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Lieutenant Charles Crowe 1785-1855

A Soldier of the 48th Northamptonshire Regiment of Foot and later of the 27th Inniskilling Fusiliers.  He fought in the Pininsular War 1812-1814.
Retired to Coddenham, Suffolk.

Charles was born: 1 March 1785 and died 15 June 1855 and was buried 22 June  at St Mary's in Coddenham.
Son of: Philip Crowe (1745-1828) and Margaret.
Brother of:
Catherine Crowe (1777-1807).
Philip Crowe (1779-1831) who married Matilda Willes and lived at Coulsden, Surrey.
Frances (1781-1856).  Known as Fanny.
Eliza (1786-1858).
Susan (1793-1848).
Edward (1793-1815).
Charles married:
1. Elizabeth Thomas in Lowestoft, Suffolk, 22 December 1818.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Theophilus Thomas and Elizabeth Dyer (1747-1812).
Charles and Elizabeth do not appear to have had any children.

The siblings of Elizabeth Thomas (nee Crowe) were:
William Dyer Thomas who married Rosa.
Ferdinand Thomas. 
Penington Thomas. 

We have the following references to Charles Crow:
1. A brief mention in the diary of his cousin Elizabeth Jones (nee Helsham, 1801-1866).
2. His War record which is in the Public Record Office in Kew.
3. His diary 'Peninsular Journal Vol 1' and 'Peninsular Journal Vol 2'.  An edited version has now been published as 'An Eloquent Solider' , Pen & Sword 2011.
4. The book 'Marching with Wellington' by Martin Cassidy, 2003.  Much of this book is based on Volume 2 of Charles Crowe's diary.
5. Where is his will?


Charles Crowe: An Overview

Charles's war record notes his army service as follows:
Ensign in West Suffolk Militia 25 March 1810.
Lieutenant in West Suffolk Militia 22 May 1810.
Ensign in 48th Regiment 14 August 1811.
Lieutenant in 101st (Dillon's) Regiment 24th December 1812.
Lieutenant in 27th Regiment 14 January 1813.

His war record states that he held the above ranks "without purchase" and then went on to maintain the rank of Lieutenant on half pay attached to the 2nd Battalion of the 27th Regiment.  His record notes that he "suffered a Coup de Soleil [sunstroke] near St Estwan when detached with money for wounded officers of the 4th Division at Vitoria in Spain August 15th 1813".  He also notes that he was "not desirous of service" in consequence of continuous ill health ever since 11 July 1826.  It also notes that he had no children, at that point in time.

The "Peninsula Journal " itself is very interesting and covers Charles's time in barracks at Chelmsford in Essex from where he makes his way down to Portsmouth and then catches a sailing ship that takes him to Portugal.  He then travels overland until he catches up to join the Duke of Wellington's army in Spain. He also talks back to an earlier time in his life when he got into a dispute with a fellow officer that had almost lead to a duel.  Before long he sees action, fighting the French, the result of which is that a large number of his colleages are killed around him but he comes through unscathed.  Volume 1 ends on the 14th August 1813 when he is about to set off on a journey accompanying a shipment of money. 

Volume 2 had been missing for the last 20 years but then turned up in the collection of the Inniskillings Museum.  It has now been reunited with Volume 1 and I wish to express my grateful thanks to the Inniskillings Museum for all their help in this matter. 


In Vol 2 Charles continues with his adventures in Spain and then on into France until Napoleon is defeated and the army returns home.  Unfortunately his health is rather up and down initially due to a very bad case of sun stroke but later as a result of  mercury poisoning.  He had been administered mercury by the doctors in the Peninsular but this was later found to be ill advised.  He was not called upon to go back to France to fight the battle of Waterloo and lucky for him as many of his comrades did not return.  He spends the later part of his military career being stationed in Ireland but is eventually put on half pay and returns to England.

Charles Crowe's diary finishes with a brief note of him meeting his wife at Lowestoft and getting married 22 Dec 1818.  He does not state her name but says that she was the sister of Dr Thomas.  His military record also records his date of marriage as 22 Dec 1818 but does not say the name of his wife.  Elizabeth Jones in her diary confirms his death in 1855 and records his wife as Eliza.

Charles Crowe's diary has now been published 'An Eloquent Soldier' edited by Gareth Glover and published by Pen & Sword 2011.  This published version has been fully edited and contains comprehensive notes all the way through explaining the people the places and the background to the events.

For examples of Crowe armorials, crests and coat of arms please click here.


The Military General Service Medal (MGSM) was approved on 1 June 1847 as a retrospective award for various military actions from 1793–1814.  This meant that all soldiers of all ranks could claim this if they fort in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, or the Anglo-American War of 1812. Each battle or campaign covered by the medal was represented by a clasp on the ribbon.

Charles Crowe was eligible for a medal that would have incorporated four clasps: Vittoria, Pyrenees, Orthez and Toulouse.  As it was Charles did not put in a claim and so his medal does not exisit.


If you have any more information please do contact me.