Has anyone ever come across an instance where a soldier has left the regular army and joined a militia?

I have an ancestor who served with the 3rd or King's Own Regiment of Dragoons in the 1790s on detachment in Scotland but then goes on to serve in the North York Militia circa 1798 onwards, who were also quartered in Scotland. He married there and lived out the rest of his life in Scotland.

My best guess is he had reached the age of 40, been discharged from the army and joined the local militia for the next 5 years so he could stay in Scotland and be with the woman he went onto marry perhaps? Or maybe he transferred out of the army early and saw out his service in the Militia? I have no idea if this would ever have been allowed. Would love to hear anyone else's more plausible theories.

My sources are as follows:

  1. His 1798 marriage certificate from Dunbar, Scotland, states he is a soldier in the North York Militia.
  2. He was involved in a private criminal case whilst a soldier in the Third or King's Own Regiment of Dragoons on detachment in Kirkudbright. This lasted from 1791-93.
  3. NEW INFO: Today, I discovered he was admitted to the Royal Hospital Chelsea in 1792 and discharged back to his regiment (3rd Dragoons) the same year. This fits in nicely with the time of the court case.

So I now have his age - 23, and know that in 1792 he had 6 years service under his belt. I also know his place of birth and occupation!

My question now is:

If he was eventually discharged from the army due to his injuries, these not being severe enough to prevent him serving in the Militia, would he still have had to serve 18 years in total?

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! Could you add to your question a brief list of the sources consulted? You needn't post the name of the soldier if you don't want to, but it helps me to know exactly what record groups the records came from, so I can see what form the records took and refer to features of the records. Having the information in the question saves a lot of time looking it up or guessing. Thanks! -- p.s. I'm editing your message to add white space for readability.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 17:43
  • 1
    Thanks Jan, I added my sources to the original question. I appreciate your suggestion, thanks.
    – J Mart
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 20:52
  • The North York Militia is mentioned in the source below but after the invasion scare of 1745, and the later strain on the regular army during the Seven Years' War, bills for the reform of the militia were brought to parliament, but it was not until 1759 that the act would be passed (30 Geo II c.25).[1] The act continued with the ballot to select men from each county, in numbers based on a return made by the county authorities of men of eligible age, initially between 18 and 50 years of age. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_and_Volunteers_of_Northumberland Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 9:46
  • 1
    Soldiers joining the militia was not unheard of (and I have my own example) - it was presumably a good fit for both parties as the soldiers knew the "trade", and the militia gained some experienced men. Also, @PolyGeo's related question wonders if a militia stationed away from home would recruit from locals, and this appears to involve a similar situation.
    – AndyW
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 12:05
  • 1
    Detailed army personnel records from this survive only if the soldier was given a pension. Long service pensions needed about 21 years service and ill health pensions I'm not sure about but think needed about 14 years minimum.
    – AdrianB38
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 0:31


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.