The Story of Senior Sergeant Charles Dalton

 

Below is a studio photograph of Senior Sergeant Charles Dalton, wearing the "full dress" uniform of the New South Wales Police Governor's Escort (Orderlies); a "carte de viste" by Freeman & Co, circa 1880. (An even earlier studio photograph of Dalton in uniform, also taken by Freeman in 1876, appears on the N.S.W. Police Force page).

 

 

Dalton was born in St. Lukes, London, England in 1832 and served with the 8th King's Royal "Irish" Hussars during the Crimea War; including the Charge of the Light Brigade and the Indian Mutiny. The uniform he is wearing in this photo, looks similar to that of a Senior Sergeant in the King's 8th, however, the white, British style, "foreign service" helmet next to him, interestingly bears the first N.S.W. Police helmet plate; as illustrated above. It is this author's opinion, that Dalton may have fashioned his N.S.W. Police uniform on that of his old military unit. Commissioned Officer's in the N.S.W. Police Force and other Police Forces in Australia, soon began to wear and would continue wear subdued, "hussar" style, undress jackets, from the 1880's up until the 1940's.

Dalton had a very interesting life. After service in India, it seems Dalton may have officially travelled to Australia on board the P&O mail steamer, S.S. "Northam", as "escort" to the newly appointed NSW Administrator and soon to be, Governor in Chief of Australia, Lord John Young and his wife, Lady Adelaide (Annabelle Tuite-Dalton) Young. They arrived in Sydney in 1861 and Dalton, it was reported, fell in love with Australia.

In 1862, and most likely pursuant to new Police Regulation Act of 1862, Dalton was officially discharged from H.R.H military forces, after 12 years and 70 days service, with the "Good Conduct badge"; possibly whilst still on active service at the Governor's pleasure. He and his elite, mounted troopers (known as "the Governor's Escort" ) were to become one of the last of the disparate " law enforcement" bodies in N.S.W, to be officially amalgamated into the newly formed: New South Wales Police Force. He became officer No. 1342 and was then transferred to the Western District; stationed in Goulburn. In 1864, seemingly under the advice or at least with the approval of Governor Young, his duties were transferred back to Sydney, to the old "Police Depot" and specifically to the "Governor's Escort / Orderlies". The old "Police Depot" is where Police troopers for the "Governor's Escort" (Governor's Orderlies), "Gold Escort", the "Mint" and the "South East District" were then stationed or accounted for; and where, interestingly, Sydney Central Rail Station, in George Street, now stands.

After the attempted assassination of the visiting *Prince Alfred, whilst he was attending a picnic at Clontarf on the 12th March, 1868, Dalton was ordered to full-time, duty at Government House, as guard to the "Royal Personage". He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on the 1st July, 1868 and on the 6th March, 1869, was assigned the title of "Officer In Charge" of the N.S.W. Police "Governor's Escort". He was officially promoted to "Senior Sergeant" on the 1st June, 1878; although it is believed he was "acting" in that rank from, at least, circa 1876.

 

*Alfred Ernest Albert, Duke of Edinburgh (1844-1900), was born on 6 August 1844 at Windsor, England, second son of Queen Victoria. He entered the navy in August 1858 and travelled widely as a midshipman in the frigate Euryalus. In the winter of 1862-63 he was elected King of Greece but politics dictated his withdrawal and he was given instead right of succession to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was promoted lieutenant in 1863 and in 1866 became both a naval captain and Duke of Edinburgh. He commissioned his first command, H.M.S. Galatea, in January 1867, left for the Mediterranean in February and sailed for South America on 12 June for a state visit to the emperor of Brazil. Then after two months at the Cape, the Galatea reached Adelaide on 31 October 1867 to commence the first royal tour of Australia.

 

After three uneventful weeks in South Australia, the duke moved on to Melbourne where a shooting incident between Orange and Catholic factions and a riot due to inept handling of a free public banquet marred the generally enthusiastic atmosphere. He then visited Tasmania and arrived in Sydney on 21 January 1868. After a month of festivities he spent a week in Brisbane and returned to Sydney. Despite rumours of sectarian strife, he attended a picnic at Clontarf on 12 March where an Irishman, Henry James O'Farrell, succeeded in wounding him seriously. In a frenzy of outraged patriotism the New South Wales government sought unsuccessfully to uncover a conspiracy and, overruling the duke's eminently sensible proposal to refer the sentence on O'Farrell to the Queen, refused to recommend clemency. O'Farrell was hanged on 21 April and the duke who had recovered completely by 26 March left for England on 26 June.

