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John was reportedly born and raised in army camps, according to his lawyer in his court case while he was still serving in 1845 in Nova Scotia.I have not yet been able to identify John's parents to determine whether his father was a soldier/officer of the British Army.Hence, from 1812, the regimental schools were open to both the sons and daughters of soldiers, and all were taught to read and write and were given some basic arithmetic tuition by the sergeant schoolmasters.Commanding officers were also encouraged to employ the “best qualified and best behaved women of each Regiment” to instruct the girls in “Plain Work and Knitting”.Officers' children may always have received an education appropriate to their perceived status, but at the price of separation from their parents (often for years on end), for they were generally sent to a boarding establishment, be it a public school, a ladies' academy or a finishing school, in Britain.In addition, there were military boarding schools: the Royal Hibernian Military School (RHMS), established in 1769 in Dublin, Ireland, and the Royal Military Asylum (RMA), founded in 1801 in Chelsea, London, and today known as the Duke of York's Royal Military School in Dover, Kent.As well as providing a window into his work, Art’s website, is a rich and important historical resource that will remain accessible to all for the foreseeable future.
But then because many of those illiterate recruits were army children, the realisation dawned that the regimental schools might as well start teaching these soldiers-in-the-making, and their future wives (for many army daughters later 'married into' the regiment) while they were still young.
And occupying army children with schoolwork and needlework also had the advantage of keeping them out of trouble!
By the nineteenth century, regimental schools catering for army children and teaching a wide range of subjects (practical, as well as academic) were relatively commonplace, and in this respect, the army was ahead of its time.
Although a number of commanding officers (COs) had established schools supported from regimental funds, and had received encouragement from the Duke of York following the policy of enlisting boy soldiers in 1796, it was not until 1812 that the order was given that all battalions and corps should establish regimental schools under the direction of sergeant schoolmasters.
The various circulars and orders made it clear that the aim was both to educate young soldiers and attested boys and also soldiers’ children – so that their fathers would know that the state was concerned about their welfare.