Not much is known about my Great Grandfather Charles' childhood. Locating information about his parents and siblings has been difficult, if not impossible.
Although his birth date is known (September 2), the year is in dispute (1852 - 1855).
One thing is well known, he joined the Royal Army on 25 Mar 1871.
According to his Chelsea Army Records, he was 19 when he joined. But was he really?
According to his birth record, he was born in 1855. That would make him only 16 in 1871.
Maybe that explains why he is listed as being 5' 6 1/2" when he joined and 5' 11" when he retired.
Charles was stationed "At Home" from 27 March 1871 to 5 Aug 1878.
During this time, he was living in Dover, Kent, UK. It was here that he met Christina Elizabeth Nicholls. They were married in St Paul's Catholic Church on 19 Apr 1877.
It was also in Dover that Nellie Elizabeth, their first child was born.
On 6 August 1878 the 2nd Battalion, 10th (North Lincoln) Regiment arrived on the RMS Assistance in Malta.
There were 29 Officers, 8 Staff Sargents, 34 Sargents, 16 Drummers, 663 Men, 5 Officers Wives, 10 Officers Children, 47 Women and 80 Children.
Charles, a Color Sargent, accompanyed by his wife Christina and infant daughter Nellie were part of this group.
While on Malta, Charles' daughters Frances Mary and Florence were born.
The 10th Regiment was on Malta until 21 Mar 1881 when they were transferred to Gilbralter, to prepare for being sent to India.
On 3 Jan 1882, the 2nd Battalion, 10th Regiment boarded the HMS Crocodile for the voyage to India.
During the voyage to India the unthinkable happened.
On 22 Jan 1882 Frances, the 1 1/2 year old daughter of Charles and Christina died of Bronchitis. She was buried in the Mediterranean Sea and her death reported when the ship arrived.
Charles and his family was in India from 3 Jan 1882 until 24 May 1884.
Although they suffered the sadness of losing their daughter Florence, there were happy moments as well.
While stationed in India, sons Percy John (1882) and Herbert Henry (1883) were born.
The 2nd Battalion 10th Regiment returned "Home" to Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK on 25 May 1884.
In Lincoln, Charles celebrated the birth of 4 children:
James Collins (1886), Francis George (1888), Ivy Agnes (1891 and Charles (1892).
He suffered the loss of his son Percy John as well
On 31 Oct 1892, Charles retired from the Royal Army. He had served for 21 years and 219 days.
It is said that the reason for his retirement was due to ill health. His army records show that he was hospitalized on a number of occasions while stationed in Malta, Gilbralter and India.
He was hospitalized while on board the HMS Crocodile at the same time his young daughter was.
After retirement, the family settled in Hartley Wintney, Southampton. Here the unthinkable happened again.
On 17 Dec 1893 the 15 month old son and namesake died of Bronchitis, just like his older sister.
And just like that time, 3 months after baby Charles' death, daughter Kathleen Josephine was born.
Retirement from the Army did not stop the Vincent family from travelling.
In 1895 the family moved to St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands. Christina's father was born on the island and after retiring from the British Coast Guard had returned to the island to live.
Christine and her family moved near her father, as did her brothers and sister and their families.
On Guernsey, the last 3 children of Charles and Christina were born: Dorothy (1896), Mary (1898) and Margaret (1901).
Unfortunately, there was one more heartbreak when Mary Magdaliene died at the age of 8 months from Convulsions.
The family was to travel one last time.
Starting with their eldest son Herbert and his family and ending with their daughter Ivy and her family, Charles, Christina and 7 of their 8 surviving children emigrated to the United States.
They settled in Lansing, Michigan. But that's another story...