HENRY KAUNTZE - a biography

provided by Harry Kauntze

Born in Dublin on the 9 of March 1808, the son of Pte. Edward Kauntze of the 11th Light Dragoons and his wife, Elizabeth. His full baptismal name was Henry Edward Kauntze.

His father, Edward, was born in Hanover, Germany, and had enlisted into the 11th Light Dragoons on the 25 of May 1802. The first muster shows him as a "Substitute for Yearman." (This was Private Thomas Yearman, who is shown on the same day as "Discharged, found another man". A total of five men, all with German-sounding names, enlisted into the regiment on the 25 or 26 of May 1802, and all were shown as "Substitutes" for men already serving in the 11th and who were all discharged for the same reason. There is no indication if any of these men had served in a military capacity before, although one had exchanged with a man already in post as a trumpeter.)

Edward Kauntze is later shown as a "Musician by trade." The Troop he joined (Captain Sleigh's) was then at Dunstable. On the 25 of December 1805, he deserted from Woodbridge, Kent, and would appear to have gone to Guernsey and married, as his eldest son, George Ernest, was born there in 1806. He "gave himself up" to the regiment on the 8 of March 1807. Promoted from Pte. to Cpl. in March of 1812 and to Sgt. in April of 1814. He did not serve in the Peninsula campaign, but he is shown as joining the regiment in France, from the Depot, on the 18 of November 1815. A daughter was born in France in 1816, and another at the Cape (this would have been when his wife was sailing to join him in India) in 1819. Elizabeth Kauntze (wife of Bandmaster Edward Kauntze) died at Meerut, India, on the 3 of March 1822, aged 41 and Edward Kauntze (Bandmaster of the 11th Dragoons) soon followed her, dying on the 5 of June 1822 at the age of 39 years and being buried on the following day. Both burials were in the Cantonment Cemetery in Meerut. No cause of death is shown, but some 200 of all ranks of the regiment had died from one disease or another during the previous two years. In his will he left the sum of lb.2/4/6d to his eldest son, George Ernest.

Henry Kauntze enlisted into the 11th Light Dragoons at Meerut, India, on the 14 of July 1822, at the age of 14 years and 3 months, his Regimental number being 359.
From Pte. to Cpl. 1 of October 1830.
Cpl. to Sgt. 3 of January 1835.
Appointed to Paymaster Sgt. 1 of November 1835.
Appointed to Troop Sgt. Major. 1 of March 1848.
Commissioned as Quartermaster in the 11th Hussars. 1 of April 1853.

Died (whilst still serving) at Fulford Barracks, York, on the 13 of October 1865, aged 57 years, having served 43 years in the Regiment. He had married Rebecca Stevens at Meerut, India, on the 25 of July 1832. (She is shown in the 1851 Census Returns for Pockthorpe Barracks at Norwich as being 31 years of age and being born in the East Indies.) The ceremony was conducted by the Reverend S.C. Proby and the witnesses were Hannah Trotter and his brother, George Ernest, who at that time was Band Sergeant of the 11th L.D. (This brother was also commissioned into the 3rd Light Dragoons in 1835, later serving in the 42nd Highlanders and finally as a Major in the 7th Dragoon Guards before retiring from the Army in 1868. He took part in the siege of Bhurtpore, and was also present in the Afghanistan, Sutlej and Punniar campaigns. (A child of this marriage, George, was buried in the Cantonment Cemetery at Meerut on the 4 of August 1836, aged 2 years. See below for further details)

Campaign Service:

Quartermaster Kauntze served with the regiment at the Siege and capture of Bhurtpore in 1826 (Medal and Clasp) and also the Eastern campaign of 1854 up to the 22 of August 1855, including the battles of the Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and the Siege of Sebastopol. (Medal and Clasps and the Turkish Medal.)

There is nothing recorded of when he left the Crimea for England but he must have returned to the Crimea as a Memorandum from the Horse Guards, dated the 16th January 1856, shows;
Quartermaster Kauntze, 7 Broomfield Place Grand Canal, Portobello, Dublin.
"Your passage to Scutari has been arranged at an early date, and you should accordingly be prepared to embark at the shortest notice."
A later memo stated, "Please be aboard the 'Cape of Good Hope', (steamer) from Deptford, 9th of February 1856, before noon".


Entitled to the Army of India Medal with the clasp for Bhurtpore, the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol and the Turkish Medal. He was also awarded the L.S.& G.C. medal on the 22 of February 1851, with a gratuity of lb.15.

