Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Zachariah King

Zachariah King :

Zachariah King : Military General Service Medal with clasp 'Martinique'

Military General Service Medal with clasp 'Martinique'

We don't know exactly when Zachariah was born. We believe it was in around 1790. He was born in Burnham near Thetford in Suffolk. We don't know anything about his family or early life.

On the 11th May 1805, when he was 15 years old, Zachariah joined the 63rd Regiment of Foot for 'unlimited service'.

The 63rd Regiment arrived in the Caribbean in 1808, and that December it set sail for the French island of Martinique. The Regiment landed and on the 8th February 1809 the French surrendered the island. The 63rd became the island's garrison for the next 6 years. Zachariah was a member of Captain Snape's Company during this campaign.

Small groups of soldiers from the Regiment served aboard ships of the Royal Navy during battles with French ships, and others were stationed on smaller islands. We don't know what Zachariah did during this time. The war with France ended in 1815.

Zachariah stayed in the Caribbean with the 63rd Regiment until July 1819. They based detachments on a number of different islands after they left Martinique, including St Vincent, Grenada, Antigua and Guadeloupe.

After he returned to the UK Zachariah was based in a number of different places. These included Portsmouth, Gosport, Winchester and Plymouth. The 63rd were sent to Liverpool during December 1819. They sailed to Ireland in January 1820.

The regiment garrisoned a number of different towns over the next few years. By mid 1823 Zachariah was in Dublin. He was assessed by a medical officer at around this time and found to be unfit for further service. In the doctor's words:

Eighteen months ago, when on detachment at Dunkeeham, County Mayo, a large abscess formed in the left thigh which required to be extensively laid open, and which has occasioned a degree of lameness rendering him unable to march any distance.

We don't know the modern name for Dunkeeham. Zachariah's conduct during his service had been 'very irregular and drunken'. He could not sign his name on his discharge papers, he made 'his mark' (an 'x') instead.

When he was discharged Zachariah was 5 feet 8 inches tall. He had red hair, hazel eyes and a 'freckled' complexion. He left the Army on the 15th May 1823.

On the 28th April 1828 Zachariah married Mary Donnally in Edgeware, then in Middlesex but now in London. We don't know how many children they had. Their son Robert was baptised on the 15th August 1828 in the Chelsea St Lukes parish of London.

At some point between then and June 1830 the family moved to the village of Barningham in Suffolk. John was christened there on the 6th. Another son named John was christened in Barningham on the 29th January 1832. This suggests that the first John had died.

The Military General Service Medal began to be issued in 1847. It was only awarded to former soldiers who applied for it themselves.

In 1851 Zachariah and Mary lived on Bardwell Road in Barningham. Zachariah was an agricultural labourer. They had 4 children living with them. Mary Ann and John were both 17, George was 15 and Thomas was 10. John and George also worked as agricultural labourers.

Ten years later Zachariah and Mary lived alone. We don't know their exact address but they were still in the Barningham area and both worked as agricultural labourers. They also had Zachariah's Army pension as a source of income.

We believe Zachariah died between October and December 1869 in Thetford, Norfolk. This is the nearest town to Barningham. He was 81 years old. His medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in around 1950.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council