Colin Campbell, Chelsea Pensioner

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Colin Campbell, Chelsea Pensioner


Jennifer "Jenny" Self (CONTACT INFO), though now living in England is descended from emigrants to Australia from Coigach, and includes among her ancestors Colin Campbell of Acheninver. Colin appears in the census files in 1841 at Acheninver 41-4 as 65 to 69 year old, and in 1851 at Acheninver 51-16 as 80 years old.

Jenny has obtained a copy of her ancestor Colin's discharge papers from "His Majesty's Seventy first Highland Light Infantry Regiment". Fascinating material, it even includes a physical description of Colin! The transcription that follows was done by Jenny.

She has also found a couple of web sites about the 71st useful to understanding the twenty year military career of Colin. The first is a Regimental history of the Royal Highland Fusiliers at, the Fusilier Regiment was formed from several earlier Regiments, including the 71st. Equally interesting is a website devoted to a modern re-enactment 71st Regiment, with lots of great photos, descriptions and history, and the opportunity for people today to get a glimpse through the re-enactments into the sort of life led by Colin and his contemporaries, see

Jenny remarks that if Colin participated in all the campaigns of the 71st during his 20 years, he certainly led an "exciting" life!

At some point soon after his enlistment in 1797 Colin married an Irish girl, Martha, and had a son also named Colin about 1799-1800. At that time it was not unusual for wifes and children to follow the Regiment, so though Martha and young Colin were probably mostly out of harms way, I am sure they shared in the excitement of the campaigns as well. Jenny says her next step is to look deeper into the history of the 71st Highland Light Infantry, and see if she can find out where and when Colin was in Ireland to meet and marry Martha. Jenny welcomes any input from others researching the period.

Discharge Papers of Corporal Colin Campbell of the 71st

"His Majesty's Seventy first Highland Light Infantry Regiment whereof General Francis Dundas is Colonel.

1st These are to certify that Corporal Colin Campbell, born in the Parish of Garloch in or near the town of Loughbroom in the County of Ross was enlisted for the aforesaid regiment at Stirling in the County of Stirling on the 13th day of March 1797 at the Age of Twenty Seven for an unlimited period.

2nd That he hath served in the Army for the space of Twenty years and 103 days, after the age of Eighteen, according to the subjoined.

Statement of Service
  In What Corps: 71st Regiment
  Period of Service: From: 13 March 1797 To: 18th April 1817
    Corporal: 7 years 28 days
    Private: 13 years 8 days
    Total Service: 20 years 36 days
    From: 19th April 1817 To: 24th June 1817
    Corporal: 67 days
    Total Service: 67 days."

3rd That in consequence of being quite worn out and supernumerary to the establishment of the regiment. He is hereby discharged.

4th That he is not to my knowledge incapacitated by the sentence of a General Court Martial from receiving pension.

5th That his general conduct as a soldier has been very good.

6th That he has received all just demands of Pay, clothing and c from his entry into the service to the date of this discharge appears by his receipt underneath

7th I Corporal Colin Campbell do hereby acknowledge that I have ......(etc etc).

8th To prevent any improper use being made of this Discharge by its falling into other hands, the following is a description of the said Corporal Colin Campbell. He is about 47 years of age, is 5 feet 6 1/2 inches in height, dark hair, blue eyes, sallow complexion and by trade and occupation a Labourer.

Given under my Hand and Seal of the Regiment at Norent Ferilt (?) in France this 18th day of April 1817...."

[second page begins]

"NB. The Agent, Paymaster, or other Officer, by whom the issue of Marching Money is made, (under the Regulation of the 25th July 1816) to the Soldier Discharged, is to insert below, the Amount of the sum issued to the Soldier to enable him to return to the place of his Enlistment or Enrolment, specifying the place to which he is to proceed; and to state also whether he has or has not been provided with a passage by sea at the Public expense."

This file, and others dealing with history and genealogy of Coigach, links from my homepage at:

Any suggestions for additions or edits please feel free to email me,

Donald MacDonald-Ross, at:

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