupation was given as “Pensioner” and the cause of death as “diseased bladder, retention of urine”. The informant of his death was Elizabeth Pentelow, who was present when John Abrahams died.
In the 1841 UK Census, there is a John Abrahams, aged 60, living at South Side, Swan Street (now Montagu Street) in Kettering. His trade is given as “Shoemaker”, his wife is Charlotte and son John Abrahams. If this is the John Abrahams of this article, what was he doing in Raunds at the time of his death?
The 1851 UK Census lists an Elizabeth Pentelow, Charwoman, aged 61, living at Higham End in Raunds. Perhaps this is the lady who was the informant of John Abrahams death.
The 9 Bar Military General Service Medal awarded to John Abrahams. The bars are Corunna, Busaco, Fuentes d’Onoro, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Orthes.
The maximum number of clasps awarded to the 52nd Foot was fourteen.
The 43rd and 52nd Light Infantry attack the French at Busaco.
Although the 52nd received the battle honour for Fuentes d’Onoro, they took no casualties.
At Ciudad Rodrigo, in January 1812, they took over 60 casualties during the siege and capture of the fortress.
The siege and assault of Badajoz, in March and April 1812, saw the 52nd take some of the heaviest casualties of the Peninsular War, suffering over 380 killed and wounded.