De Meuron Enlistment at Malta August 19th 1809

In a previous post I looked at the inter regimental transfer between other British regiments and the de Meurons. In looking at the waves of enlistment during the period 1806 to 1809, the August 19th 1809 intake is interesting in its homogeneity. The large number of soldiers from Flanders, Alsace, and Brabant may possibly indicate a common source. Each soldier, on enlistment was given an enlistment bounty of 4 pounds and 4 shillings which was  a fair sum of money. It was common practice however that most recruits ended up in debt as they were also charged for their uniform and kit, which was one of the reason for the high desertion rates. In the table below is the list of the 19 soldiers who joined the regiment on the 19th of August 1809. The map  below the list geo plots their home town at the time of enlistment where the records allow us to link to existing towns or villages. Finally the original source document for the enlistment list is thumb nailed below the map.

The source of these soldiers is at present unknown. Were they captured, as has been speculated, after the defeat of Dupont’s French army at Bailen in July 1808 in Spain or were they captured at another battle in Spain or Portugal. The only clue to the possible origin is the French service record of Jacob Contal. Born on the 19th of June 1783, Jacob Contal joined the French army on the 2nd of November 1802 as a volunteer. Contal was captured at Bailen on the 19 June 1808 and was a sergeant in the 9th Light Infantry Regiment. Another soldier from the 9th Light Infantry also joined the de Meuron’s. He is Jean Baptiste Bernardin who joined on the 17th of November 1808. In a future article I will explore all the known French soldiers who joined the de Meurons. The list is compiled from a variety of sources. The ultimate question however is, besides Contal where did the 18 soldiers who joined the regiment in Malta on August 19th 1809 actually come from.

First NameNameTownRegionCountryAgeDOBDe Meuron Regi #RoleOccupation
JacobSchubsMastric Brabant2617832107Fusilier
PierreNolensMastric Brabant2117852124Fusilier
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De Meuron enlistment 19 08 1809

Archival Sources:

Commissary General of Musters Office and successors: General Muster Books and Pay Lists. WO12/11960–11967, 11972, 12018–12033, 13295. Records of other administrative departments of the War Office. Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies. The National Archives, Kew, Surrey, England.

War Office and predecessors: Militia and Volunteers Muster Books and Pay Lists. WO13/3673–3717. Records of other administrative departments of the War Office. Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies. The National Archives, Kew, Surrey, England.

War and Colonial Department and Colonial Office: Confidential Print North America CO880/1–2. Records of the Colonial Office, Commonwealth and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices, Empire Marketing Board, and related bodies. The National Archives, Kew, Surrey, England.



  1. Thanks for writing this.
    My ancestor Benoit Hoffay was a Sergeant in the Regiment De Meuron.
    He was listed as joining in Gibraltar in December of 1809 and and having been born in Brabant. He was discharged in 1816. Married in Canada. Found a mention of him becoming a teacher. Have no knowledge of what happened to him after that…or what he did before joining the Regiment. Would like to know more.

  2. Todd,
    Benoit enlisted 27th December 1809. Interestingly he was paid 4 pounds 4 shillings as his bounty. However 2 pounds were deducted on account of bounty he received at Gibraltar when he enlisted. He was also paid from December 25th, so two extra days.
    Served in Captain de Rham’s company and discharged as a Sergeant 24th June 1816 in Montreal. He was born in the town of Waterloo, Belgium in 1787. He married Victoire Panneton in Montreal.

  3. Marielle Gervais Crabbe

    My ancestor Alexandre Guidinger came to Bas-Canada with the Meuron Regiment. In July 1816 he married Marie Louise Aubuchon in Sorel, Québec.
    Information about him as a military would be of great interest to my family.
    Best regards
    Marielle Gervais Crabbe

  4. Marielle,
    Your ancestor enlisted at Cartagena (Spain) on August 14th and signed in Gibraltar on September 15th 1810. I will see what else there is available on him.

  5. Hi. My ancestor, Christian Jacob Wachter, enlisted in Ameriswil, Switzerland in 1809. I have followed his path through Malta to Canada and then as a soldier/settler working for Lord Selkirk and the Hudson’s Bay Company.

  6. Markus, Do you know where he was before 1809 and his enlistment in the de Meurons?

  7. Brian Wills-Johnson

    Hello Robin – This is very impressive research. Jean Pierre Meunier, b. Lorient in 1791, was a fifer and drummer in De Meuron’s regiment when it went to Canada. He was sentenced to life transportation when he deserted three weeks after their arrival, at Chambly. Ended up in Australia and, if Y-chromosomes tell no lies, was probably my G-G-Grandfather. I wonder if he was picked up in Cadiz.

  8. Brian,
    He was born in Epinal, France. He deserted on August 27th. He returned September 3rd. He was court martialed Oct 8th 1813. Trial was held Oct 13th 1813. He enlisted in Malta June 10th 1809. Given he was French I would assume that he was a prisoner in Spain although it could just as easily been elsewhere. How do you know he ended up in Australia?

  9. Hi Robin, my 3 times great grandfather, Louis Riff Rhiff, Rieff, etc) was on Malta joining the Regiment probably as a POW per family tradition from the French Army, and came to Quebec as a Sargent in the Regiment De Meuron settling in Drummondville after the war, where some of the family still are located. I believe he joined in 1809 as a private, and left as a Sargent. Also believe he is from Enssieheim then in Germany, now France. Married on Malta Marie Guisel Morel of Stettin, Prussia widow of a Sargent Lawrence Morel. nothing more know of her or her first husband. Any information on Louis Riff? Really nice to read research on the Regiment De Meuron, great work!

  10. Dan,
    Thanks for the post. Louis Riff was married at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in 1813. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1811. In 1838 he enrolled in the Sherbrooke Cavalry unit in Quebec. This was during the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada. The marriage record says he was from Enisheim Germany. Which as you say was probably in France. What is very interesting is the Marie’s name registered at the death of a son in 1839 is Gurtle.

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