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Crimean War Turkish Contingent

Crimean War Turkish Contingent

Posted: 1 Nov 2012 7:55AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 1 Nov 2012 12:37PM GMT
I have an interest in several veterans of the Crimean War Turkish Contingent who settled in Western Australia. I have the medal rolls for the Turkish Contingent and have found most of their names.

Did they receive the Turkish Medal and Crimean Medal, or only one or the other?

Diane

Re: Crimean War Turkish Contingent

Posted: 8 Apr 2013 11:06PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi Diane. A somewhat belated reply to your question but just found this website. My g-g-g grandfather Duncan Macpherson MD was Inspector General of Hospitals to the Turkish Contingent. I also have his Crimean War medals and have done a little research and so am able, I think, to answer your question. As I understand it, the officers of the Contingent were Indian Army and not Queens Officers and therefore were considered ineligible for the British Crimean War medal. The Sultan prepared a Crimean War medal for these officers in three versions--British, French and Italian (as the Kingdom of Sardinia had troops in the war). The ship carrying the English medals sank and the Indian Army soldiers had to choose between the French and Italian versions of the medal (my ancestor had the Italian). He also received the Order of Medjidie (may have spelt that wrong) from the Sultan. I have also read that this denial of the UK medal to Indian Army officers caused a lot of bitterness. Hope this is helpful.

Mike

Re: Crimean War Turkish Contingent

Posted: 9 Apr 2013 2:12PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hello Mike
Thank you for your response regarding the medals issued to the Turkish Contingent. Since I posted the query, I have received from another source the information about these men receiving only the Turkish medal - and the fact that many English versions of the medal were lost at sea. It wasn't just the Turkish Contingent that had to accept the Sardian version - many of the other British Army men got stuck with it too! I do have the medal rolls for the Turkish Contingent and often wondered about its role in the War. Very recently (January 2013), the Crimean War Research Society's journal (The War Correspondent) contained an article about James Henry Skene, a British Consul whose wartime career included an association with the Bashi Bazouks and the Turkish Contingent. I learned from the article that the operations of the Turkish Contingent were fraught with politics between the Foreign Office and the War Office. Try to acquire a copy of it as you will find it interesting reading.
Thank you again for contacting me via the List about this matter. Strangely enough, I have just returned home from speaking about the Crimean War at a Military Seminar at our Western Australian Army Museum.
Diane

Re: Crimean War Turkish Contingent

Posted: 9 Apr 2013 5:44PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi Diane. Thanks for your very interesting reply. I will definitely track down that article you mention. I just retired a week ago from the Public Service of Canada but until November of last year was working in the Canadian High Commission in London for four years. I spent a lot of time at the National Archives in Kew going through War Dept/Foreign Office records pertaining to the Turkish Contingent. As you point out the politics between the depts comes out loud and clear in the correspondence. My retirement project is to write a book about my g-g-g grandfather and of course his time with the TC was a high point in his career. He became very good friends with Florence Nightingale and also found the time to conduct an archeological excavation of ancient Greek/Roman tombs in the town of Kertch in the Crimea. He also wrote a book on this called "Antiquities of Kertch" and everything he dug up is now in the British Museum. I have all his journals from 1855-67 when he died in India and this covers his time in the Crimea. I am very familiar with the Skene having read several bits of his correspondence at Kew (in fact was arranging all my photocopies yesterday of some of this source material). Are you aware of the bizarre episode he was involved in concerning the Bashi-Bazouks under General Beatson and which also involved the famous Victorian explorer, Sir Richard Burton? Excuse my curiosity but are you a military historian yourself? And is the Western Australia Army Museum in Perth? I visited your National War Museum in Canberra a couple of times when business took me that way and was VERY impressed. Think it is one of the best museums of its kind in the world.

Cheers,

Mike

PS I did business with your High Commission in London on several occasions and loved the building. Have you ever been in it? Part of it doubled as Gringotts Bank in the Harry Potter films.