Dalton and his family (and four other N.S.W. Police "Mounted Troopers") moved into and occupied the "Government House Household Cavalry" building and stables ( now known as the "Conservatorium of Music") from where, over the next 20 years, he commanded this elite troop that would go on to protect the next seven (7) official Governor's and their families. During those next 20 years, the "upper rooms" of the building, were used by the Dalton's as their family home and it was from there where most of his ten children, from his marriage to wife Jessie, were born and raised. Of note: Mrs. Jessie Dalton (nee: Fitz-Simmons), had been employed on the Governor's staff since at least 1861; and was most likely "Lady In Waiting" to at least Lady Young. Apparently, she first met Charles Dalton onboard the S.S. "Northam", during her voyage to Australia, from Great Britain; whilst both part of the entourage of the future Governor and his wife.

The "Government House Household Cavalry Barracks" building is located in Macquarie Street, Sydney; a beautiful, ornate building specifically designed to house "His Excellency" the Governor's Escort, et al, by the talented "gentleman convict" architect: Francis Greenway. This building was originally, fully situated inside "Government House" grounds, but the large ornate entrance gates and small guard house, originally situated across the top of Hunter Street, were unfortunately moved back in c1960, to accommodate the ramp to the "Cahill Expressway".

This historic, building is currently being used by Sydney's "Conservatorium of Music".

In 1872, the Dalton's had another daughter, who was named, Antoinette Mary Dalton; my Grandmother was born at Government House, Sydney, as were six of her other brothers and sisters. (see below)

Dalton was also one of only twelve possible survivors of the "Charge of the Light Brigade" to settle in Australia and was made a member of the Balaclava Commemoration Society (exclusive to those who actually rode in "The Charge"), in 1879.

 

Dalton became instrumental in the founding of Australia's first official independent Military Force, the "Sydney Light Horse", because of his access to the then Governor, Lord Loftus.

Inspector John Bevin, of the New Zealand Police Force (another 8th Hussar who "came through" Balaclava; see the "Charger list" (as named above), whilst stationed in Dunedin, had written a letter of introduction to Charles Dalton, for a Mr. Robert Roland Thompson, who was a former Sergeant of the 4th Dragoon Guards. It was Dalton's access to then Governor, Lord Loftus, that led to the formation of the first (Volunteer) Australian (Sydney) Light Horse; and to R.R Thompson becoming it's first adjutant in 1887. Apparently, the articles for the formation of Australia's first, official Light Horse troop, were written in the Dalton's dining room, at the now "Conservatorium of Music".

During the excavations for the underground additions for the Conservatorium of Music site in 2000 (or more appropriately, the Governor's Household Cavalry Barracks site), many family household and personal items that probably belonged to the Dalton family and issued and marked Queen Victoria "crowned" items from the N.S.W. Police, (including badges and buttons) were excavated from this site, and are still there now, on display.

 

By all reports, Dalton was also an accomplished horse rider and shot and in his early days, had accompanied Captain Zouch, a fellow N.S.W. Police officer, on his excursions to hunt down bushrangers on the Goulburn plains.

On the 31st October 1889, after more than 25 years with the Governor's escort and the N.S.W. Police Force, Senior Sergeant Charles Dalton, retired and moved with his family to their new home in Balgowlah.

 

 

More about Senior Sergeant Charles Dalton:

In 1867 New South Wales had passed a Volunteer Force Regulation Act and volunteering was encouraged by grants of land after five years' continuous service. In 1878 some of the volunteers were reorganized on a "partially paid" basis, and in 1886 volunteers in receipt of payment were re-named "Militia".

No doubt military affairs were under discussion in 1884 when there arrived in Sydney from New Zealand one Robert Roland Thompson, one-time sergeant of the 4th Dragoon Guards, who had promoted the formation of the Dunedin Hussars in New Zealand. He was later, in 1897, to become the first adjutant of the 1st (Volunteer) Australian Horse, and later still to be prominent in forming the King's Colonials. He brought a letter of introduction to Senior Sergeant Charles Dalton of the New South Wales Police from Inspector Bevan in Dunedin, Dalton and Bevan being old comrades with long service in the 8th Hussars - in fact, both were survivors of the famous charge of the light Cavalry Brigade at Balaclava in 1854.

Thompson, it is considered, is the person whose initiative led to the formation of a cavalry troop in Sydney at that time. He apparently confided in Dalton, whose role in the police was officer-in-charge of the Governor's mounted escort, for which reason he, with his family, was quartered at the Government House stables which later became the Conservatorium of Music. Dalton brought Thompson under vice-regal notice and, although it is not thought that the then Governor, Lord Loftus, played a prominent part in this cavalry movement, he was destined to be the first to receive the honour of a cavalry escort.

The appointment of Mr. William Scott, M.R.C.V.S., as veterinary surgeon to the Sydney Lancers in October 1887 is noted, this appointment lasting until 1889. Another interesting appointment in 1887 was that of Charles Albin Dalton, son of Senior Sergeant Dalton of the police, already mentioned. C. A. Dalton was born at the Government House stables and his soldiering commenced at the age of 14 when he joined the artillery as a trumpeter; when he was 16 he transferred to the newly formed Sydney Light Horse and rode in the escort on March 3 1885.

