Much has been written about the source of soldiers in the de Meuron regiment of foot. After the release of the regiment from Dutch service in 1795 the regiment entered British service until its disbandment in 1816.
In 1806 the regiment was stationed at Lymington in England and many soldiers whose contracts were up left the regiment. It was in 1806 the rebuilding of the regiment began. Rebuilding went through three phases, 1806, 1807 and 1809. These dates correspond with the movement of the regiment. 1806 in Lymington, England, 1807 in Gibraltar and 1809 in Malta. It was Malta where the regiment was stationed until it moved to Canada in 1813. According to Maurice Vallee in his excellent book on the regiment, the De Meuron’s had only a compliment of 218 men at the start of 1809 and by December of 1809 were a regiment of 798 men. By 1811 he states they were up to 957 men. So what was the source of the soldiers who made up the regiment?
Guy de Meuron in his book states that the in 1806 the regiment was down to 120 men when it arrived at Lymington in September 1806. By the start of 1809 the regiment was up to 278 and by December of that year was up to 798. Guy de Meuron claimed that the source of the majority of the new recruits were French prisoners of war who were members of the Swiss regiments captured at the battle of Bailen in Spain in July 1808 and held prisoner at Cadiz. Unfortunately the picture of where the new de Meuron recruits actually came from is far from clear.
Various attempts over the years have resulted in searches being done in France at the archives at Vincennes, the results being far from conclusive. Certainly many soldiers did come from French regiments as demonstrated by the histories of Jean-Baptiste Bernardin and Johan Thomas Niderer as well as those soldiers who recieved la medaille St. Helene in Quebec in the 1860’s. The St. Helen medal was awarded to former soldiers who had fought in Napoleon’s armies. One of those that was awarded the medal in Quebec was Jean Baptiste Vand’hooleaghe (Vandelac). The purpose of this post is not to explore French service but rather inter regimental transfer.
It was common practice for soldiers in the 19th century to move between British regiments. Recent research at the British Archives at Kew in London has revealed that the following de Meuron soldiers were in fact transferred from other British regiments into the de Meurons.
- Felix Bartel Enlisted 28 October 1808 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Nicolas Bourgnon Enlisted from the Kings German Legion KGL but had previous served in the De Meurons
- Benoit Carron Enlisted 17 December 1808 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Dieudonne Castion Enlisted 17 November 1808 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Henry Fabritus Enlisted 11 December 1809 – Kings German Legion KGL and 60th Foot
- Conrad Faure Enlisted 20 July 1810 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Francois Genevier Enlisted 11 December 1809 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Antoine Grazianni Enlisted 29 November 1807 – 35th Foot
- Jean Horn Enlisted 28 June 1803 – 60th Foot
- Nicolas Kellar Enlisted 15 May 1812 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Henry Lafinneur Enlisted 15 December 1808 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Jean Theodore Misani Enlisted 25 April 1811 – Royal Regiment of Malta
- Henry Rick Enlisted 15 May 1812 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Bernard Roesch Enlisted 28 November 1803 – Queen’s Germans
- Joseph Sanspott 28 October 1808 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Louis Simoneau Enlisted 24 October 1814 – Chasseures Britaniques. This regiment was disbanded 5 October 1814
- Gaspard Steckley Enlisted 30 January 1809 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Johann Veert Enlisted 15 May 1812 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Charles Wisar Enlisted 4 June 1803 – Kings German Legion KGL
- Xavier Zeheinder Enlisted 13 April 1813 – Kings German Legion KGL
Although some of the transfers post date the 1809 mass entry, and some predate the 1806 in take, it is interesting to see the different number of regiments the de Meurons drew from. By no means exhaustive this short list does speak to the sources of soldiers. The Kings German Legion KGL was stationed in Malta at the same time the de Meurons before their transfer to Sicily in October 1811. For a complete history and the changes in the composition of the regiment see the following article by Walter Bonnici.