A village with a big story
Little Holland cottages at top of Green no longer there
Claypits Pond with Horses 1905
Long Melford Coronation fancy dress competition at the British Legion in Cordell road1953
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Otley / Ottley

Selected Biographies

Otley, Elijah – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk in 1797.[1] Parents: Elijah Ottley and Rebecca Ambrose.  Family Connections: Brother to William Ottley [b1797] and uncle of Elijah Ottley [b1824].  Home: Back Meadow, Long Melford (1851).  Occupation: Chelsea Pensioner (1851).  Service Record: Elijah enlisted aged 12 in March 1809 at Bury St Edmunds as a Bugler, later Rifleman with 2nd Battalion, 95th Regiment of Foot.  He was posted to Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular Campaign, seeing action at the following battles: Barossa (1811), Ciudad Rodrego (1812), Badajoz (1812), Salamanca (1812), Vitoria (1813), the Pyrenees (1813), San Sebastian (1813), Orthès (1814) and Toulouse (1814).  In 1815 he was sent to North America, participating in the final stages of the War of 1812 against the United States, seeing action at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, where he was wounded in his left hand.  Returning to England his unit was taken out of the Line and restyled The Rifle Brigade [Prince Consort’s Own]. He was stationed at Kinsale in Ireland in the 1820s and 1830s, receiving his discharge in 1838 due to ‘difficulty in breathing, debility of the lower limbs and being worn out’.  His surname is recorded as Hotley [sic] in all military registers.[2]  Died: Long Melford, Suffolk on 21.5.1862.[3]

Otley, Elijah – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk in 1824. Parents: William Otley [transported to Van Dieman’s Land in 1825] and Maria [née Bird].  Family Connections: Half-brother to George Turner Otley [b1831].  Home: The Green, Long Melford (1841).  Occupation: Agricultural Labourer (1841).  Partner: Matilda Palmer née Mitchell c1865.  Service Record: Elijah enlisted in 1842 as Pte.3248 with 94th Regiment of Foot, being posted to India, transferring to 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot, a light infantry unit in 1854, and taking part in the suppression of the Indian Mutiny of 1857/1858.  He was discharged in 1862 due to a medical disability and returned to England.[4]  Died: Long Melford, Suffolk on 6.7.1867.[5]

Otley aka Turner, George Turner – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk in 1831.[6] Parents: Maria Otley [nee Bird] (housekeeper to John Turner who was also his father).  Family Connections: Half-brother to Elijah Otley [b1824].  Home: Westgate Street, Long Melford (1841), Hall Street, Long Melford (1851).  Occupation: Hand-Loom Weaver at John Churchyard’s Horsehair Factory (1851).  Service Record:  George enlisted as a Private with No.1 Company, 11th Battalion, Royal Artillery being posted to Balaklava during the Crimean War.  A letter to his parents, which was reprinted in the local paper, gives his graphic account of the operations around Sevastopol.[7]  Died: Sudbury, Suffolk in 1863.

Otley, Herbert – Born: Lavenham, Suffolk in 1875. Parents: Charles Otley of Long Melford (Horsehair Curler) and Sarah Ann [née Ambrose].  Home: Water Street, Lavenham, Suffolk (1881), 41 Glanville Road, Canning Town, London (1891), Military Barracks, Risbygate, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (1911), 1 Birtley Road, Bramley, Surrey (1921).  Occupation: Mat Dresser (1891), Soldier (1911), Foundry Labourer (1921).  Married: Annie May Brummell in 1915.  Service Record: Prior to 1893 Herbert was serving in the Suffolk Militia when he enlisted as Pte.3574 with 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, being posted to India from 1895 to 1907, spending five years stationed at Quetta on the North-West Frontier.  He was re-engaged in 1905 joining 2nd Battalion, receiving his discharge in 1913.  On 16.10.1914 he re-enlisted as Pte.3/10280, based at the Suffolk regimental depot in Bury St Edmunds and rising to the rank of Sergeant before his discharge in 1920.[8]  Died: Bramley, Surrey in 1929.

Otley, William – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk in 1797.[9] Parents: Elijah Ottley and Rebecca Ambrose.  Family Connections: Father to Elijah Otley [b1824] and brother to Elijah Ottley [b1791].  Married: Maria Bird in 1819.  Criminal Record: William was convicted of stealing a fowl at the Suffolk Quarter Sessions in Bury St Edmunds on 18.7.1825 and sentenced to transportation to Van Dieman’s Land for a term of seven years.  He was held in the prison hulk Leviathan moored at Portsmouth from August 1825,[10] the sailing to Tasmania aboard the vessel Woodford a year later.[11]

Notes – [1] His year of birth of 1797 is implied from his Army Attestation Papers, his burial record and the 1851 Census however suggest the much earlier year of 1791 or 1792.  [2] Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1913 [WO 97] and [WO 116/46].  I am grateful Ann Grimshaw of Sudbury for her research.  [3] Date of death taken from Royal Hospital Chelsea Admission Book [WO 23/55].  [4] Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Regimental Registers of Pensioners, 1713-1882 [WO 97/1523].  [5] National Probate Calendar.  [6] Baptism Record of 19.11.1844 for Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford.  [7] The Bury and Norwich Post and Suffolk Herald 12.9.1855, reprinted in Long Melford Historical and Archaeological Society Newsletter September 1992.  [8] Soldiers’ Documents and Pension Claims, First World War [WO 364].  [9] Baptism Record of 19.8.1797 for Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford.  [10] HMS Leviathan, a 74-gun Ship of the Line had previously seen service at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.  [11] [HO 26] Criminal Registers, England and Wales, [HO 9] Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849, and [HO 11/6] Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Other Fleets & Ships, 1791-1868.

Eye-Witness account of the Siege of Sevastopol from Private George Turner in a letter to his parents of 1855

W Field Battery, Royal Artillery, Balaklava, Crimea, 20th August 1855

My dear Mother and Father

We had a great fight last Wednesday.  The enemy attacked the French and also the Sardinians very fiercely and we went over to help them, but none of the English could get into action, neither cavalry infantry nor artillery, but one 32lb field battery, the only heavy field battery we have got.  It slaughtered the Russians by hundreds.  The French and Sardinians fought very bravely and made the Russians fly back again.  The Russians lost about 8,000 killed, wounded and prisoners, while the Allied Armies lost about 800 altogether.  We are turned out at a moment’s notice day or night, for the fear of them trying to take the place.  The siege has been open three days now and we have been firing tremendous hard at them, and the Russians fire scarcely any.  Some say we had taken some of the best batteries.  We expect to storm it every night, but we don’t know the night it will be done.  I believe we shall take the town this time.  The cholera is quite gone, and the diarrhoea is fast leaving us, and we are pretty well off now.  The Sardinians are very fine soldiers as good as ever drew a sword.  I am sure the French also are good and brave ones too; and the Turks will often fight well but not so well as the other two.  But our Army, English is better than any of them, so we care not for the Russians or anybody else, as long as we are well in health.  Give my best respects to all my old friends, relations and acquaintances and believe me to remain your affectionate son.

George Turner [No.1 Company, 11th Battalion, Royal Artillery]

[Author’s note: The siege of Sevastopol lasted from October 1854 to September 1855]

Genealogical Table

Research by David Gevaux MA © 2024
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