William Whinham was born 1782 at Alnwick, Northumberland, where he would later train as a tailor.
In 1803 the “Levy en Masse” was passed to record all men between 17 and 50 in different categories
Members of the Militia originally enlisted for service in U.K and Channel Islands for a maximum of 5 years or 6 months after any hostility – in 1809 Lord Castlereagh brought in an Act allowing 28,000 Militia Men to enlist into the regular service, thereby attracting a better quality of recruit.
William Whinham joined the Northumbria Militia and from there volunteered with 12 other men on the 1st April 1813 to join the 2/84th, who at the time were serving at Kilkenny, Ireland – He enlisted for seven years receiving a bounty of £5/13/9d
Described – 29 years, 5’6½ fresh complexion, blue eyes and light hair
12th April 1813 he appeared on the Muster for the first time in Captain Lane’s Light Company and travelled with the battalion to Spain were he fought at the crossing of the Bidassoa, battles of Nivelle and Nive; where on the 9th December 1813 he received a severe blow on the head, whereby he was sent to the General Hospital for 81 days; and during this period of hospitalisation he was promoted Corporal.
He returned with the battalion to Ireland and at some stage met Ann McNally, who he married on 14th May 1815 at St George’s Church, Limerick – during this period his previous skills as a tailor were used. He was promoted Serjeant 25th August 1815 and performed the role of Master Tailor
On reduction of the battalion he was discharged 12th December 1817 and received a testimonial from Captain Lane describing him as a clean, sober, steady soldier and an attentive, intelligent non-commissioned officer, who was wounded and performed the role of Master Tailor
He also received a testimonial from Brevet Major Jenkin, who commanded the battalion in the last days at Nive, praising his gallantry
On discharge he was given £1/1- for the transport of his wife and child back to England
The 1841 Census shows him living and working as a tailor at Glanton South Side (Alnwick) with his wife Ann (45) daughter Ann (22), William (20), George (14), Jane (10), Sarah (6), Fanny (8 months)
William Whinham died ¼ 1844 aged 62 and was succeeded by his son William as a tailor
Original documentation – Discharge papers, Marriage Certificate, Testimonial Letters kindly provided by family members