Byron Dearing has emailed from Australia!
Subject: John Benedict Lomas (born 1806 in Yorkshire) of 66 Berkshire Foot regiment
Your message: John Benedict Lomas (originally from Yorkshire) was court martialed in 1823 when in the 66 Berkshire Regiment whilst in Ireland. Was he with them at St Helena guarding Napoleon – or did he join them after st. Helena? If so when did he join? Would VERY MUCH appreciate if you can help, thanks in anticipation,
Byron Dearing, Australia
My Response: Byron, greetings! Many thanks for your enquiry.
I am not able to respond in detail because I do not have the muster rolls or the 66th during their time on St Helena. They will be in the National Archives and you have prompted me that if I am serious, I should have a look at them and try to get a copy for the website.
What I can tell you is that the Regiment would have served in and out of Ireland on numerous occasions and that anything up to 30% of the troops would have been Irish. I have only just put up my chapter on HM 66th Foot in the St Helena theme so you might like to look there for some more information.
Please do not hesitate to be in touch and thank you very much for your interest. With best wishes, Michael Fass
Your message: Hello Michael, Thank you so much for your very prompt reply.
John Benedict Lomas was born in 1806 If he had been with the 66th. at St Helena he would probably have had to join the 66th. when only aged about 13. John was court martialled in Ireland (Enniskillen) in 1823 (for desertion) He did later claim to have been with the 66th. at St Helena. This claim may be untrue, unless he did actually join the army at aged 13.
Best wishes, Byron
My response: Byron greetings I think that even by the British Army standards of the time, 13 would be young unless he had signed on as a drummer boy which is not, of course, at all unlikely.
Do you have any evidence for that? MJF
Your message: Hello Michael, Nothing known as a drummer boy.
He was supposed to be a student at Ampleforth College, probably around aged 13.
After being convicted of desertion from the 66 Berkshire regiment, he was transported to Australia as a convict. There he became a bushranger, early explorer, police trooper, con man, and was in and out of jail (and lunatic asylums), confessed to murder which he did not commit.
An amazing character, but perhaps one who did not tell the truth about guarding Napoleon I have been unable to find the date that he joined the 66 Berkshire – if I could it would solve the problem.