Serjeant Robert Moss

Military General Sevice Medal 1793-1814 Clasp Nive

5th May 1810 Robert Moss enlisted in the 84th Foot under age 15 years and attested two days Ipswich for unlimited service with a Bounty of £4/13/6d. Described as a labourer, born Swilling, Suffolk – 5’; brown hair, grey eyes, fair

5th May 1813, now aged 18, he was allowed to join Columns of Men, and his service would now count towards pension.Two months later he sailed with the battalion to Passages, Northern Spain and would be involved in the three day action at Nive. He was not involved in the action at Nivelle. During this quarter Muster, he was shown hospital for nine days, although it is unclear of the actual dates

The 1st quarter Muster for 1814, indicates he was in hospital for 77 days. On returning to Ireland, he was sent on detachment to Shanagolden, during which time his pay for July 1815 was embezzled by Mr. McGregor, the Battalion surgeon, who would be tried by Courts Martial

12th December 1817 on the Battalion being disbanded, he was sent to the Depot. 14th May 1818, he was on board the Prison Ship Marta as one of the guard bound for New South Wales.

On the 14th September 1820, having returned to England, he was promoted Corporal, remaining there until landing at Cork 10th November 1821; whilst in Ireland he was promoted to the rank of Serjeant 27th June 1822. A rank he held for three years before being demoted to Private 9th May 1825. This could only happen when sentenced by a Regimental or General Courts Martial

By the 8th June 1826, he was once more a Corporal. In 1827 when the Regiment was sent to Fort Augusta, Jamaica, West Indies, to quell the slave riots, Moss remained in Ireland. Where again on 24th October 1830 he was promoted Serjeant and for a period the following year would be the Hospital Serjeant, a role he would undertake at various times over the next two years.

25th November 1835 Moss retired from the Regiment and would appear before a Pension Board, electing to draw his pension of 1/8d per diem at Youghall, Ireland.

By the 1851 Census, he was back in England as a Mess-Man in the 82nd Foot Barracks at Colewort Barracks, Portsea

16th February 1860, he appeared before the Hythe Petty Sessions; charged with Offences Against  The Revenue, by retailing a quart of Gin at the Officer’s Mess 1st Battalion 9th Foot  Shorncliffe Camp without being duly licensed. William Tucker the Provost-Marshal of Shorncliffe Camp, learned that the mess-men were selling gin to soldiers from the Officers Mess. At 3 pm on 4th January 1860 Provost Sergeant Ezzekiel Firman of 1st Battalion 9th Foot and Samuel Smith a gunner in the Royal Artillery visited the mess to see whether drink could be purchased; and bought a quart from Robert Moss for 2 shilling. He was fined £15.

In the 1861 Census, he was now the Officers Messman,4th Military Train, Shorncliff Camp, Cheriton, Kent, before transferring to the 73rd Mess, where he died 1st October 1864, but not without leaving a legacy

Court of Exchequer, Dublin – Before Lord Chief Baron and a Special Jury –

Woodman v Barnes

Action bought by a butcher Mr Woodman residing near Shorncliffe against Captain Barnes 73rd Regiment of Foot for the recovery of a sum of money for meat supplied to the mess. The action was brought against Captain Barnes as president of the mess. Whilst the regiment was stationed at Shorncliffe, they had a Mess-man, named Moss, whose duty it was to provide everything necessary, the officers paying to him their accounts weekly. This Mess-man had a quantity of meat from the plaintiff for which, he did not pay as alleged. He absconded and the plaintiff brought his action against Captain Barnes as president of the mess, who denied his liability

Second day – The delivery of the meat to the mess kitchen was proved by a witness named Harman. It was also proved by a witness named Burley, at an interview between him and the defendant, the defendant said there was no question about the amount, only who was to pay. Captain Barnes stated that Mr Moss was formerly Mess-man to the 73rd; that he died on the 1st October, the day on which the mess was to open at Shorncliffe; afterwards his son became Mess-man to the regiment on the same terms. He stated the duties of the Mess-man was to supply suitable provisions at fixed prices, which had been arranged; the Mess-man was paid monthly, the practice being that on each day each officer’s account was to be posted in the ledger which was always left in the mess-room, and on or before the 5th of each month the mess account of the previous month should be paid by each officer, and a certificate to that effect sent to the commanding officer on the 6th of each month. On the 1st June Captain Barnes saw Mrs Woodman and told her he had given Moss a month notice to go; inquired if Moss owed anything for the last month and she said only a few pounds; Captain Barnes said “ He is going away, and you had better see he pays you” On a subsequent interview he asked if she had heard anything about Moss, she said her husband would go to the camp and see after Moss. On the 12th June, when it was ascertained Moss had virtually absconded Captain Barnes mentioned the fact to Mrs Woodman and hoped that the account had been settled. Mrs Woodman stated to him that her husband had gone to the camp and seen Moss, who said he would call down and pay. The officers had nothing to do with the delivery of goods to the mess; the accounts were collected by the Mess Butler between the 1st and 5th of each month and paid by him to the Mess-man

Third Day – The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded £108.