3 June 2009

228 Quartermaster John Keatinge, 1st Battalion, 8th Regiment of Foot (King's Liverpool Regiment)

Medal held
India Mutiny Medal with two clasps: Delhi / Relief of Lucknow

John Keatinge was born in Ireland around 1827. He appears on the 1861 census stationed with the 1st Battalion, 8th Regiment of Foot at Gosport Barracks, Alverstoke, Hampshire. He is noted as quarter master and the 33 year old head of a small family: Eliza Keatinge (wife) aged 25, born in Sunderland, and two sons: George Keatinge aged four, born in Jullundur, East Indies (India) and A S J Keatinge aged one, born in Fort William (Calcutta).

By the time the 1861 census was taken, John Keatinge had been with the regiment for 15 years and spent most of that time in India. He had enlisted as a private in the 8th Regiment of Foot (King’s Liverpool) on 7th April 1846 and shortly afterwards, 228 Private John Keatinge sailed with his regiment for Bombay.

He was in India when the sepoys mutinied in 1857 and served with the regiment as a colour-sergeant during the Indian Mutiny campaign of 1857-59. (It was whilst the regiment was stationed at Jullunder in 1857 that his son George was born). He was present at the siege, assault, and capture of Delhi and took part in the battle of Agra and other actions of Colonel Greathed’s column. He was present at the relief of Lucknow, at the actions near Cawnpore on 2nd and 6th December 1857; at the action of Khuda Gunj on 2nd January 1858. He took part in the operations at Oudh between 18th October 1858 and 2nd February 1859 (and was appointed quartermaster-sergeant on 19th November 1858). He received the commission of quartermaster on 23rd September 1859.

John Keatinge was awarded the India Mutiny Medal with two clasps: Delhi and Relief of Lucknow. (Note, the illustration above is taken from the website of North East Medals and is not John Keatinge’s medal).

In 1863 a memorial commemorating the services and deaths of the 243 officers, NCOs and men of the 8th Regiment of Foot during the Indian Mutiny was erected at 1863. In 1877 it moved to Chelsea and then, finally in 1911, to its present location in Whitley Gardens, Liverpool.

The India Office collection at the British Library notes that a 44-year-old John Keatinge, Qautermaster with the 63rd Regiment of Foot, was buried at "Hazarebangh" on 22nd March 1872, having died as a result of fatty degeneration of the heart the previous day.  This is possibly the same John Keatinge who served in the 8th Regiment of Foot; certainly the age at death and the army rank are consistent with the information I have.   The 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot ad the 96th Regiment of Foot would later amalgamate and become the Manchester Regiment in 1881. Coincidentally, in 1758 it was the 2nd Battalion of the 8th Regiment of Foot which formed the 63rd Regiment of Foot. Modern day Hazaribagh is situated in the Indian state of Jharkhand.

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