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John NEEDLE  is on our direct line. He was born in Tadmarton, Oxfordshire in 1787 and died there in 1831, the third of James and Mary NEEDLE née MOREBY’s nine children.
He enlisted with the 14 Hussars in Coventry on 10th March 1811 at the age of 22 years for unlimited service. His name was spelt NEADLE and he was of Stagmartin! The Hussars were mounted foot soldiers using horses to get around but fighting with the infantry. Looking at the Muster books and pay lists held at the National Archive in Kew we have been able to follow John’s movements during his military service. The muster books record four quarters each year from the 25 of December to the 24 March for the March quarter and so on. The reason the quarters ended 24 March, June, September and December was that the army still used Julian quarters (but not Julian years) well into the 1820s. The Muster book usually refers to John or Jno but occasionally to Jas. or Thos and uses NEEDLE and NEADLE indiscriminately but as only one NEEDLE/NEADLE is listed at any one time it is more than likely to be our John through out. Service Numbers were not introduced until the 1820s. The pay books show that up to September quarter 1814 he was paid 9 pence a day and from then 1/3 per day. The soldiers also had a daily beer allowance.
From Dec 1811 to April 14th 1812 he was in Radipole Barracks, Dorset. He then embarked for the Peninsular and was in the regimental hospital somewhere in Spain or Portugal some time during the September quarter 1812. He returned to Radipole after being in hospital but was back in Spain and Portugal during the March quarter 1813 before moving on to France. He served in France until July 15th 1814 with one brief visit back to Radipole during the March quarter of 1814. Roots Chat member km1971 quoted from “Historical Record of the 14th (King’s) Hussars 1715 to 1900” that “ they embarked at Calais on the 15 July 1814, sailed the next day, arrived at Dover on the 17th, marched to London where 3 squadrons were inspected on Hounslow Heath by the Duke of York on the 21st. They then marched to join the Depot at Weymouth in the Radipole Barracks”
The Muster books bears this out and shows that he marched to Isleworth some time between July 15 and Sep 24 and was back in Radipole (the Weymouth cavalry barracks) for the next quarter. He spent some time in the regimental hospital during the 2nd Muster of the December quarter 1814. We know from his medical record that he was kicked by a horse and broke his right forearm so this may have been when that occurred.
From the Historical Record km1971 also found that “they were in Dundalk from early 1816 until July 1818. They were in Dublin until June 1819 when they sailed to Liverpool and marched to Kent. Five of the eight troops were in Norfolk and Suffolk from September 1819 to June 1820. At the end of July 1820 half the regiment plus Depot moved to Brighton with detachments in south London (mainly Richmond, Twickenham and Wimbledon). Until the end of 1921 they were split between Sussex and south London”
Again this is confirmed by the muster books. John was in Bristol in December 1815 and during the March quarter of 1816 he was on the “English Establishment” for the first muster and on march to Monaghan, Ireland, for the 2nd muster. He was on various marches but basically based in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland until June 24 1817. One march in September quarter 1816 took him to Dublin.and back to Dundalk but from June quarter 1818 to March quarter 1819 he was in Portobello Barracks, Dublin. (He probably met his wife during his period in Ireland as later censuses show that Elizabeth was from Londonderry, Ireland).
He was on a 12 days March between 12 June -
He returned to Canterbury during the June quarter 1819. So it would appear that he was among those who sailed to Liverpool and marched to Kent as mentioned in the Historical Record in the September quarter of 1820. He was in Brighton having first marched to Richmond. He completed his service in Brighton during the December 1820 and March 1821 quarters.
He was discharged at Brighton Barracks on 20 March 1821 after ten years and 74 days of service in ‘consequence of chronic catarrh originating in a cold while on duty at Richmond last October and unfit for further service’. His conduct was good. When he was discharged he was described as being ‘about thirty two Years of age, five feet seven inches in height, light hair, hazel eyes, fair complexion, and by Trade or Occupation a Labourer'
A soldier’s family would not have received a pension at this time. It must have been hard for Elizabeth to provide for the girls on the 10s a week she received from the parish.
Until Mar 29 1833 Widow NEEDEL & children 9s. Possibly the oldest daughter was taken into a parish apprenticeship at this time.
Examples from the Poor Law accounts book:
July 6 NEEDOL Jno 1s
Aug 2 NEEDOL Jno 1s
Sep 20 NEEDOL Jno 1s
Sep 27 NEEDOL Jno 1s
Oct 4 NEEDOL Jno 1s
Oct 11 NEEDOL Jno 1s 6d
Oct 18 NEEDOL Jno 2s 6d
Presumably the respiratory problem persisted.and John was receiving parish help at least from 1828 his weekly allowance is listed in the Poor Law accounts book for Tadmarton kept at Oxford Record Office. The book starts in 1828 when he was having payments of 1s to 2s 6d.
The book records when he became ill in 1830 his allowance was increased to help the family. He had a wife and 4 daughters ranging in age from nine down to one.
Sep 24 NEEDOL Jno not well 6s
As his condition worsened his allowance was increased significantly
1831 May 21 Jn NEEDEL unwell 4s6d + 14s
The parish paid for his funeral on 29 May 1831