Army Meritorious Service Medal, VR, Quartermaster Sergeant Thomas Begley, 91st (Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, a rare award.
Officially engraved: “Q.M. Sgt. T. Begley. 91st Foot”
With copy service papers.
To earn the Army LS&GC Medal you had to have very long service and a spotless record, to earn the Meritorious Service Medal, you had to go above and beyond that of the LS&GC, in total Timothy Begley served at least 40 years in the Army.
Very few would be awarded due to the sheer length of service and also having to wait sometimes a lifetime to take your spot on the Annuity list.
During his long period of service he would fight in the early wars in South Africa, known as the Xhosa Wars.
He is shown on the medal roll as a Sergeant, the medal roll records he had previously served in the 1834-5 war in South Africa with the 75th Foot, which would make his service extremely unique to have served in all 3 wars throughout his regiment.
However we are not sure if that is possible but Gordon Everson’s book seems to believe this.
According to his entry in the Royal Hospital Discharge Books:
43 Year old Quartermaster Sergeant Timothy Begley of the 91st Foot, had served a long 23 years 2 months in the Army, with the majority of his service consisting of 14 years 1 month in the “Cape Colony” later known as South Africa, where he saw much campaigning.
Having served about 3 years 9 months in the 75th Foot, the remainder was with the 91st Foot.
He saw 6 years as a Private, 2 years 2 months as Corporal, 8 years 2 months as Sergeant and 3 years 1 month as Quartermaster Sergeant.
After his discharge he intended to reside in Wales.
“His Character has been very good he was in possession of 2 good conduct badges when promoted to Sergeant. He is also in possession of the Silver Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct with a Gratuity of £10.
He has also a medal for service in the Kaffir War during the Years of 1846/47 and 1850, 1851, 1852, 1853.”
Timothy Begley had been born in the small town of Elphin, in County Roscommon, Ireland.
Leading up to his discharge he was stationed in the Regimental Depot in Pembroke, which would appear to have attracted him to settle in Wales afterwards.
His service records recall that in 1880, he had his pension increased, following his further 18 years of service as Military Store Clerk at Pembroke Dock, taking his total Army Service as high as 40 years.
He had additionally married a Welsh Wife born in Pembroke Dock, Arabella Esther Rees about 1861.