Military General Service Medal 1798-1848, 9 bars, Martinique, Busaco, Albuhera, Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse, Charles Ismay, Sergeant, 7th Foot, wounded in the Invasion of Martinique on 2nd February 1809, states he served in New Orleans during 1814.
Some edge knocks through wearing, a proud long serving Staff Sergeant who spent many years a recruiter, he had his medal about 20 years before he died aged 81.
Staff Sergeant Charles Ismay was born in 1788 in Saint Mary’s Dublin, Ireland.
He attested for service on 4th June 1807, joining the 7th Royal Fusiliers serving throughout the Peninsular War in a great number of battles, for 5 years as a private and then 3 years as a Corporal.
He served for 108 days in 1809 in the West Indies during which time he took part in the invasion of Martinique, with 4 & 1/2 years on the warpath through Spain, Portugal & France during the Peninsular War.
He was promoted to Corporal on 25th June 1812.
On 25th October 1815 he was promoted by appointment to Sergeant joining the Southern District Recruiting Staff who he served with for over 13 years until his discharge on 24th May 1829 at the age of 41.
After his retirement he still appears in the 1841 Army Index as a current Staff Sergeant in the Centre District Depot, Dublin.
He died in Swineford, Mayo, Ireland at the age of 81 on 18th July 1869.
His statement of service:
“He has been a very good and efficient soldier/never been in Hospital since he has been on the Recruiting Staff, has been honest & Sober.
Has never been tried by Court Martial & there is no entry against him in the Defaulter Book.
He was wounded on the 2nd February 1809, at Martinique. – He states that he served with the expedition to New Orleans in 1814, but there is no record of this, in his small ledger.”
A note at the bottom of his service paper from his Colonel states;
“Staff Sergeant Ismay has invariably conducted himself in such an exemplary manner, that I consider it as an act of justice to recommend him in the strongest manner for favourable consideration”
Some more research could be very interesting he appears to have failed to mark down his trip to America during the War of 1812 in his service book, but should be present on the Muster Rolls of the 7th Foot in this period, he was also one of their most trusted Staff Sergeants.
He was buried in Kilkinmure and his gravestone was discovered when the graveyard was cleaned up at some point:
“In the last two years much work has been done graveyard, at Kilkinure. For this we can thank FAS, and the many volunteers, under the guidance of Fr. Paddy Kilcoyne and the graveyard committee, who came to the graveyard during the summer months, every Thursday evening, to work together to clean the areas between the graves in the older parts of the cemetery. For this reason many of the older headstones, especially
around the ruins of the old church are now visible and accessible for the first time in many years. I went there recently with Tommy Gallagher of Churchpark and Chapel Street, who brought three interesting headstones to my attention. The first headstone we will look at is very near the concrete driveway, which separates the older and newer parts of the graveyard. Indeed, I had often passed by it and had never given it a second glance.
The inscription on this stone relates to CHARLES ISMAY who died in August 1869, aged 88 years. Also his beloved wife ANNE ISMAY, who died in 1867, aged 68 years, and their beloved daughter ELIZABETH ISMAY who died about 1848. The headstone was erected by JOSEPH ISMAY (son of Charles Ismay) of New York, in 1885.
It has been said, and I don't know how much credence can be given to it, that Charles Ismay fought at the battle of Waterloo, in 1815. He would have been about 34 years of age at that time."
Provenance, Glendinings Sept 191, November 1964 & September 1990.
Only 23 men of the 7th Foot earned 9 bars to their Military General Service Medal.