View Full Version : Battle of Talavera

27-11-2015, 10:41 AM
Hi Everyone. My 4x Great Grandfather was wounded at the Battle of Talavera. Would there be any records, going back this far for wounded and killed soldiers?
I am trying to trace the names of my 5x great Grandparents, so hoping they could be named as next of kin in any records.
Researching the Irish relatives, is a very long and slow process. So I am trying to research different areas to see what may and will come up.

Kind regards Janette

Megan Roberts
27-11-2015, 11:00 AM
Findmypast has a collection of Napoleonic war records. I have no idea about their content.


27-11-2015, 11:17 AM
Thank you Megan.

Peter Goodey
27-11-2015, 11:28 AM
Check the collection called "British Army Service Records 1760-1915" on Findmypast. This includes the main source of service records - National Archives series WO97.

You need to have read and absorbed the National Archives guidance. Choose from...

I'm afraid this is rather too early to hope to find next-of-kin mentioned in service records. However it should tell you the parish and approximate date of birth which is a great help.

27-11-2015, 3:40 PM
Thank you Peter, I will check out all the links, you and Megan have provided. Its much appreciated


Peter Goodey
27-11-2015, 3:53 PM
Sorry. There's something wrong with the link to the research guides.

The main ones you want to look at are:




01-12-2015, 11:24 AM
Peter, firstly my apologies for the late reply. Thank you for the amended link. I find the NA very confusing and never find the right files, but I shall have a go and see what comes up.
Thank you for your help


01-12-2015, 10:47 PM
Hi Janette

It would help if you could the name of the man you are researching - you never know, but he might be mentioned somewhere(!). Also, just put his name into a search engine and see if anything comes up. Plus, of course, try Google Books for accounts of the battle.

By searching for (wounded AND Talavera), I've just found this list of British officers held as POWs at Verdun 1804-1813: http://www.napoleon-series.org/military/organization/Britain/Miscellaneous/c_POWsatVerdun.html. Just keep scrolling until you come to those captured at Talavera. You will see that many of those taken prisoner were medics who had stayed behind to tend the wounded on the field of battle.

Hope this might give you a few ideas.

Off to roost.


02-12-2015, 11:47 AM
Hi Owl,

Thank you for the information. My ancestors name was James Johnston born around 1789 in the parish of aghaloo, possibly the town of Aughnacloy, County Tyrone, Ireland. He was wounded at Talavera, which resulted in James having an amputation at the age of 21. He was a weaver by trade before joining the army. I have obtained his discharge papers, but not his sign up papers. James was discharged in 1810. He had 2 wives Bridget was the first and they had a son Robert around 1812, his second wife was Mary and he had a further 4 children with Mary, Thomas, Anne, Margaret and Martha. All his children settled in the USA apart from Thomas, he settled in the UK to finish his army career. Thomas is my 3x great grandfather. I'm not sure what happened to James after he left the army, whether he stayed in Ireland or went to live elsewhere. Because Irish records are limited, it's not easy research.
Re: Aghaloo and Aughncaloy. I have always thought Aughnacloy was in the parish of Aghaloo, however some records show it being in the parish of Carnteel. this maybe why i cant research fully, could be looking in the wrong place :-)

Peter Goodey
02-12-2015, 12:01 PM
My ancestors name was James Johnston

Which regiment?

02-12-2015, 12:07 PM
Hi Peter, sorry I never thought to include the regiment. it was the 2nd battalion 43rd regiment of the light infantry, if that makes any sense? I have copied it as it is written on his discharge papers


02-12-2015, 1:56 PM
Yes, exactly - which regiment? Once the name is known, you/we can search properly, e.g just put (Johnston AND regiment name) into a search engine. I've just put (Johnston AND Aghaloo) into Bing. Lots of history/family history stuff comes up.
It's advisable not to fixate on just one thing - at this stage, research all round the topic. Also, a name like Johnston suggests that the family might have originally come from Scotland.

Got to work now, so swooping off.