Re: Crimean War Turkish Contingent

Posted: 9 Apr 2013 6:12PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hello Mike
Gosh, your 3 x great-grandfather sounds like such a interesting man. It is terrific that you will be recording his life. I am afraid all my ancestors were agricultural labourers and apart from 3-4 generations of criminals and convicts from Biggleswade in Bedfordshire, they are all very boring.
I am a bit of a hybrid - born and educated (if you call it that) in England; worked in Washington DC for a couple of years; lived in and worked at UVIC in Victoria, B.C., and now have been in Western Australia for over 40 years. I am a odd-bod with no less than three citizenships!
No, I'm not a military historian but became a devotee of the Crimean War after visiting the battlefields in 2007. I am a retired training and development officer - giving me a bit of background in presenting talks and lectures. These usually have a historical flavour.
Yes, isn't the Australian War Memorial a wonderful place. I visited Canberra in 1999 and I know it has grown since then. Our WA Army Museum is in Fremantle and its Curator is a Canadian! It was fairly small beans when I first visited some years ago, and was under threat of losing its barracks and land to Notre Dame University. Since it was saved from the bulldozers, it has gone from strength to strengh and is now a super little museum. Do a Google and take a look.
Best of luck in retirement - I can tell you from experience that you probably won't have time to write your book!

Diane

Re: Crimean War Turkish Contingent

Posted: 10 Apr 2013 2:06PM GMT
Classification: Query
Good morning/afternoon/evening Diane. Your life seems to have paralleled mine in some respects. Born in the UK, parents emigrated to Canada (Ottawa) when I was a baby, returned to the UK in 1960 and lived just outside Richmond in SW London until returning to Canada in 1967. I have family in BC in Vancouver and up in the Okanagon and my wife is from Castlegar/Nelson BC. My brother used to live in the Gulf Islands on Thetis Island. His widow still has the house there. I also have an old friend at UVIC--Leslie Saxon, a prof of native languages. Be funny if you ever ran across her. I also lived in DC from 2005-2008 before going to the UK. However, you have me beat on the citizenship front as I only have two--UK/Cda.

I would be interested to hear if you have any tips for visiting the Crimea. My idea for the book is to combine biography and travel and visit all the sites that figured prominently in the life of my g-g-g-grandfather. Obviously Kertch and the Crimea is high on the list of must-do destinations. Regarding the incident involving Skene. Apparently Beatson and his Bashi Bazouks were a rowdy lot and there were several incidents where they entered a nearby town armed and got involved in scraps where people were wounded. There was also bad blood between Beatson and Lt Gen Vivian stemming from the fact that Beatson was ordered to fold his command into the TC and he took this as a personal insult. His men were also told they could not enter town armed. This was taken as an insult by Beatson and some of his European Officers--among them Sir Richard Burton. These tensions resulted in a bizarre stand off with Turkish troops massed outside the town and a British warship anchored offshore ready to lend supporting fire as the Bashi Bazouks and their British officers seemed ready to move on the town ignoring the order to enter unarmed. Burton and two brother officers galloped up to the Turkish commander all full of indignation and all three threw down their gauntlets challenging him to a duel saying their honour had been impugned. It all ended without tears with Burton and Beatson returning to the UK, the Bashis being folded into the TC without further incident (there is a wonderful contemporary picture in the Wallace Collection in London of a Bashi Bazouk by an artist called Vernet (?) which shows this heavily armed rascally fellow making coffee over a fire in what appears to be a captured town. The real telling detail though is when you notice the fuel for the fire is a pile of looted books. The Wallace collection is only a short walk from the High Commission where I worked and I used to go in there on my lunch hour and look at this stuff.

I will certainly Google the WA Army Museum--so glad it survived and seems to be thriving. One of my retirement plans is to do an extended visit to Australia taking in the west and northern territories. We have friends in Canberra and Melbourne.