 

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The first Australian military troop, the Sydney Light Horse, made its first "official" public appearance on the March 3 1885; as honorary escort to Governor Lord Loftus, to farewell the troops to " the Soudan" (Sudan).

They used "fishing poles" for lancers. Swords and bridles were supplied courtesy of the NSW POLICE via S/SGT. Dalton; seen riding on the flank next to the Governor's carriage.

seen riding on the flank next to the Governor's carriage. 

The Manly Daily, 7th September 1965

 

“Senior Sergeant Charles Dalton, who married Jessie Fitzsimons at Christ Church St Laurence, Sydney, was a survivor of that “Gallant Six Hundred” at the Battle of Balaclava, of whom Tennyson wrote in his famous poem.

 

Charles and Jessie had nine children, all of whom were born at Government House, Sydney, with the exception of Ernestina, who was christened at Goulburn. They were: James Burrows, Ernestina, Charles Albin, Jessie Maria, Antoinette Mary, George Conrade, Adelaide, Roberta Alexandra and Emily Emma Sarah.

 

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The Dalton family c 1888.

 

Charles Dalton, who died in 1891, and whose head-stone is well preserved at Manly, was the Senior Sergeant in charge of the Governor’s Escort, and belonged to the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars. He served in the Crimea and Turkey, at Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol; and in India at the siege of Kotah, recapture of Chundaree, Kotah Ki Seari, capture of Gwalior, Powrie, Sindwah and Koonayr.

 

Dalton was reputed to be the finest shot and horseman of his day, and helped on more than one occasion to try to capture some bush-rangers on the Goulburn plains.

 

He had come out from England with Lord and Lady Young, and remained in charge of the Governor’s escort, successively for 25 years, until he died. His widow, Jessie, and the children then went to live at their cottage called Gwalior, after one of the old battles in India. The cottage was situated at the corner of Condamine Street and Sydney Road, This valuable corner property was sold in 1919 by the family after Jessie Dalton followed her husband to the burial place reserved for her, beside him, at Manly, and where Emily Emma Sarah is now ‘at rest’ (Manly Cemetery Plot B129, Charles Dalton, buried 1891, son of Sarah; plot B128, his wife Jessie Dalton, buried 17 December 1919; plot B130, their daughter Emily Emma Sarah Jordan, buried 1 September 1965.)

 

Proof is available of other properties owned by the family at Manly until after WWI, as well as the Lots 1 to 5 on the Condamine Street-Sydney Road corner already mentioned. They were Lots 6, 7, 8, 9 at West and New Streets, Balgowlah; also Lot 4, situated at the corner of Redan and Almora Streets, Mosman.

 

At one time this old soldier owned the whole of Cremorne Point, besides Centennial Park, which he later presented to his friend Sir Henry Parkes, who in turn gave this park in perpetuity to the people. Dalton wanted to have a drive built right around the foreshores of Sydney harbour in those early days, but three or four families with waterfront properties exerted their influence to stop it. After the attempted shooting of the *1st Duke of Edinburgh at Clontarf by a Sinn Feiner, Charles Dalton slept in the same room as the two Princes who were then visiting Government House, Sydney, to guard them from harm. The second Dalton child was baptized Ernestina by permission of the Duke of Edinburgh in January 1868, who stood as the godfather.”

 

After three uneventful weeks in South Australia, the duke moved on to Melbourne where a shooting incident between Orange and Catholic factions and a riot due to inept handling of a free public banquet marred the generally enthusiastic atmosphere. He then visited Tasmania and arrived in Sydney on 21 January 1868. After a month of festivities he spent a week in Brisbane and returned to Sydney. Despite rumours of sectarian strife, he attended a picnic at Clontarf on 12 March where an Irishman, Henry James O'Farrell, succeeded in wounding him seriously. In a frenzy of outraged patriotism the New South Wales government sought unsuccessfully to uncover a conspiracy and, overruling the duke's eminently sensible proposal to refer the sentence on O'Farrell to the Queen, refused to recommend clemency. O'Farrell was hanged on 21 April and the duke who had recovered completely by 26 March left for England on 26 June.

 

 

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842-1954) Friday 6 February 1891

 

DALTON.—February 5, at his residence, Gwalior, Balgowlah, near Manly, Charles Dalton, late Senior Sergeant Governor's Escort, and of the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars. Served in the Crimea and Turkey, at Alma, Balaclava, Inkermann, and Sebastopol, and in India at the Siege of Kotah, Recapture of Chundaree, Kotah Ki Seari, Capture of Gwalier, Powrie, Sindwah, and Koonoyr ; leaving a wife and nine children to mourn their loss.