PS thanks, Janette. You posted whilst I was typing.

03-12-2015, 11:26 AM
Hi Owl,
I never gave it a 2nd thought that the family could have come from Scotland and settled in Ireland. However with no name for parents of James and the amount of James Johnston's there is, that would be a very long task to find the right James.
This is why I thought a next of kin would have been listed on any army documents.
I will search all topics and see what happens.
I put off a trip to Ireland this summer, because I thought I was getting somewhere. I may have to think about that to further my research in the future.
Thank you for the advice


03-12-2015, 4:07 PM
Hi Janette

Thanks for the update. I think you will find that this quest will turn into researching a bit of Irish and Scottish history. You need to go to, say, Wikipedia to get a rough outline of the history of Ireland/Ulster and in particular what is called the 'Plantation', which was mainly in the 17th century - lots of families left Lowland Scotland and settled/were settled in the northern part of Ireland (and they brought their religion, Presbyterianism, with them). And a lot of these settlers took up weaving - flax was woven into linen. You have already got an important clue: your James Johnston was a weaver. Search for the distribution of the surname 'Johnston' and I think you will find that it is strong in Lowland Scotland (but someone may well be along to correct me...). So those are clues towards research into this Johnston family.

Look at the website of the Public Record office of Northern Ireland (PRONI): http://www.proni.gov.uk/index.htm. There is also a Northern Irish Family History Society, which may be able to give some guidance: http://www.nifhs.org/.

And once you get going with these researches, I am sure you will find many more helpful sites and organisations. Let us know how you get on.

I'm bowing out now.

Happy researching.


Mods: This is now a research thread on James Johnston of Aghaloo (who just happened to be badly wounded at Talavera), so perhaps a more meaningful title would help flag it for other researchers, and even a move of forum too. Owl

04-12-2015, 3:01 PM
Hi Janette

I think you would find this site very useful: http://cotyroneireland.com/index.html. So much to search and there are transcriptions of all sorts of thing. You will find quite a lot relating to Aghaloo and I noticed quite a few Johnston/Johnstone references.

The site is related to a Rootsweb Mailing List.


04-12-2015, 5:05 PM
Hi Owl,

Thank you so much for the information regarding the possible Scottish connection. I received an email from an Irish family researcher.
He says because James was born around 1789, a record of his birth would not exist, and I just may find a record of his marriages to Bridget and his second wife Mary, if i'm lucky.
I will search the sites you mention for anything else that may help me.

Re : Mods: This is now a research thread on James Johnston of Aghaloo (who just happened to be badly wounded at Talavera), so perhaps a more meaningful title would help flag it for other researchers, and even a move of forum too.

Maybe I should post in the County Tyrone forum too :-)

Thanks again Owl, both you and Peter have been a great help to me. It is most appreciated.


12-08-2016, 8:51 AM
I don't like to hijack someone else's thread but I was drawn to it because I believe a man in my family tree was wounded and captured at Talavera - Thomas Summerfield c.1767-1833 of the 83rd Regiment - though I see he is spelt Somerfield in that Verdun prisoner list, I'm sure it must be him.

One of his daughters, Mary Cecilia Summerfield, when she eventually died in 1853 in Ceylon (with surname Twynam), got herself a sort of biographical entry in a Ceylon memorial inscription book - which states that she had 'accompanied her father on the peninsular campaign' (she was born c.1796). The bizarre thing is (it seems to me), when Mary Cecilia first married in 1813 to John Hawkins, that marriage took place at Verdun-Sur-Meuse.

Should I conclude that when her father was captured, Mary Cecilia was also taken to Verdun? Would her mother and siblings have been tagging along too with father on his campaigns ?

Mary's first husband John Hawkins (a navy man) died in 1818 and I've obtained from National Archives a 'Sea Officers Widow's Charity' document which gives a few details of the 1813 marriage including that it was performed by vicar William Gorden of Duns Tew, Oxfordshire, "chaplain to British prisoners-of-war at Verdun".