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Thomas (Murray-)Prior's army career

Date Rank Regiment Notes
6 August 1803 Cornet 11th Light Dragoons 1)2)
22 August 1805 or in 18063)Lieutenant11th Light Dragoons4)
30 September 1813 Lieutenant1st of Foot, Royal Scots5) An exchange with Lt. T.B. Wall.6) His daughter Jemima stated that he exchanged into this regiment but never served with them.7)
6 January 1814 Lieutenant 18th Hussars8)9) Jemima believed that he had to lobby the Duke of Kent (the future Queen Victoria's father) to obtain the exchange.10)
25 March 1817Lieutenant 18th Hussars11) On 23 April 1817, peace means that he and others were put on half-pay, ie. not on active service, and receives half his usual pay as a form of pension.12)
9 August 1831 Lieutenant59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of FootAn exchange with Lt Robert McGregor means that, after previous unsuccessful applications, Thomas Prior was back on full pay13)
'soon' after August 1831 Lieutenant? Grenadiersuntil September 1834 when the Grenadiers 'departed for Gibraltar’14)
28 November 1834 CaptainUnattached (to any regiment)Back on half pay.15)
9 November 1834 Brevet Major16) unattached
2 October 1849 Captain 73rd of Foot (Perthshire) RegimentRestored to full pay17)18)
25 October 1850Captain5th (Northumberland Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot back to half-pay
20 June 1854Brevet Lieutenant Colonel 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot19) On 3 July 1858, the Belfast News-Letter reported that 'Colonel Murray Prior arrived at the Curragh Camp from Cork.'
20 February 1859 Brevet Colonel 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot?


TLM-P recorded his step-sister's story about his father Thomas's difficulty obtaining a transfer into the 18th Hussars. Thomas first went to his friend the Duke of York who was no longer Commander-in-Chief (due to corrupt conduct); he referred him to the new Commander-in-Chief the Duke of Kent. The Duke agreed but then, as Thomas was backing out of the royal presence, 'his spurs caught in the carpet and when stumbling let out a fierce oath'. He apologised saying, 'I beg your Royal Highness ten thousand pardons, but I was never taught to walk backwards'. The Duke laughed, but Thomas thought that he had ruined his chance of a transfer. When he told the Duke of York what had happened, the response was 'Well my boy, make up your mind now, you're booked for the West Indies'. Fortunately, the Duke of Kent was not so unforgiving as his brother suggested: Thomas was not sent to the West Indies, but was allowed to exchange into the 18th.20)

3 May 1811 ‘sailed for Portugal … under Lt. General Sir H.J. Cumming, Colonel of the 12th Lancers’21)
25 September 1811 in the Battle of El Bodon, Portugal
22 July 1812 awarded the 'War medal with clasp’ for service during the 1812 Battle of Salamanca
Spring (March-June) 1815 arrived in Flanders
17 June 1815 Commanded skirmishes as officer of the 18th Hussars, and receiving 'the first fire of the enemy’ on Namur Road
18 June 1815 In Battle of Waterloo, Belgium, when Napoleon was irrevocably defeated. Awarded the Waterloo medal 22)23)
18 June-3 July 1815 Took part in the capture of Paris, receiving another medal
23 September 1815 found guilty by a military court after a fight with an anti-English French actor at the Boulogne Theatre, losing 6 months Army and Regimental rank24)

1)
in c. 1840 renamed 11th Hussars, Prince Alberts own. Dragoons and Hussars were light cavalry regiments. Thomas Prior's career in the 11th is recorded at the regimental history, see 11th-hussars-prince-alberts-own
2) , 4) , 6) , 9) , 13) , 14) , 21) , 24)
The United Service Gazette c. 1846, QJO, Praed papers 10/7/1a.
3)
Online record says 1806, just after 16th birthday. Need to subscribe to see full record, https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/records/1085480/lieutenant-thomas-prior-british-army-light-dragoons-hussars
5)
'Foot' means an infantry regiment
7) , 10) , 20)
TLM-P, Diary, 4 June 1882
8)
confirmed by Thomas Prior’s copy of A List of all the Officers … in which he has written that he was a ‘Lieutenant 18th Hussars, London 1815’. On p.133 it lists ‘Thomas Prior’ as Lieutenant in the 18th Regiment from this date.
11)
further evidence is his prayer book in which he's written ‘Thomas Prior, Lt. 18th Hussars, London November 27th 1824.’ Provenance: J. Godden
12)
The United Service Gazette c.1846, QJO, Praed papers 10/7/1a.
15)
Thomas Prior's copy of A List of all the Officers … with his hand-written note that he was a “Captain unattached 28th November 1834”
16)
Brevet refers to a promotion without a corresponding pay rise. In this instance, Thomas Prior retained his army rank of Captain (half-pay, unattached) while being a Brevet Major.
17)
Andrew Darbyshire, A fair slice of St Lucia, St Lucia History group Research paper no.8
18)
Major Prior's army manuals confirm this appointment, see under Books
19)
Andrew Darbyshire, A fair slice of St Lucia, St Lucia History Group Research paper no.8.
23)
The United Service Gazette c. 1846, QJO, Praed papers 10/7/1a. The Waterloo Medal was the first official service medal ever issued by the British Government; they are now quite valuable. Steve Brown, 'An Australian at Waterloo', History. Magazine of the Royal Australian Historical Society September 2015, p.9. The location of Thomas Prior's medal now is unknown.
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