News / Ask the Expert – missing enlistment papers

Ask the Expert – missing enlistment papers

Our military expert Paul Nixon, pictured below, answers your queries.

From Don McMahon:

‘I am trying to find birth details of my great grandfather born in Ireland, who served in British Army. Details known: Michael McMahon, born approximately 1842. He enlisted in Depot 1st Battalion 9th Regiment of Foot (East Norfolk) on 13 June 1860, in Limerick, Ireland.

I am not able to find details of his enlistment papers. I need to find birth date, parents and place of birth. I hope you can help, many thanks in anticipation.’

Paul says:

‘The 1861 census gives a Michael McMahon aged 20, born at Cork, Ireland. On 7 April 1861 this Michael McMahon was a private soldier, one of 989 soldiers stationed at the Permanent Infantry & North Gate Barracks occupied by the 4th Depot Battalion in Canterbury, Kent. There is nothing on this census return, however, to tie in this man with the 9th Regt of Foot. Of course, it’s worth noting that the Chelsea Pensioners record set is literally just that: men discharged to pension. If Pte McMahon did not receive a pension – for whatever reason – he won’t be in that particular archive.’

Paul Nixon,'s resident military expert

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