No, 1796 Private Matthew White was born at Deptford, Kent around 1880. He
attested for Short Servcie with the 43rd Brigade/107th Regiment of Foot on 25
September, 1880 at Lambeth Police Court. At the time he was described as being
5 feet, 5 inches tall with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and sandy hair. His
distinguishing mark was a scar on his right foot and his trade or calling was given
as a seaman.

The location of his attestation and his conduct not long after enlisting one wonders
if White may have been given the choice of enlistment or jail time for a now long
forgotten legal transgression by the local magistrate. Less than three months
after joining the colours White is shown on his service papers as having deserted.
While is was far from uncommon for a young soldier to go missing for a few days
White was absent for well over an entire year - from 17 December 1880 until 12
March 1882. During his absence the Childers Reforms has be implemented and
his old regiment had become - along with the 35th Foot - the Royal Sussex
imprisonment with all former service time forfeited.

White transferred to the 1st Battalion sometime after rejoining (his old regiment
had become the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Sussex) and was granted Good
Conduct Pay on 12 September, 1885 only to forfeit it on 8 October, 1885. His
Good Conduct pay was restored to him on 18 March, 1887. His forfeited service
time must have been restored to him since he was credited with a full six years
service when he transferred to the 1st Class Army Reserve on 31 March 1888.
He completed his 6 years of reserve status on 20 March, 1894.

Both his service papers and his discharge parchment list White's conduct as
"Laterly good, since 1885".

Private Matthew White's posting included:
Above: The hand stitched oilskin cover of
Matthew White's regimental account book

Approximately 7 3/4 inches by 5 inches
20cm x 13cm
c. 1880 - 1895
Above: The inside of Matthew White's account book showing the first page of inside of
the oilskin cover. The number stenciled on the inside cover appears to read:


I believe that the oilskin material used by Matthew White as a cover for his account book
may have once belonged to No. 1952 Private Harry Hocking of the 1st Battalion, the
Royal Sussex Regiment. White and Hoking served together during 1885 and perhaps
White used a scrap from Hoking's equipment or perhaps Hoking made the cover for

Oilskin and Printed Paper
Approximately 7 3/4 inches by 10 inches (opened)
20cm x 23cm
c. 1880 - 1895
England - 25th September, 1889 - 9th November, 1882
Egypt: 10th November, 1882 - 11 September, 1885
Home: 12 September, 1885 - 20 March, 1894
White served with the 1/Royal Sussex
during the Gordon Relief Expedition of
1884-85 and was entitled to the 1882
Egypt Medal with the clasp "The Nile
1884-85" and the bronze Khedive's Star.

Although there is no way of knowing one
wonders of if White's former
employment as a seaman during the
Expedition's epic race up the Nile. Or if
White could have been one of the
twenty or so members of the Royal
Sussex who outfitted in old red tunics
boarded the river steamers
Bordein and
Talahawiya  and made that last
desperate dash to Khartoum in a
fruitless attempt to save the city and its
gallant defender General Charles

After taking his discharge White
Resumed his old trade and was for a
time a member of the crew of the
an unlikely named
steamer of 2220 tons on which he
served as an Ordinary Seaman during a
voyage between Adelaide, Australia and
London, England. When he took his
discharge from that vessel on 31 May,
1895 his conduct for both character and
ability was listed as Very Good.

Matthew White would re-enlist during
the Anglo Boer War although he would
not see any  active service overseas. He
attested for one year with the colours on
15 March, 1900 at Newcastle on Tyne.
With a new regimental number of 477 he
was attached to the Royal Sussex
Reserve Regiment and was discharged
on 14 March, 1901.
Above: two sample pages from Private Matthew White's account book. The page at left lists various items of uniform and
equipment issued to and returned by White  between 1880 and 1885. The page at right shows various amounts of money owed to
White by the Crown or by White to the Crown. This page is dated Cairo, 1883.

Oilskin and Printed Paper
Approximately 7 3/4 inches by 5 inches (each)
20cm x 23cm
c. 1880 - 1895
Above: The front of Matthew White's Parchment Certificate of Discharge (Army Form B. 128). This form summarized
the complete information found in a soldier's service papers. As stated at the top of the certificate this document was
irreplaceable and the veteran's only means of proving his service with the colours in later life.

Approximately 9 3/4 inches by 7 1/2 inches
25cm x 19cm
Above: The reverse side of Matthew White's Parchment Certificate of Discharge (Army Form B. 128). This described
his physical appearance at the time of his discharge as well as intended place of residence.

Approximately 9 3/4 inches by 7 1/2 inches
25cm x 19cm
Left: Private Matthew White's Parchment
Certificate of Character (Army Form D. 439).
Somewhat smaller than the Certificate of
Discharge this form listed the soldier's
character and appearance at the time of his

Approximately 8 1/2 inches by 5 7/8 inches
22cm x 15cm
White's Certificate of Discharge
issued by the Board of Trade at the
completion of his voyage on the S.S.

Printed Paper
Approximately 5 7/8 inches by 7 3/4
15cm x 20cm