Further information:

His known children were:
Harriet St. John. Born at Preston on the 15 of July 1840
Henry Trotter. Born at Fulford on the 29 of December 1842
William. Born at Coventry on the 27 of January 1847
Rebecca Charlotte. Born at Hounslow on the 7 of July 1849
Ernest Edwin Born at Nottingham on the 7 of February 1852
Thomas Alexander. Born at Newbridge on the 25 of June 1853
Eva Emily. Born at Hounslow on the 25 of September 1858

He died from "Jaundice and inflammation of the lungs" (5 days) and was buried in Grave No. 4987 in the Public Cemetery, York, on the 17 of October 1865. Mr. F.W. Hulme, of York, has provided the information (1984) that the cemetery is semi-abandoned and his grave area very overgrown with creepers, grass, blackberry tendrils and trees. A long search has failed to find any standing stone for him, many of those that remain being laid flat or broken. Mr. Hulme also provided a newspaper report of his funeral...
(Thanks to the further efforts of Mr. F.W. Hulme, of York, his stone has now been found...) The stone is not a very tall one and has partly sunk into the ground, where it is almost hidden by the bole and roots of a small sycamore tree. It was necessary to clear away part of this and remove earth before any inscription could be read. At the top of the stone it reads, "In memory of Quartermaster Henry Edward Kauntze, 11th Hussars, who died at York, October 13th 1865, aged 54." The lower inscription is only partly visible, and reads, ".... Rebecca, his wife..... 10 Shakespeare Street, Manchester, 28th December 1879, aged 59." (To remove any further parts of the tree would most probably damage the stone...)

Extract from the "Yorkshire Gazette" for the 21st of October 1865:
Military Funeral at York - On Tuesday morning last the body of Henry Kauntze, Quartermaster of the 11th Hussars, was interred at the York Cemetery with all the honours due to the position held by the deceased at the time of his death. The career of the deceased has been a very interesting and eventful one. He was born, cradled, and educated in the army, and at the age of fourteen years entered into the active duties of military life as a private. From this lowly position, by means of steady and soldier-like conduct, he passed through the various grades of promotion until he obtained his commission as Quartermaster in 1853. In 1826, when only 18 years of age, the deceased was present at the siege and capture of Bhurtpore, under the command of Lord Combermere, for which he received a medal and clasp. He was also present throughout the whole of the Crimean War and was present at the affair of Bulganak, the battle of the Alma and the march and taking of the baggage belonging to Prince Mentchikoff's staff at MacKenzie's farm. He was also present at the battle of Balaclava and Inkerman and on returning with the regiment from its head-quarters in the Crimea, landed at Portsmouth in July of 1856. He was attacked with illness at the York Barracks and died there on the morning of the 13th inst. at the age of fifty-seven, and after a period of honourable service to his country extending over forty-three years. To witness the imposing spectacle which is furnished by a military funeral, several hundreds of persons had collected in the neighbourhood of the barracks, and waited there in the midst of heavy showers the appearance of the mournful procession. This was made up in something like the following order: A firing party with arms reversed, consisting of an officer, a sergeant, a corporal and about forty privates. Then came the band, under the leadership of Mr. H., followed by the body, the coffin being covered with a black pall and borne by six soldiers, whilst the pall-bearers consisted of staff-officers of the regiment. The top of the coffin bore the sword and head-dress of the deceased. Following the body was the horse of the deceased, led by a couple of soldiers, each holding in his hand a wand bound with black and white ribbons, the trappings of the horse were similarly dressed, and the boots of the deceased were slung across the charger's saddle. The mourners, amongst whom were several sons of the deceased, followed in a mourning carriage, and the whole procession was brought up by the remainder of the regiment, who wearing their cloaks, marched in sombre files of twos. From the Barracks to the Cemetery that Band played the Dead March in "Saul". At the latter place the body was met by the Revd. H.V. Palmer (who, it may be added here, spent some hours with and spiritually consoled the deceased before and up to the time of his death) who went through the usual service in a most impressive manner. This also characterised his performance of the remainder of the funeral service at the grave-side, where he delivered the following brief and very special address for the occasion: "This, my brethren, is the place appointed for all living. Around us the high and mighty rest with the lowly and weak. The rich and poor mingle in the common earth. Here are the departed remains of the infant, whose pilgrimage lasted but a few days or hours - of youth, whose faculties and powers had just begun to develop - of man, in the prime of life, most usefully occupied in the affairs of the world - of the aged patriarch, whose years extended beyond the ordinary limits of life's brief span; but who must come at last to the same end appointed for all living. At such a season as this, when surrounded by the emblems of sorrow, and the memory of the departed is so fresh in our minds, we are more disposed, perhaps, to take a deep and serious consideration of our own passing days and of the certainty that the same mortality awaits us all. It is appointed unto all men once to die, and after death, the judgement. The character of the deceased can scarcely fail to be of interest to all who knew him. With lively sorrow we may trace in our own minds the lights and shades of that character, may dwell with calm feelings of pleasure on the virtues that adorned it, and pass with a tender hand over the weakness, imperfections and passions that are now hushed in repose. The career of our departed brother, for whom we have met to perform this last act that friendship and affection can suggest, is very remarkable. It does not frequently happen that one is born in a regiment, should spend his whole life with it, and pass away from mortality, surrounded, as it were, by the affairs of an active military duty. It is not for me, a stranger, to expiate upon that career. A man's life is best read and interpreted by itself. It is certain however, that he could not have attained to the responsible and important position that he held so long amongst you, without the exercise of so many good qualities. I am well informed, than in a situation which exposes a man to more than ordinary temptation, he has maintained untarnished and uncorrupted the confidence placed in him by the beloved Sovereign of our realm, and those officers under whose command he served. That is a far nobler and more praise-worthy result than to have amassed a magnificent fortune by any questionable means. If it be so, our friend and brother will live long in your recollection, which is far better than to be the subject of more imaginary virtues carved in cold marble. Let us not suppose for a moment that such conduct has not its true weight in heaven. You who now mourn over the loss of a husband or parent, put your trust in God. He has promised to be the stay of the widow and father to the fatherless. May the present bereavement be the means of loosening the ties of the world and lead you to your heart's affections more on the things of eternity. A few short years of active life and careful occupation will bring even the youngest one here to the same narrow confines of earth. Then if we happily sleep in Jesus, we shall wake with him in glory, where pain and sorrow shall have passed away for ever, and God himself will wipe away all tears..."
The sacredness at the graveside during the ceremony was protected from the crowds of people who were present, by the regiment, who formed a circle around it, and as the touching address fell upon the ears of the whole of the mourners, it was listened to with the profoundest attention and with that mournful respect which was due to one who had for so long been one of themselves.
Immediately after the usual ceremony, three volleys were fired over the grave, and then the mourners having taken a last view of the narrow tenement of their late comrade, the regiment reformed, and to a lively march which was played by the band, returned to barracks..."