And thanks for the tip about retirement. Its only my second week but already I am amazed how stuff turns up to fill my day.

Cheers

Mike

Re: Crimean War Turkish Contingent

Posted: 22 May 2013 2:32AM GMT
Classification: Query
Hello Diane and Mike,

What a surprise to stumble upon your Message Board conversation while researching the Crimean War's Turkish Contingent.

I am also researching a participant - Major Richard Pattinson. He was born in Canada, serviced in India, Afghanistan and Canada before retiring. Soon afterwards he joined the Turkish Contingent. Afterwards he was appointed Governor of Heligoland. You can see more about him on my website: http://www.michelhoude.com/Pattinson/Index.html

I fear that I probably cannot be of much help to you in your research but I am willing to share whatever I have been able to find.

Is there a chance that you have come across his name in your research?

FYI - I'm retired from the Fed Civil Service and live in Toronto. My goal is to wind up my research on Major Pattinson this year and publish what I have found but I do not know where.

Cheers,

Michel Houde

Re: Crimean War Turkish Contingent

Posted: 22 May 2013 4:50PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi there Michel. Nice to meet you even if only electronically. Just back from a May long weekend canoe trip in Algonquin Park. Like yourself, I am recently retired from the federal public service. My last job was representing the Dept of Public Safety working out of the Canadian High Commission in London, UK. This four-year stint gave me a lot of opportunity to do research at the National Archives in Kew and the British Library. I regret I don't recall coming across the name of Major Pattinson but I still have a lot of documents and material to go through that I accumulated while in the UK. I also have my g-g-g grandfather's journals covering his time in the Crimea and I am in the midst of putting them on the computer. Although he headed up the medical contingent, he may have know Pattinson so I will keep my eyes open. I also have a lot of general information on the formation and composition of the Turkish Contingent that I would be glad to share if you think it might be useful as and when I get it online. My grandfather also has the same Crimea medals as Pattinson (hanging in my house in a shadow box). While in the UK I also came into the possession of a large oil portrait of my grandfather (long story) commissioned by the medical staff of the Turkish Contingent and done in London in July 1856 just after he got back from the Crimea. Anyway, lets stay in touch and see if we can help each other (by the way, like your website--Pattinson seems a very interesting character and certainly saw quite a bit of action. Is your interest in him purely historical or is he an ancestor of yours?

Cheers

Mike

Re: Crimean War Turkish Contingent

Posted: 22 May 2013 5:30PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hello Mike,

Thanks for the quick reply. I look forward to reading the information on the Turkish Contingent once you post it. It is wonderful that you have your ancestor’s medals, journal and image. I have little information myself on the Turkish Contingent. I found that Pattinson was appointed Major in the cavalry of the Turkish Contingent on March 27, 1855. He acted as Adjutant-General of cavalry, under Major-General Shirley. He was appointed to the command of the 3rd regiment of carabiniers. [Not certain what this unit was but it sounds like a rifle regiment of some sort.] Sometime in 1856 he was discharged. All my research has been done over the internet and in local libraries.

I am not related to Pattinson. My interest in him started as a result of my collecting the stamps of Heligoland. Once I discovered that he was born in Canada I wanted to know more about him.

Cheers,

Michel

Re: Crimean War Turkish Contingent

Posted: 23 May 2013 12:10AM GMT
Classification: Query
Hello M & M.

Good to see you are in touch with each other regarding Turkish Contingent.

Michel, I have a New Zealand correspondent who has transcribed a nominal roll of the TC's Cavalry Division in the third quarter ending 31 Mar 1856. Major R Pattinson is recorded as Acting Provost Marshall stationed at Buyuktchekmedje. Wendy Leahy who is a member of the Crimean War Research Society (as I am) has done mountains of work in the National Archives at Kew and is especially interested in the 4th Dragoons. This is her website:
http://shadowsoftime.co.nz/index.html. You will find the TC nominal roll there.

Diane


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