Charles Barritt (1861 – 1902) His story continued.

Dorset Regiment Cap Badge

Dorset Regiment Cap Badge

It was the 9th September 1884 and 23 year old Charles Barritt was about to embark on a voyage which would take him halfway around the world to India, Pakistan, Yemen and eventually home again.
His time away was hindered with health problems in an area heavily affected with Malaria. He travelled great distances, witnessed a way of life and a culture very different from his beloved England but sadly all I am left with is a timeline of where he was and when, the ships that carried him to these places and a few photographs of what he would have seen. His story is lost but his journey is remembered.
Charles enlisted with 2nd Battalion, The Dorsetshire Regiment on the 2nd November 1883, his place of enlistment was Dorchester, Dorset but he originally trained and enlisted with the Essex Regiment.
On the 20th November 1883 he is recorded as being in Aldershot, Hampshire Hospital where he remained for 30 days recovering from a slightly embarrassing illness.

I have often wondered why he transferred to a different regiment and maybe it was the lure of adventure and perhaps even a little peer pressure, but whatever his reason was, I am sure an adventure like this would certainly have changed a young man of 23 years, into a more mature and wiser individual.

Charles spent the next ten months preparing for this journey and it’s a shame that his letters home have not survived, I can imagination that they are full off both courage and trepidation, for he is stepping into a much wider world and one fairly unknown to common men in the 1880’s.

On the 9th September 1884 Charles embarked on the ship HMS Malabar.

HMS Malabar c. 1870 Photo Credit: Navi e Armatori

HMS Malabar c. 1870
Photo Credit: Navi e Armatori

HMS Malabar (source: Wikipedia)
HMS Malabar was a Euphrates-class troopship launched in 1866, and the fifth ship of the Royal Navy to employ the name. She was designed to carry troops between the United Kingdom and British India, and was employed in that role for most of her life. She became the base ship in Bermuda in 1897, was renamed HMS Terror in 1901 and was sold in 1918. Her name was later used for part of the Royal Dockyard in Bermuda.
Malabar was one of five iron-hulled vessels of the Euphrates class. All five were built to a design of 360 ft overall length by about 49 ft breadth, although Malabar was very slightly smaller than the rest of the class. They had a single screw, a speed of 14 knots, one funnel, a barque-rig sail plan, three 4-pounder guns, and a white painted hull. Her bow was a “ram bow” which projected forward below the waterline.
She was built for the transport of troops between the United Kingdom and the Indian sub-continent, and was operated by theRoyal Navy. She carried up to 1,200 troops and family on a passage of approximately 70 days.

Wikipedia record the travelling time of approximately 70 days, although Charles Barritt’s military service & health records claim that the ship landed in Bombay, Maharashtra, India on the 19th October 1884 which is only 41 days of travel.

India in the 1880’s was under British Rule and Bombay would have been a big culture shock for anyone visiting the city in the 1880’s. It was hot, there would have been vast areas of poverty and Charles would have met plenty of Englishman, as India during this time was under British rule.

 

Busy Street Scene in Bombay (Mumbai) c1880's

Busy Street Scene in Bombay (Mumbai) c1880’s

Charles didn’t stay in Bombay for very long, perhaps only one night because he is recorded as arriving in Peshawar, Pakistan on the 25th October 1884. Here he remained at Peshawar Cantonment until the 26th February 1885.

Peshawar Cantonment (Source: Wikipedia)
Peshawar Cantonment is a cantonment adjacent to Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The Peshawar Cantonment was established on the remains of old town site and the graveyard. It was as irregular and oblong in shape as it is today and originally occupied an area of 09 square kilometers. It was occupied by British troops soon after annexation of Punjab in 1848 – 49. After the fall of Sikhs in 1849 and annexation of Punjab to the British Empire, a Military Garrison was established at Peshawar during 1868 on the remains of old town site and ancient grave yards.

Peshawar Cantt - with a view of St. Michael's Catholic Church - c. 1878

Peshawar Cantt – with a view of St. Michael’s Catholic Church – c. 1878

 

Sometime between the dates 26th February 1885 and 1 August 1885, Charles was sent to Cherat, Pakistan During British rule Cherat was important as a hill cantonment and sanitarium for British troops in what was then the Nowshera Tehsil of the Peshawar District of British India.
Cherat was first used as a sanitarium for troops in 1861 and was used during the hot weather as a health station for the British troops who were quartered in the hot and malarious valley of Peshawar.
During this time Charles was admitted to hospital, one of many admissions for various health issues during his time in India.
After the 1st August 1885, Charles was back at his post in Peshawar where he remained until January 1886.
On the 8th January 1886 Charles embarked on the ship HMS Crocodile.

HMS Crocodile c. 1867 Photo Credit: Wikipedia

HMS Crocodile c. 1867
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

HMS Crocodile (Source: Wikipedia)
HMS Crocodile was a Euphrates-class troopship launched into the Thames from the Blackwall Yard of Money Wigram & Sons on 7 January 1867. She was the fourth and last vessel of the Royal Navy to carry the name.
Crocodile was one of five iron-hulled vessels of the Euphrates class. All five were built to a design of 360 ft overall length by about 49 ft breadth, although Malabar was very slightly smaller than the rest of the class. They had a single screw, a speed of 14 knots, one funnel, a barque-rig sail plan, three 4-pounder guns, and a white painted hull. Her bow was a “ram bow” which projected forward below the waterline.
She was built for the transport of troops between the United Kingdom and the Indian sub-continent, and was operated by the Royal Navy. She carried up to 1,200 troops and family.

On the 14th January 1886 HMS Crocodile and its crew arrived in Aden which is now situated in modern Yemen.

Aden Protectorate. (Source: Wikipedia)
On 19 January 1839, the British East India Company landed Royal Marines at Aden to occupy the territory and stop attacks bypirates against British shipping to India.The British Army considered Aden an important place due to its location, as the Navy could easily access the port at Aden for fueling purposes. Later, British influence extended progressively into the hinterland, both west and east, with the establishment of the Aden Protectorate.

Charles Barritt remained in Arden between the dates 14th January 1886 – 3 December 1886, before embarking on his final journey back home to England. The ship that carried him was HMS Jumna.

HMS Jumna c. 1885 Photo Credit: Wikipedia

HMS Jumna c. 1885
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

HMS Jumna (Source: Wikipdia)
HMS Jumna was a Euphrates-class troopship launched at Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company at Hebburn on 24 September 1866. She was the third vessel of the Royal Navy to carry the name.
Jumna was one of five iron-hulled vessels of the Euphrates class. All five were built to a design of 360 ft overall length by about 49 ft breadth, although Malabar was very slightly smaller than the rest of the class. They had a single screw, a speed of 14 knots, one funnel, a barque-rig sail plan, three 4-pounder guns, and a white painted hull. Her bow was a “ram bow” which projected forward below the waterline.
She was commissioned jointly by the British Admiralty and the Indian government
She spent most of her active career conveying British troops to and from the Indian subcontinent

Charles Barritt finally arrived home in Portsmouth, Hampshire on the 24 December 1886.
Did he enjoy the cold December winds of the English Channel against his face, did he grip the English soil firmly in his hand and was he glad to be home. I’m sure he was but now his adventure was over where would his life take him next and what did his future have in store for him?

To be continued…