Extract from the "Army and Navy Gazette" for the 7th of June 1873:
The "Delhi Gazette", in announcing the death of Major Kauntze (brother of the late Quartermaster Henry Kauntze of the 11th Hussars) says...
Another veteran has passed away from the world's stage. On April the 28th, Major George Edward Francis Kauntze died at Benares of cholera, at the age of 68
(The India Office records at the British Library confirm that he died of "Cholera", aged 67, and was buried on the 29th by the Revd, W. W. Nicholss, Chaplain.)
The deceased entered the Army on the lowest rung of the ladder, but was soon brought into notice by his steadiness and courage. He was present with the 11th Light Dragoons as Sergeant-Major (sic) at the siege and capture of Bhurtpore in 1825-26, for which he received a medal and clasp. He exchanged from the 11th to the 3rd Light Dragoons, with which regiment he served throughout the campaign of 1842 in Afghanistan. He returned with his regiment (the 3rd Dragoons) to England in 1853 and in 1855 he obtained a captaincy in the 55th Foot. On the breaking out of the Mutiny he embarked for India with the 7th Dragoon Guards, which regiment arrived at Kurachee on the 7 of January 1858, being stationed at Sealkote. After gaining his majority the deceased left the army by the sale of his commission, and taking up his residence at Benares. He was one of the keenest sportsmen of the age, and up to the time of his death used to go out for days at a time, shooting. From Muttra to Moradabad he has been heard to say he had paced every foot of the ground in search of deer and other game..."
He had married Mary Ann Crutchell at Cawnpore on the 13 of July 1830, when he was aged 24 and the Bandmaster of the 11th LD. Amongst a number of daughters born into the family was a son, Edward Henry Ernest, born on the 19 of December 1831 and baptised on the 16 of January 1832, became a Colonel in the Bengal Army and died at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, on the 16 of January, 1916, his wife, Lousa Ann. dying at Rusthall, Kent, on the 2 of January 1904. There are M.I.'s to both in Rustall Church, Kent.

source: Harry Kauntze and "The EJ Boys Archive" at http://www.chargeofthelightbrigade.com
Back to: Kauntz-Online

last update 2008.04.11