Chelsea Pensioners – Out Pensions

War Office Class 22 – Returns – Out pension records, Royal Hospital Chelsea

Introduction to the index

The original record of this Class of periodical returns of pensions paid or payable, is arranged by district. Also included are receipts for pensions paid, certificates of death etc.

Chelsea Pensioners were either living in Chelsea Hospital (In-Pensioners) or elsewhere (Out-Pensioners). Out Pensioners were registered in a “district”, where the local pay office was located. Each district kept records of Chelsea pensioners in their regiments from the time they were first registered in the district, transferred in, transferred out, or died. They are a prime source for revealing the career of a soldier or in some cases those in the Mercantile Marine (Trinity House pensioners), and information about next of kin on death. These returns for the limited period covered by the series, can reveal the regiment of the deceased. This should lead to an attestation record in WO 97. Prior to the date of admission to pension soldiers will appear in the regiment’s pay musters and possibly in other WO records. Not all soldiers received a pension.

But be careful. Soldiers left the army for various reasons. In retirement, to preserve social status, they may claim to be a pensioner when they were not. Likewise they might claim ranks they did not hold.

Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP)

As part of this Project parts of War Office Class 22 have been copied that relate to Australia, New Zealand and other posts in the Pacific region. A summary of what has been copied can be found in AJCP Handbook Part 4. For general information about this Project click on link below.

The original documents are held in The National Archives, Kew, England, click on link below.

I have indexed the years 1849 to 1853 for the district of New South Wales from AJCP reels 920 and 921, Piece 272 . Also copied on AJCP reels for New South Wales are

1854 – 1862, reel 921, Piece 273
1871 – 1875, reels 921 and 922, Piece 274
1876 – 1880, reel 922, Piece 275

Some other districts in Australia have been copied, see Handbook. No British regiments served in Australia after 1880.

Further information on the Rates of Pensions and Gratuities may be found in the digitised version of The British Soldier: An Anecdotal History of the British Army, from Its Earliest Formation to the Present Time By J.H Stocqueler. Published by Wm. Orr and Co., 1857. (see Google Books online).

Many of the soldiers listed in my index are also recorded in the book British Army Pensioners Abroad 1772 – 1899 by Norman K Crowder. This book records one line entries for soldiers who appear in War Office Class 120 – Records of the Royal Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals (not copied by AJCP).

For example, for Josh Abbott of the 51st Regiment of Foot, the first entry in my index, he is entered in Crowder’s book on page 163 under the 51st Regiment of Foot thus :-

Josh ABBOTT; pension awarded 27 Sept 1842; residence – Hobart Town, Australia; died 22 Apr 1871. Source WO120 Volume 69 page 206.

My entry indicates he was in the NSW district, prior to around March 1852.

Comments about my index.

The pension payment returns are in regimental sequence. Most of the soldiers are from Regiments of Foot as indicated by the number of the Regiment. The abbreviations for the other regiments or units are :-

A = Artillery
D = Dragoons
DG = Dragoon Guards
Dr = Drivers
E = East India Pensioners
FG = Foot Guards
H = Horse Artillery
IBA = Invalid Battalion Artillery
LG = Life Guards
M = Militia
N = Newfound (land) Veterans
NV = NSW Veteran Company
ORD = Ordnance Barrack Company
R = Rifle Brigade
RHG = Royal Horse Guards
S = Sappers
SC = Staff Corps
SH = St Helena Foot
SM = Sappers and Miners
V = Veteran Battalion
VC = Veteran Company

The payment periods are generally for a quarter of a year, ie, quarter ending 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December. In some cases the use of the end date of a period may not mean that is the date paid to; it could be indicating that payment to some date in the quarter.

Given names are generally abbreviated and they have been recorded in my index as found.

Where payment has been made for the whole year in the NSW district then the period is recorded as a year, eg, 1849 – 1853 means payment has been made from 1 January 1849 to 31 December 1853. As this record is limited to this period it is likely many pensioners received payments before and after this period.

There appears to be one female – Judith Carr.

As an example of what an entry means, take the entry

Bailiff John – 4A – 1850 – 1853 – Paid 31 December 1849 London – VDL

John Bailiff of the 4th Artillery was paid as a pensioner up to 31 December 1849 in London. He is likely to have travelled to Sydney by ship leaving sometime during the quarter ended 31 December 1849. He received his pension payments in the NSW District from 1 January 1850 to the 31 December 1853, when sometime around the end of 1853 he transferred to the VDL (Tasmania) District.

It is likely that I have made transcription errors as sometimes the writing can be difficult to read. My apologies if this occurs and please let me know of any errors.

I recommend, if an entry is of interest, that you view the AJCP microfilm reels. For information about researching army records please click on the link below to see my paper on Chelsea Pensioners in Australia.

Grahame Thom
October 2010


Return to my page relating to indexes

Australian Joint Copying Project

Background information on the National Library of Australia web site

The National Archives – England

Search page at the National Archives – Catalogue

Chelsea Pensioners in Australia

Click here to read my paper on researching these records

Chelsea Pensioners in NSW 1849 – 1853

Index A to C

Chelsea Pensioners in NSW 1849 – 1853

Index D to G

Chelsea Pensioners in NSW 1849 – 1853

Index H to L

Chelsea Pensioners in NSW 1849 – 1853

Index M to O

Chelsea Pensioners in NSW 1849 – 1853

Index P to S

Chelsea Pensioners in NSW 1849 – 1853

Index T to W