Haynes, Henry Benjamin

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Twice Tried for Murder

My association with Henry Benjamin Haynes began with a query from WAGS* Member, Bev Russell in early 2014. She had been undertaking research for descendants of Haynes in Western Australia and needed confirmation that he had served with the 9th Regiment in the Crimean War; to that point the reference had occurred only in newspaper accounts in Perth, WA, some 30 years after that war. Haynes was not on my list of soldiers sent to WA as convicts as a result of general courts martial, but it transpired he had been given a life sentence of penal servitude for murder. Unfortunately, I was not able to categorically confirm his service in the Crimea because he was missing from the relevant medal rolls.

Attack on the Redan

The 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment was in Malta at the outbreak of the Russian War when it left for Turkey and the Crimea. The regiment (20 officers, 544 men) landed at Balaclava on 27th November 1854. It was marched at once to the Lines before Sevastopol and placed on duty in the trenches. The weather was wet, cold and tempestuous. Cholera made its appearance on 29th November. In the course of that and the following day, 13 cases occurred of which six proved fatal; 81 fell ill in December out of a strength of 544 men. Those able, engaged in the action at Sevastopol until the end of the Siege. This incurred 96 casualties, about half at the first attack on the Redan and half in the Sevastopol bombardments; seven were killed in action. The regiment then served in Canada and in November 1857 returned home. A second Battalion was formed in that year.

Inquest on the body of Mary McGowan

On 8th March 1859, 16 months after returning from Canada to England with the regiment, an inquest by Deputy Coroner Samuel Chandler was held in Aldershot. Henry Benjamin Haynes, a soldier of the 9th Regiment was sent to trial at the Winchester Assizes for the murder of eighteen year old Mary McGowan. The story, mostly under the headline ‘Dreadful Murder at Aldershott’, was reported in at least fifty British newspapers and even made it into the antipodean press in an article in the Sydney newspaper Empire on 19th September 1859.

It is worth noting that a comrade and witness at the inquest, Robert Kalender [sic] was recorded on the medal roll as Robert Callender, Private #3043. Kalender/Callender indicated at the inquest “Haynes worked in the tailor’s shop with me.” The same newspaper report implied Haynes’ mental health problems had started during his time in ‘America’ – Army service in Canada, perhaps.

Extract from London Times, Thursday, 10 Mar 1859

Haynes had arrived in Fremantle on Palmerston and from there, research was a relatively smooth journey working backwards to discover this man’s records in various prisons following his trial for murder on 14th July 1859. The records also led me to his ‘pedigree’. Henry Haynes’ visitor in Millbank and Pentonville prisons had been a Robert Haynes of 1 Holly Street, South Dalston, London. Assuming this to be his father, I checked Robert Haynes and his family through the census records from 1841 to 1861. I discovered Henry Haynes had been born in Chard, Somerset in 1838, son of Robert (grocer and baker) and Mary Ann Haines/Haynes. Interestingly, Henry did not bear the second name ‘Benjamin’ on any census and had siblings named Charlotte, Mary Ann, Matilda, George and Walter.

The census revealed that Henry Haynes was residing with his family at 46 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London in 1851. He is recorded as a 12-year old, occupation ‘printer’. This begs the questions (a) when did he train to qualify as a tailor and (b) when did he join the Army and at what age? Certainly he would have been under the age of 18 when he was in the Crimea.

1859 Mar 6 Murder of Mary McGown in Aldershot.
1859 Mar 8 Inquest – sent to Trial in Winchester.
1859 Jul 14 Tried at Winchester Assizes – guilty, sentenced to death penalty.
1859 Jul 30 Stay of Execution by the Secretary of State.
1859 Mar 6 Winchester Prison, for 6 months 20 days.
1959 Sep 26 Millbank Prison #9467, for 24 days.
1959 Oct 20 Pentonville Prison #8907, for 61 days.
Physical description: Height: 5 ft. 4.1/2 ins. Complexion: fresh. Eyes: hazel. Hair: light brown. Stature: slender. Visage: oval.
Scars: over left eye and on right groin.
1859 Dec 20 Portsmouth Prison #6263 (on medical grounds), for 10 months, 10 days.
1860 Nov 10 Convict Ship Palmerston, for 93 voyage days.
1861 Feb 11 Fremantle Prison #5679.
1864 Aug 4 Ticket of Leave.
1864 Dec 24 First employed as a Tailor on piece work in Perth.
1865 Mar 9 First employed on his own account in Perth.
1871 Aug 16 Conditional Pardon.

Additional information about Henry Benjamin Haynes can be found in  Sad Story Told by Bev Russell. Thank you Bev for allowing me to publish your work on Haynes and his daughter Mary Ann.
* Western Australian Genealogical Society, known as Family History WA.

Census of England & Wales HO107-949-1 (1841), HO197-1517 (1851), RG9-161 (1861), National Archives, Kew.
Crimea War Medal Roll WO100-26-325, The National Archives, Kew.
The Record and Badges of the British Army, Chichester and Burges-Short, 1900.
British Army Medical Services and the Malta Garrison 1799 – 1979 website.
Medals of the Regiments, North East Medals website.
An Inquisition in the Parish of Aldershot, Southampton, 1859.
London Times, Thursday, 10 Mar 1859, page. 7, Issue 23250.
Hampshire Telegraph, 6 Aug 1859.
Empire (Sydney, NSW), 19 Sep 1859, page 8.
Millbank Prison Register PCom2-42-9467, National Archives, Kew(courtesy Bevan Carter).
Pentonville Prison Register PCom2-68-8907, National Archives, Kew (courtesy Bevan Carter).
Portsmouth Prison Register HO8-146, National Archives, Kew.
Fremantle Prison Database website.
Convict Registers Acc. 1156, Reel 4, WA State Records Office, Perth.


© Diane Oldman 2018