It is a general rule of thumb that the earlier the records one consults during historical or genealogical research the less one is likely to find. Such has been the case of this venerable old
artilleryman Allan Kaye. While his discharge papers have been found they comprise a total of only four pages. Much of what has been found regarding Kaye’s life – both with and outside the colours – have been gleaned from those pages.
No. 1331 Sergeant Allan Kaye attested with the Royal Artillery at the age of 22 on 10 February 1849 which places his birth date to around 1827 during the reign of George IV. He was posted gunner on 10 February 1849. Promoted bombardier on 9 July 1855 and then sergeant on 22 May 1858. He remained sergeant for 11 years, 347 days until his discharge on 3 May 1870 when he retired on a pension after 21 years, 90 days with the colours
Kaye would spend the vast majority of his enlistment was spent at home postings except for one year spent in the Crimea. His discharge papers fail to record to which brigade or battery he may have belonged to during the war . His papers do record him being entitled to the Crimean War Medal with the single clasp “Sebastopol” so he can be placed at the siege of that mighty Russian fortress. The papers also state his entitlement to the Turkish War Medal. Both medals are clearly visible in the above photograph.
In the photo, Kaye also wears two additional medals. The medal to the left of the image bears an older portrait of Queen Victoria and appears to be a jubilee medal – possibly a local issue. The medal at far right looks to possibly be the Army Meritorious Service Medal or perhaps the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.
Before enlistment, Kaye was described as a weaver by trade and he seems to have returned to that community after taking his discharge. In the 1881 census for Shelley, Yorkshire where he settled almost everyone else listed was involved in the weaving industries one way or another. 47-year-old Kaye is enumerated as a Chelsea Pensioner. The same census page shows us that Kaye has married at some point with his wife being named Caroline and the couple having one son – 17-year-old Arthur.
A parish burial register for Shelley lists Allan Kaye as having passed away in July 1910 at the age of 87.