RICHARD LAWRENCE STURTIVANT
One of eleven children of Richard Lawrence and Hannah
Sturtivant, he was the second son to receive his father's name, it being
probable that his older sibling died young. The Richard Lawrence first names
have continued in the family down to the present day.
This Richard Lawrence was born in the East End of London on 25
March 1825. He first marred Mary Ann Sadler at Greenwich on 16 January 1844, and
the following year he joined the Army. His wife died childless in April 1852.
Eight months later he was remarried remarried at Worcester to Elizabeth Buncle.
He spent some years in the Army, serving in the Crimea and then Ireland. He had
four children by his second wife, who died in Edinburgh in June 1867, and these
included twins of whom one, John Buncle, founded the present Scottish line, some
of whom are now living in southern England. After leaving the Army, he became
Master of Bethnal Green Workhouse, and James King, his youngest son by
Elizabeth, succeeded him in this post. He is reputed to have had about three
illegitimate children before remarrying in 1882 to Elizabeth Sherman Arnold,
though there is no evidence that any of these were registered in the Sturtevant
A newspaper cutting dated 3rd November 1900, found some time
ago in an old soldier's trunk reads:
"Death & Funeral of Sergt-Major Sturtevant, late Master of
Waterloo Road Workhouse, an old Crimean veteran.
On the 25th of October were laid to rest in the quiet of God's
Acre, St.Mary's Churchyard, Buxted, Sussex, the mortal remains of one of
England's old veteran soldiers, in the person of Sergt-Major Richard Lawrence
Sturtevant, at the age of 75 years. Deceased served through the Crimean war,
being present and taking part in the battles of the Alma, Balaclava and
Inkerman, for which he received the medals and clasp. He also took part in that
famous Charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava, he being a sergeant in the
Scots' Greys, the famous 'Second to None' cavalry regiment, and he again took
part in routing the Russian army. It was when the battle of the Alma was nearly
ended, and a lucky shot stopped a Russian convoy, that young Sergeant Sturtevant
showed great pluck, determination, and presence of mind under very trying and
difficult circumstances, for he rushed forward and raided the private carriage
of the Russian Prince Menchikoff, seizing the official letters and documents,
which, on being handed to Lord Raglan, disclosed the fact that they contained
the particulars of the entire disposition of the Russian troops, and were
therefore of the utmost value in directing subsequent activities. For this act
he was promoted to Sergeant-Major.
For the long term of 21 years Sergeant Major Sturtevant was
Master of the Waterloo Road Workhouse, Bethnal Green, where he gained the
respect of all who came in contact with him, and he retired from that position
on a pension. He was a member of the Burdett-Coutts Lodge of Freemasons,
No.1278, and only recently had been created an hon. member."
His discharge papers, now held in the Public Record Office at
Kew, Surrey, show that he joined the Army on 25th August 1845, and was a Troop
Sergeant Major in the 2nd Dragoons when he was discharged on 7th February 1867.
By that time he had five good conduct badges, the Crimean and Turkish medals and
a medal for Long Service and Good Conduct.